The Psychology of Social Networking

Social networking is defined as “an online platform that people use to build connections with other people who share interests, activities, backgrounds…” and more.

Simply put, social networking is a link through which people can be part of a community that can support and encourage them in their commonalities.

Social networking

Benefits

A time ago, people could only connect with others when they were a part of a certain crowd, “social clubs”, or knew someone in common. Now, however, social networking defies borders, political and economic barriers, geography, and other circumstances that would have otherwise hindered us from meeting like-minded people. It bridges gaps on societies that would separate us and, instead, brings us together in many different ways that can be either beneficial or non-beneficial.

Types

There are many different types of social networks, all geared towards making communities in different ways. Facebook and Twitter, for example, are social networks that allow you to share your life with friends that you had already met in person or make new friends that share a common interest with you. These sites achieve their goals by making your life more accessible to others through posts on your personal profile; thus, supposedly making it easier for people who have the same ideas or do the same things to find you and befriend you.

Although sites made purely for connecting one person’s life to another make finding and making friends a lot easier, there are a lot of concerns that come with the freedom they offer.

Controversies

Privacy debates have not stopped since the advent of these social media websites, as it is extremely easy for others to gather your personal information or keep track of your whereabouts through the things you post on your profile. Cyber-bullying has also become a concern on these websites, as some settings allow anyone in the world to message you or comment on your content. Bullies have been known to send threatening or derogatory messages through social media websites and, as these messages are considered private and are not filtered, victims of bullies find it difficult to come forward to expose things that have negative effects on their self-esteem, sense of security, and overall quality of life.

Other variants

Besides social networks that focus on personal relationships, there are other popular websites that allow you to connect with people on a professional level. LinkedIn, for example, is a popular website in which you input data such as your resume, skills, and show your work interests so that potential employers, employees, and even investors can contact you and conduct business with you.

Sites like these minimize personal touches to your profile and focus almost entirely on subjects connected with your work interests.

There are other types of social networks available, but only the two mentioned above have gained global traction on a significant level.

 

Time will tell if improvements or changes will continue to make social networking a growing necessity in people’s lives.

Early Life Depression

Perhaps for many of us, the most memorable stage in our life is during our childhood. Childhood life normally is full of energy, enthusiasm,  and endearment in every way. However, sad to say, there are kids who actually suffer from depression as early as when they are three years old.

Depressed Child

How would we know that a child is having a depression?

Well just like the depressed adults, their child counterparts usually have symptoms of being irritable and moody. Sleeping turns out to be difficult and the ability to focus on something becomes an evident challenge. An unexplainable change in his or her grades and a series of questionable behaviors can be observed in a depressed child. The tendency to isolate oneself because of a feeling of unworthiness is also another sign. The child will tend to withdraw from the rest of his or her peers, having low self-esteem and no interest to play. At worst, kids will have had suicidal thoughts.

However, while kids are often energetic, they can find themselves “feeling blue” under normal circumstances, posing the same symptoms as depression for a short period of time. But if the symptoms last for at least two weeks, whilst showing notable impact in their activities and his or her relationship with family and friends, the symptoms can now be classified as a depression.

Reasons

Sad events such as losing someone whom the child dearly loves is traumatic even for adults. This is one of the causes of major depression for kids. A child may experience major depression more than once throughout his or her formative years though – and for many different reasons.

A less severe but chronic depression may also be experienced by a child which will last for at least two years. This form of depression is called Dysthymia.

Parents who are suffering from depression place the child at high risk of having depression as well. Compared to other known illness, depression is not selective to its victim. It affects all ages, young and old, rich and poor. However, during adolescence period, the girls will more likely develop depression than the boys.

Research on Depression

In the United States alone, research shows that depression becomes a risk factor for suicide to individuals as early as 6 to 12 years old when they are not getting treatment at all. So it’s good to intervene at the onset of such condition when possible.

Conclusion

In summary, depression and anxiety disorders are inevitable in life. However, one must learn to discern when it becomes serious especially for a child. It is then very important to have a healthy family relationship. Apart from this, depression can be treated the same way with anxiety. This is through cognitive-behavioral therapy and antidepressants.

