Is social media a mental health disease vector?

It made me wonder if we’re in the same boat as the neolithic cities, only for what you might call viruses of the mind: Toxic ideas that spread like wildfire.


Likewise, in recent years we’ve gone from an era when ideas spread comparatively slowly, to one in which social media in particular allow them to spread like wildfire. Sometimes that’s good, when they’re good ideas. But most ideas are probably bad; certainly 90% of ideas aren’t in the top 10%. Maybe we don’t know the mental disease vectors that we’re inadvertently unleashing.

Source: Social media threat: People learned to survive disease, we can handle Twitter

Sharing negative thoughts on Facebook makes you less likable


…what Wood and Forest discovered was that sharing negative thoughts or feelings apparently made users less likable …


“If you’re talking to somebody in person and you say something, you might get some indication that they don’t like it, that they’re sick of hearing your negativity,” Forest said. “On Facebook, you don’t see most of the reactions.” However, those with high self-esteem get more responses for negative updates than those with low self-esteem, the study found.

Source: Your Negative Status Updates Rub People the Wrong Way, Apparently |

That last sentence is interesting and is not explained. Why would a person with high self esteem get more responses for negative updates than a person with low self esteem?

Perhaps we can influence the culture of negativity that pervades Facebook by following some simple rules:

a. Never comment on a post that is filled with negativity

b. Never share a post that is filled with negativity

c. Hide, Unfollow or Unfriend those who are constantly posting negativity on Facebook

In other words, chop off the negative commentary at the source. Do not support it, do not share it, do not encourage it. Leave “the trolls” alone and ignore them. Perhaps they will see that their online negativity is not producing what ever outcome they think they are striving for.

Why is Facebook so negative

Interesting summary –

  • people vent,
  • people post negative stuff,
  • strong views tempt us to respond which degenerates into negativity,
  • comparisons to others having fun,
  • combination of mixed messages between positive and negative in our news feed creates confusion,
  • people subjected to so much negativity become negative themselves

and more in Why is Facebook so negative – Speeli Summary

Negativity on social media is harmful

According to science, you need 3 positive thoughts or experiences to make up for 1 negative one. This is called “negative bias.” Facebook and other social media sites are often one of the biggest contributors to your negativity bias. It’s a fact.

According to one neuroscientist, these sites can wreck your attention span, mess up your identity, and leave you with the inability to empathise.

Source: Facebook and Social Media Fuel Negativity – Your Positivity Coach

Researchers analyzing social media comments to evaluate your mental and physical health

It turns out, the comments we make online reveal a lot about us. Researchers are now analyzing online comments for a wide array of predictive patterns and signals, using Internet discussions and social media as sources of constant, easy-to-access information about what’s going on in people’s lives.


Their efforts may eventually allow health professionals to monitor patients’ well-being based on their Twitter streams and Facebook entries. Controversially, employers or insurance companies could one day screen job applicants and potential clients based on their social media status updates.

Source: What online comments can reveal about the person behind the keyboard – The Globe and Mail

Researchers say they can predict “personality traits, or their levels of narcissism, Machiavellianism and psychopathy, based on their Twitter histories”.

They say they can now predict the heart-disease mortality rates of an entire community based on the Twitter posts of people living in that community – and this is more accurate that evaluating “smoking rates, the obesity rates, the demographics, the income, the education”.