Emotional Contagion

This morning as I lay in bed, scrolling through social media (bad habit), I was confronted by a really distressing image. As it soaked into my cereal brain I quickly clicked the post away but the damage was done. Breakfast sat heavily in my stomach as I tried my best to make the imprint fade. But it’s still with me, even now. It’s not that I want to live in a bubble – I’m also a realist but when it’s in my control, I hope to make it a kinder place, especially on social media which is the ultimate mix of personalities and agendas. Sometimes the badness sneaks in before I realize I’ve seen it, a horror show that I didn’t sign up for…but really did. I’m sure you’ve heard about the “emotional contagion” experiment that Zuckerberg et al performed on Facebook where one group was given negative news in their feed & the other uplifting stories with completely unsurprising results? What we read on social media affects us & the person whose post disturbed me this morning is a kind fellow who I believe had good intentions but his way of dealing with pain is incompatible with mine. Online we can try to curate our own space. I’ve learned to only click on links posted by people whose values I trust and try to limit myself to interacting with people who i like.
I hope that my feed is counted as one of the safe places – I’ll write stories & post videos of animals & if you’re feeling like things are a bit much then come here & you can read about something that happened on the train on the way to work or about old ladies dressed as fairies or people that I meet in the elevator…just the good things. But better still, leave Zuckerberg out of it & meet a friend face to face:) I read this morning that Facebook is working on ‘mind reading technology’ to eliminate the pesky ‘talking’ & ‘typing’ 🙄
I wonder if Mark can see what I’m thinking about that idea right now?

Original story, written by Victoria Mason
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