Keep Your Friends Close and Your Enemies Closer, But not on Social Media


Social media can be a double-edge knife when it comes to our health. This was revealed by findings listed in more than one recent researcher focusing on the topic. While in some cases, it was discovered that social networks can have a positive effect on a person’s wellbeing, it was found that in others it can be almost deadly.

A study published in the Healthy Psychology journal by scientists from the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences, says that in some cases social media can be quite unhealthy. According to Sheldon Cohen, one of the people behind the report, when social interactions on the web are unpleasant or negative, they can expose people to a hypertension risk. This condition is known as one of the main causes for cardiovascular diseases that, on the other hand, is among the top causes for death today in some parts of the world.

According to the researchers, people who are 50 or older are more exposed to this threat. Also, women were said to be more affected by negative social network interactions. Researchers suggest that this may be due to the fact that women tend to put more emphasis on their relationships with others.

But what is classified as a negative social interaction. Scientists who conducted the study explain that those include disappointment, excessive demands, criticism and others. Users were most affected when the negativity came from their closes relatives and friends. The report concludes that individuals who regularly experience negativity on social media websites are nearly 40% more likely than their counterparts to develop hypertension over the next four years.

Despite that, social media can also be surprisingly good for our health. Another study by scientists from the Purdue University, published in the same journal, has discovered that social media’s power to keep our friends and family closer can help people feel and be healthier, and even promote happiness. That is because when we are able to frequently interact with our nearest and dearest, we improve our daily mood. That has an impressively good effect on our general and long-term wellbeing. Of course, in order that to happen, the social interaction need to be predominantly positive.

Therefore, the popular saying “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer” may not be such a good idea on social media websites. Instead, it should be read as “Keep only your positive interaction close, and the negative – at a distance.”


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