Social Media Checks & Balances: Tweet Like You Eat

Let’s be real… too much of a good thing is not a good thing. But just because a good thing can become a bad thing, doesn’t mean it’s not good. If you’re like me, sometimes you’d rather just not know exactly how something is affecting you. …The thing about social media, though, is that psychologists are finding it has just as many positive effects as it does negative effects. …The rest is up to us.

I’m learning that social media is kind’ve like food. Excessive eating is never going to be healthy, but eating the right things at the right time and occasionally splurging is not only healthy, but enjoyable in the long run!

Take heart, social media in moderation will benefit us more than it will hurt us.

Nonetheless, here are some of the psychological effects [good, bad, + ugly] of social media according to a study published on Psychology Today.


  • IQs are rising, according to the Education Testing Service. Much of the increase is due to advances in media assisted learning and interactive game playing.
  • Girls are advancing in the field of science. Some studies attribute this to increased numbers of females engaging in interactive game play.
  • The nexus between media and learning is increasingly popular and we are learning more about learning.
  • Communication is increasing across cultures.
  • Media has helped foster public understanding of many crucial issues.


  • Attention spans are decreasing because of exposure to excessively stimulating and fast-paced media. A direct link between exposure to media stimulation and ADD has surfaced from research.
  • Violence in media causes desensitization to violence. It may facilitate violent acts. Violence may be contagious by observational learning and social agreement.
  • Media-assisted crimes like identity theft and child pornography are taking new forms.
  • Average number of sleep hours per night decreases in inverse proportion to the average number of hours per day of Internet use.
  • Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD) is increasingly diagnosed by professionals.

Social Media Checks & Balances: The “Dark Side” of New Media

First Amendment Challenges Posed by New Media
[wisdom from an 85-year-old] 

A crowd gathered at Belmont University’s Massey Performing Arts Center Tues. evening to hear an award-winning journalist discuss new media technology and the challenges it poses to the First Amendment.


85-year-old John Seigenthaler, First Amendment advocate and founder of the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University, was invited as a guest speaker on Oct. 30 to kick off Belmont’s College of Law Speaker Series.


“We were warned that the future was going to be online,” Seigenthaler told the audience as he reflected on the changes that have taken place in journalism over the decades.


Seigenthaler, who was part of the team that launched USA Today 30 years ago, witnessed the shift from print to new media in journalism.


Today, new media has not only changed the medium by which news is reported, but also who reports the news.


“People discovered, ‘I can be my own journalist,’” Seigenthaler said, referring to the effects of the internet.


And with that, the door for both credible, quality content and uncontrolled, inaccurate content swung wide open.


“While new media technology offers a promise, it also has a dark side,” explained Seigenthaler as he began to address the controversy that has arisen concerning the extent to which freedom of speech should be protected in new media.


Seigenthaler first discovered the “dark side” of new media years ago after he was notified that not only did he have a profile on Wikipedia, unbeknownst to him, but also that his profile contained inaccurate information.


The piece, uploaded anonymously, stated that John Seigenthaler had been a suspect in the assassinations of U.S. President John F. Kennedy and Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. While Seigenthaler was a close friend of President Kennedy, the information posted was false.


Seigenthaler contacted the head of Wikipedia to have the information removed and, after his request was denied, publicly condemned the company in a USA Today article.


While false statements on his profile were eventually removed, Seigenthaler went on to discover the heart of the challenge posed by new media: outrageous statements are protected.


Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act states that information service providers such as Wikipedia, Google, etc. are not liable for content produced on their sites.


Because of this, not only was the false information posted about him protected, but so was the anonymous writer who posted it.


The answer to this problem? According to Seigenthaler, the answer to the problem at hand lies not within the law, but within individuals.


He encouraged the audience to exercise restraint and hold themselves accountable for credible information rather than fighting to impose restrictions on online content.


“Regulation just goes too far,” he argued.


Seigenthaler concluded his talk by stating that online newspapers are culture’s hope for restored credibility.


“If newspapers will make online content as attractive as bloggers, people will visit,” he told the crowd.


After answering a few questions posed by individuals in the crowd, Seigenthaler ended the night by encouraging the audience to “not take their civil liberties for granted.”

  • Should regulation be imposed on new media content?
  • Freedom at the cost of truth or regulation at the cost of freedom?
  • Is there a way to meet in the middle? 

Social Media Checks & Balances: The Great Temptation

One of the great temptations of social media is to view it as a chance to create or recreate your ideal self. We have the ability to project any one characteristic on our followers and friends. Generally speaking, you can “be” inspiring, bold, friendly, loving, encouraging, wise, intelligent… a professional, a preacher, an expert. …This, I think we can all agree on, can become a problem.

I don’t believe it’s an epidemic in our society (yet), just a trap that’s easy to fall into in the midst of great ambition and aspiration.

So, today I want to employ Check & Balance #2, which I believe is a truth that will ensure healthy social media engagement:

Social Media should not be employed to recreate or define our identity. 

It should affirm and express who we already are. 

So, I want to pose a few questions that could help in forming a healthy view of our “online identity”:

  • If someone you have a relationship with checked your Twitter or Facebook, would they be shocked by your content?
  • If social media crashed, what part(s)/how much of your identity would be lost with it?
  • Have you ever known someone or noticed yourself falling into this trap?

Hopefully these questions are, at minimum, thought provoking. I think this check & balance will lead us [myself included] into or ensure that we are living authentic on and offline.

As always, thoughts, questions, and concerns are welcomed!


The world is full of space

And I wonder what we’ll fill it with

The world is full of space

… So what makes our words count?

Here goes the truth:

Any one can [open their mouth].

Today, social media has made it possible for the multitudes to have a voice. No longer is the art of crafting and publishing thoughts for the few and the proud. It’s for everyone, [*generally speaking].

Words can build people

tell stories

shape days

create moments

inspire ———-They can

steal joy

rob tomorrow of its promise

plant seeds of bitterness and

reap a harvest of

…not life.

I’m not a master of words, but one thing I do know about them is that they are, in fact, powerful.

Whether or not you need pages or lines or a box or a picture to say what you want to say, it ultimately comes down to what’s inside of what’s expressed. Our words have the potential to make something [someone] come alive… And they also have the power to gently [perhaps] lead something [someone] to death.

And so we write with this in mind.

…Here begins the adventure of word-crafting and relationship-building.  


Social Media & Public Relations 

The world is full of space

And I wonder what we’ll fill it with