A new study linking social media with depression is a Rorschach test. From the Independent of London, which generally reports news without fear or favor:

“Of the 19- to 32-year-olds who took part in the research, those who checked social media most frequently throughout the week were 2.7 times more likely to develop depression than those who checked least often. The 1,787 U.S. participants used social media for an average of 61 minutes every day, visiting accounts 30 times per week. Of them a quarter were found to have high indicators of depression.”

How could this be? Perhaps interactions on Facebook or Twitter over an extended period reveal how dumb your “friends” or “those you follow” really are. Maybe you are introduced to news stories the mainstream media like to ignore. Is it depressing to find your political views, formed at Butthurt U., are not shared by the majority of the country?

Even the director of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine’s Center for Research on Media, Technology and Tech, which conducted the survey, wants to disavow the findings: “One strong possibility is that people who are already having depressive symptoms start to use social media more, perhaps because they do not feel the energy or drive to engage in as many direct social relationships.”

He went on to recommend more study: “Future students should examine whether there may be different risks for depression depending on whether the social media interactions people tend to be more active vs. passive or whether they tend to be confrontational vs. supportive. This would help us develop more fine-grained recommendations around social media use.”

Translation: Sorry about this; please send more grant money.

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