But apart from all these remedies, having a healthy and loving environment is still the best way to avoid or treat depression. A child surrounded by hopeful, supportive and loving people will help a child stay positive in life in spite of the different circumstances he or she may be in.

Fearing Love or Loving Your Fears?

Love is a built-in feature in our life where the rest of our emotions fall: joy, anger, desperation, guilt, fear and so on. One will never know what these emotions are all about if we do not have love. A person who doesn’t know how to love is somehow having an emotional anomaly, some individuals would say.

Fearful lady

Indeed, love is a many splendid thing. But to some, falling in love becomes a kind of anxiety, a kind of fear or phobia that needs attention. Just like the rest of the known fears like snakes, spiders, closed room, crowded spaces etc., the fear of falling in love or being in an intimate relationship to another person is called Philophobia. Perhaps some may say that such condition is ridiculous and absurd. Silly as it may seem, but its existence is real. It is a condition that needs treatment.

Symptoms

Now that this problem is made known, it is important to know more about it. The few things we can attempt to know about philophobia are its symptoms.

A person suffering from this kind of phobia develops an uncontrollable irrational extreme fear to being emotionally attached to another individual. Just the thought or imminence of it can lead to symptoms like nausea, function and breathing difficulty, excessive sweating, avoidance, rapid heartbeat and feeling of extreme fear to the point of panic. These symptoms vary depending on the severity of the person’s condition.

It is important to keep in mind that sometimes a person with philophobia may have social anxiety disorders as well. It does complicate the condition. However, Philophobia in itself is not a social anxiety disorder. It has similarities to disinhibited social engagement disorder (DSED) common to children under 18 years old. This condition keeps a person from forming an intimate relationship with others which could be a result of childhood trauma or abandonment.

Attachment disorders
attachment disorder chart

The fear is related to the inability to gamble being abandoned again and experience the same pain that they had before when they did get close or became intimate with someone. This fear then makes a person react in an avoidance kind of manner.

Although specific phobias are greatly affected by genetics and environment, some cases of having specific phobias are because of the brain functioning changes.

Interestingly enough, this phobia is not included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association, a doctor will not provide this kind of diagnosis to patients. However, if the symptoms occur in an overwhelming behavior, one should seek psychological help. Suicide, isolation, abuse of drugs and alcohol and depression and anxiety disorders are common worse-case scenarios of untreated phobias.

Treatment

Treatment, however, depends on the severity of the condition of the patient and includes therapy, change of lifestyle, medication or a combination of these.  The need to examine the source of fear will allow the patient to check the source of such condition. Sometimes, scenarios can also be a helpful tool to identify possible patients such as asking the questions “Am I still in my mind? What will happen after?”. Setting up some goals that the patient should overcome such as responding to a simple hello will definitely start to ease the fears.

Medication

Like the rest of the phobias, anti-depressants are prescribed if a person has a diagnosis of mental disorder, a combination of medications and therapy is usually used.

Lifestyle Changes

A healthy lifestyle such as having regular exercise, attentiveness strategies and relaxation techniques are common recommendations from medical practitioners.

Do you know someone you think have developed such symptoms?

If so,  it is important for us to recognize that it’s a serious condition that needs to be understood no matter how ridiculous it may seem. Learn more about the phobias and understand it.  Do not put an hourglass in their head to do something they are not prepared to do so. Allow them to learn how and when to seek help if its right and go an extra mile in the way you care for them. Lastly, ask how you can you help them and do help.

We all have our own strength and weaknesses after all. Let us remember that no matter how absurd a person’s weakness is, the struggle of mankind is more or less the same. The humility to recognize the condition in oneself or in another is the key to overcoming such fear.

Love mountain

It Runs in the Blood

I could say that growing up in a small and peaceful village like Belle of Beauty and the Beast is what some people want to be. Looking back through the years of living in the village, I am convinced that such enchanted place does exist and the characters seem to fit naturally to each person I bump into. I am not talking about the real story but the setting.  As a whole, it truly does reflect the nature of living in a village – – wherein your life is usually an open book.

