Twitter is the news app for the millennials, don’t you think? I mean the news breaks out on Twitter even before it airs at TV stations most of the time.
P: Just the other day, I was listening to a podcast by Yale Professor, Laurie Santos on the Happiness Lab about ‘Emotion Contagion’. It basically talks about how emotions are contagious. We are after all social creatures, we mimic the people closest to us, and their emotions are well, contagious.
Think of it like this, you walk into a room, and it has a tense vibe, you’ll also get tense. The same goes, if the vibe is relaxed, you’ll be relaxed as well. Now I know you might be thinking, “Payal, where are you headed with this?”
I’m getting you warmed up to the point!😉
Emotions are contagious even when we are on social media apps. We tend to think of our online and offline presence as two separate entities. But really, once we are off our phones, our emotions don’t just switch off.
Back in May last year, I watched a video on the death of George Floyd. I was so anxious and angry with the American Policing system, I balled my eyes out sitting in India. I cried for a black man who died an unjust death in Minnesota, America. That’s for you is the power of social media.
Take a look at what I found out about the American policing system.
N: I have got to be honest. This is one app I have never had on my phone. But here I am, still going to talk about it, its benefits and well its banes. From what I know, Twitter isn’t very different from the other apps in the addiction quotient. You still will spend a lot of time in the app once you open it, scrolling from one tweet to that other, retweeting something, or simply stalking everyone from Donald Trump to Bear Grylls.
P: Listening to that podcast made me realise we are a generation born into the privileged of fast-paced information which could be both a pro and a con. It really depends on us at the end of the day.
N: Is what they have to say really so important? How have we let an app restrict the number of words you can say to change the world? One tweet can get retweeted a million times and that is now the news.
P: That’s really ‘word for thought’. Sorry for my corny jokes. Anyone with a certain amount of followers that spread messages and it retweeted indeed becomes the news because of the high-speed internet. This actually led to ordinary people taking Twitter by storm ultimately creating what we now know as ‘Citizen journalism.’ These ordinary people play an active role in keeping our democracy alive. They posted pictures of pothole roads which got retweeted, leading to the municipal corporation to actually fixing the roads. in India. This happens well NEVER.
Just like Margaret Mead an American cultural anthropologist that spoke about almost all societal issues back in the 1960s ( women’s rights, nuclear proliferation, race relations, environmental pollution, and world hunger) said
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world, indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.
N: I was watching a series called Lupin on Netflix and there they show a literal nobody tweet something about a famous man and how that very tweet got retweeted and made it to mainstream TV news as well. Does that mean we are all-powerful with this app in our hands? We can make or break people?
N: Is it our way to fame? Our way to bring down famous people? What is Twitter? Or is this app simply for entertainment? For you to read quick witty lines, educational facts, celebrity statements and spend a few minutes or hours on the phone scrolling links, videos from all across the world?
P: As you can see Neha and I had lots of questions as mentioned above. “What is Twitter? Does it really have an impact on our Digital well being?” In our quest to find answers, we decided to create a ‘Digital Well Being Series’.
Back in college, when I remember scrolling through Twitter and came across a video by ‘Save The Children’, titled ‘ Most shocking second day’, of course, I gave in to the clickbait and watched it.
The video is following a day in the life of a young girl in a war-torn country. It starts with her celebrating her birthday, going to the park, attending school, studying at home, and suddenly there’s bad news emanating from the radio, the Tv is on longer at night, the general situation gets tense at home, you can see it’s affecting the child, after some weeks a bomb blast occurs, you have the camera following the little girl across parks to get into the bunker, by the end of the video you have her celebrating her birthday in a hospital looking absolutely sapped. I literally was happy, sad, cried, shocked, by the end of the video.
I watched this 4 years ago. And what I watched on Twitter still has an impact on me. Back to the point, the underlying theme of the digital well-being series is to empower you and assist YOU with information that could help you make more informed decisions.
So, whats our conclusion?!
P: I’m sure you might be sick of me saying the same old thing, “follow people that make you feel positive emotions’ ‘. *Shrugs shoulders* to you I say, “old is gold”. Times are rough, I’ll give us that. Let’s not put up our white flags just yet. We really do have ways to minimise the toxicity we are exposed to online and find a healthy balance.
If your news intake is bothering you. I’m glad you noticed that. I follow the Optimistic Citizen here, it’s India’s first positive newspaper. It covers topics from sustainability, Education, Social work, Entrepreneurship.
You can read the acts of kindness people are doing in covid, and feel happy. Being happy drives you into action and actually makes you do things and help, and we all know helping others makes us happy.
Don’t let your social media feed bog you down, take the reins into your own hands and take charge of your own life.