Is Everything That is Good Bad for You?

There have been articles in all the major papers around the traps over the past 24 hours, like this one from the Courier Mail.  It seem some boffin has published a paper in the Institute of Biology journal stating that social media like Facebook and Twitter are terribly dangerous for us all, and that as a result, we’re going to get cancer from it.

There was another one doing the traps a couple of days ago how a glass of red wine each day gives you a 160% higher chance of getting oral cancer.  What?

What is it with boffins who love to come out of the woodwork and do a “study” on anything that we enjoy (red wine, chocolate, sex, social media, having a snooze on a Sunday arvo) and then claim it’s all terribly bad for us and we’re going to get CANCER.  You have to capitalise it you know, cos it’s all very serious and if you don’t stop doing what you are doing right now, you’re going to get CANCER.
Stop it.  Seriously, whatever it is you’re doing RIGHT THIS INSTANT, stop it right now.  Or you’ll get cancer.
Now I’m getting silly aren’t I?  But I’m just a bit over there being a huge kerfuffle in the “regular” media over what’s going to give you cancer just because some boffin says so.  The thing about the red wine giving you oral cancer?  I know someone who died at 26 of oral cancer who had never had an alcoholic drink, a cigarette, sex or been on a social media site.  She was just a lovely young woman who lived a very strict Christian life.  How do you like them apples, boffins?
Won’t somebody please think of the children!!!!
Back to the social media thing, boffin Dr Sigman claims that sites like Facebook are keeping us all at home sitting in the dark talking to each other on our computers, and that’s bad.
Now I don’t know about you, but since I started getting into social media, my “real life” social life has EXPLODED.  I barely have a week where I’m not running around like a crazy woman trying to get to all of the social events, meet ups and gigs I’ve got planned.  And where have I planned these?  Facebook… Twitter… 
Here’s an example.  One Sunday morning, I was slothing about in bed.  I rolled over, picked up my mobile phone off my bedside table and sent a tweet to Twitter via text message.  That tweet was “I feel like brunch.  Toast is boring.”
Half an hour later, my mobile phone rang.  “Hi,” said a friend “I saw your tweet so I thought I could pick you up and we can go out for brunch.  I’m bored too.”  So off we went that morning to a rather lovely brunch and lots of chat and laughs together.
And that’s only one example.  I could tell  you many, many more, from big organised events like Twestival, parties and dinners and such with friends, to one on one catch ups.  Tonight I am going to a party organised almost exclusively on Facebook.  Monday I’m having lunch with a friend, we organised it on Facebook.  Tuesday night I have a dinner I’m attending that I heard about on Twitter, and taking a fellow tweeting friend with me.  And that’s just over the next four days, it goes on.
When are the boffins going to get that social media is not about social misfits sitting at home in a room lit only by their monitor, tapping away at one another.  They need to understand that social media is a tool that everyday people use to connect with each other.  And contrary to popular belief, it’s not just the young that are doing it.  It’s been awhile since I’ve been a youth.  My friends that use social media range from youths to those who are old enough to be my parent.
And I have made new friends through social media websites.  Whether it be catching up with a like minded Twitter buddy for a coffee, attending a local group meet up, or conversing with someone on Facebook from San Francisco that I intend to catch up with  next time I take a trip over to the US, social media continually brings new social contacts into my life.
One of the things I’m thinking is that we all need to let go of the idea that there is a virtual life and a real life, and that they’re two separate entities.  All of it is my real life, the same as talking to someone on the telephone is part of my real life.  Social media are tools for communication.  And people are using them to conduct their lives.  Not to hide behind so that they don’t have to live, but to enable them to live more fully.
Here’s a little food for thought for you:
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February 21, 2009. boffins, cancer, Facebook, red wine, social life, social media, Twitter.

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