Alcoholics

I grew up in a small village where everybody knows each milestone of my family’s life. This was starting from my great grandparents up to my nieces and nephews … and even beyond to the new generations now. I came from a lineage of alcoholics and as far as I could remember, there was never a single day in my childhood life when I could say that my world is drunk-free. Well, my uncles and cousins are fun to be with all the time if that’s any consolation.

But why? Because the moment I wake up in the morning, they were already drunk and until I go to bed, they were still in some state of hallucination talking insensibly. I even came to thinking if time will come when I will be able to see their real selves which I haven’t — ever since I learned to walk and talk!

Time passed by and soon enough, one by one, their body gave up and went to eternal rest. But not before enduring ulcer and liver malfunction. I then learned to accept my fateful origin. Because of our family’s reputation, it greatly affected my personality and I struggled over low self-esteem and shame during my adolescence period. The bondage is still evident in my cousins’ persistent habitual drinking despite the terrible demise of our relative.  Now, it made me wonder why such simple cause-and-effect relationship is so hard to comprehend. They just shrug their shoulders and say “it runs in the blood” and so I thought that right there, I got the answer to my question.

I still remember that day when I won the price as the fastest beer drinker, people clapped their hands and said, “wow, it runs in your blood!” When my cousins were turned down in their marriage proposals, they said, “sorry, it runs in our blood.”  For so long, this reason pacifies my disappointments but not until one day, I decided to turn the table.

Standup

For the very first time in our generation, I made a stand that alcoholism is not a genetic characteristic handed over by our ancestors and something that we can merely excuse ourselves from by saying that it runs in your blood. Alcoholism is a form of addiction which is admittedly, a complex condition.  It is a brain disease that needs to be cured, like heart illness and cancer which is almost impossible to do alone. And thus, it requires lots of moral support from surrounding people. It may be a burden to us having alcoholics around but we need to show empathy and help them ultimately make the stand like I – and then my other relatives soon thereafter – thankfully did.

Professor Wins Nobel Prize for Studies on the Psychology of Business

Just recently, an American professor from the Unversity of Chicago whose research integrates psychology and economics won the Nobel Prize in Economics.  This is a pioneering set of studies in his field and has made a mark in both fields of psychology and business. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (RSAS) has granted Prof. Richard Thaler £845,000 or about US$1.11 Million for the said achievement.  This academic also best known for his 2008 best-selling book,
“Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth and Happiness”.

Nudge Book on Behavioral Economics
Nudge (2008): Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness

After the academy’s generous announcement of his win, Prof Thaler was quoted as saying that his biggest contribution to the field was the “recognition that economic agents are human and that economic models have to incorporate that.” For one, he said that the field of behavioral economics can assist in explaining why people chose to leave the EU, popularly known as the Brexit.

So what is this study all about?

Technically, this field is called behavioral economics. Roughly, Wikipedia generally describes it as the study of the effects of psychological, emotional, social and cognitive factors on the business decisions of entities and the resulting market prices, resource allocation and returns.

Prof Thaler created the theory that people making choices such as the Brexit were influenced by gut choices instead of purely rational thinking.  Given this theory, marketers and organizations that are seeking to increase their reach and their revenues can definitely profit from this study. The same holds true for those in public governance, especially in making fiscal and monetary policies.

But Thaler’s study is not limited to macroeconomic decisions. He has also conducted studies on people saving so little for retirement, eating patterns of US individuals, NFL teams making poor choices of new players and even e-cigarettes and bathroom cleaners, among others.

On drivers of passenger cars…

He is also known for making a paper on the wrong habits of taxi cab drivers – making it easier to simply rent a limousine, if we may add – wherein they adopt a target income strategy and call it a day once they reach it. He says drivers, especially inexperienced ones, unknowingly make the mistake of working less on good days and more on bad days with the above strategy. This also results to fewer taxi cabs on peak days and hours and more during the non-peak times. The academic used both log sheets from taxi operators and those from the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commissioner. Finally, he proposed that drivers look at their earnings from a monthly rather than daily perspective to somehow correct the phenomenon.

This win is expected to encourage people all over the world to not just subscribe to the study but create studies themselves that will have an impact on the population at large.