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Twitter May Cause Harm to Emotional Development Due to Information Overload

Is Twitter Impeding Our Ability to Stop and Smell the Roses?

How do you feel when Twittering? Do you feel elated as a rush of pure joy surges through your body? OK, I won't continue down that path, but I am interested in finding out how Twitter really makes you feel.

I just read an article on CNN that describes how scientists are learning that Twitter is having detrimental effects on the mind, since a constant stream of byte sized updates (known as tweets in our world), are too quick for the brain to fully absorb. They claim that this lack of "proper processing" could actually harm a child's emotional development as well as desensitize our sense of morality and compassion towards others. Researcher Mary Helen Immordino-Yang said this about the issue:

"If things are happening too fast, you may not ever fully experience emotions about other people's psychological states and that would have implications for your morality."

Sometimes sites like Facebook and Twitter leave me with a sense of guilt (for not updating/checking them enough) and a feeling of being overwhelmed (since there's so much to catch up on and I can't devote enough of my time to certain people). What are your thoughts?


Join The Conversation
TidalWave TidalWave 8 years
what the heck? rapid-fire commercials and fast-editing has been around forever. i can hardly ever process movie trailers. don't understand why twitter is getting the fall here and not blogs and rss readers and the sugar sites that get updated a bunch of times during the day. i would say it's our society in general. everything is fast. we can't even grieve slowly; drugs are handed out like candy so we move move move
care0531 care0531 8 years
I have Twitter but I only use it to follow celebrites etc. I use Facebook more for communicating with my friends. I follow Ryan Seacrest, Perez Hilton, Ellen DeGeneres new moon movie updates etc. I still have a hard time following it but its neat to see the different posts and comments from time to time.
SB-Marilyn SB-Marilyn 8 years
I think like anything you do in excess it can be damaging. I use tweetlater to do a daily digest email of tweets with keywords like apple, mac, iphone, applecare. Then if people are having issues I try and help them over twitter. I'm a tech and I know so much, it's my way of giving back ;-) It's not really work related since I'm doing it for free but it fulfills my love of solving problems. @MacfusionGirl if anyone is interested... or needs anything.
T-S T-S 8 years
Emmaline, my credit union has a twitter, and the person who does it is so responsive!
Emmaline7 Emmaline7 8 years
I completely agree with TrueSong & tiabia's views & comments. Very well spoken! While I use Facebook to keep in touch with personal friends, most of the people I am following on Twitter are not people I know. I have found Twitter be an amazing way to find content that is relevant to my interests. It is also inspiring to see people share ideas & watch companies (i.e. Zappos) interface directly with their consumers. It's definitely whatever you want to make of it & is structured so you can partake (or not) as much as you want.
devils devils 8 years
I just try to have fun with my Twitter... i try to not post anything to serious or whatever. Sometimes I get a bit overwhelmed with catching up on tweets but not normally. Twitter isn't my #1 priority in life, I'm not that attached to it....where I think some people get WAY too serious about it.
syako syako 8 years
I'm always a little leery of something that gets popular so fast. Me too, hence the aversion.
T-S T-S 8 years
Yeah, which I think is another part of why some are resistant. I'm always a little leery of something that gets popular so fast. But from what I understand they haven't hit on a good model to monetize yet. (Unlike Sugar which has definitely been learning which posts generate comments, page views, and consequential ad revenue.)
syako syako 8 years
On a side note, too bad twitter isn't publicly traded, who could have guessed it's massive success in recent months?
T-S T-S 8 years
Yes, definitely.
Karelynn Karelynn 8 years
I like social networking, but I'm not very active on any website I'm a member of. I'm on this one to pass the time on my days off work, and I have an account on several websites -- Myspace, Facebook, & Twitter, as mentioned, but I check them once every week or two. I don't feel the pressure to keep up with people, and if I want to speak with my real friends, I call them. I do pay for my cell phone service for a reason.. the online stuff is just for fun.
syako syako 8 years
Well all things on the Internets are "look at me" in a sense.
T-S T-S 8 years
Oh, gotcha. I don't watch shows like that. There is definitely a tendency to interact more with people you know in real life on facebook. I think my twitter feed is roughly half people I know, a quarter people who I added because they know someone I know, and the rest celebrity feeds (John Dickerson, Peter Sagal). I don't think you at all avoid the "LOOKATME" mentality here. It's very much, "Look at my house!" "Look at my shoes!" "Listen to my opinion!" So I guess I'm just confused about why someone would be such a fan of one and such a critic of the other.
syako syako 8 years
He uses that word like it's going out of style. :P
syako syako 8 years
Oh and to add to haus's assessment, I think she means (and this is how I feel too) that Facebook and MySpace seem to be used to meet up with old classmates, friends, family, etc. It seems very personal, in that you don't "friend" someone unless you actually know them in real life. Whereas sites like Sugar, you're forced (well not forced ) to meet people you would otherwise never have come in contact with and get to know them.
T-S T-S 8 years
I think the O'Reilly joke went over my head...
syako syako 8 years
I enjoy the pith. As does O'Reilly. :D
T-S T-S 8 years
I also like twitter because it forces brevity. I could have probably complained for two or three paragraphs about how much I loathe self-checkout, but yesterday I just tweeted, "Safeway lady just tried to strong arm me into self-checkout. Maybe instead of trying to herd me to the devil's register, open another line?" I enjoy the pith.
tiabia tiabia 8 years
Well I think there's a bit of a difference in that this is a networking community, the point of which is to get to know others To piggyback on TrueSong (again), that is also the point of MySpace, Facebook, Twitter and any other social networking site. Many times it's more than just mundane things like "I'm at work" and more like "How about before you make generalizations about something, you actually try it then make a judgment. Trial before judging,shocking thought!" PS: that last quotation was exactly 140 characters :p
T-S T-S 8 years
>I guess Im biased cuz I hate all social networking. I'm confused because you're currently using a social networking site...
T-S T-S 8 years
My main point is that twitter is just a platform. You determine how asinine your content is. And that's that.
hausfrau hausfrau 8 years
I guess Im biased cuz I hate all social networking. I don't mind it here because I've met new people and I try to keep me-centric posts to a minimum. But I don't like the LOOK AT ME LOOK AT ME LOOK AT ME! stuff. I think we'd all be better off without Twitter, Facebook, and Myspace.
syako syako 8 years
So if I, or anyone, says they don't like one platform, but like another, then they're hypocritical? Or am I just reading too much into some of these comments? I just don't like Twitter. That's it. Maybe I would like it if I signed up and played along, but to be honest, Sugar takes up enough of my time that I would probably be the worst-employee-in-the-world. :P
T-S T-S 8 years
Twitter, like every single other blogging/social networking platform, is what you make of it. Some people will post about pooping, some will post pictures of their outfits. Some people will only interact with people they know, some will meet new people on it. (Though haus, I think you might have misread. Most people don't post stuff like "Eating breakfast." "Brushing my teeth." "Taking a whiz.")
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