The Best Social Media May Be None

With the mass exodus from Twitter, many people are looking for new social media platforms. While new platforms will certainly emerge to serve the market, there is little questioning of the overall value of social media.

Social media has benefits and costs. Overall, the research is unclear on whether it enhances well-being or not. There is no guarantee that any new platforms will be better (healthier) than the existing ones.

The prime beneficiaries of social media appear to be the owners, not the users. A handful of people have made unprecedented wealth from a questionable business service.

Excessive social media use is correlated to numerous problems, especially in adolescents. It may be years before all the effects are sorted out. In the meantime, the best type of social media may be none at all.

In Silicon Valley We Trust?

The market for information is currently broken. A handful of people in San Francisco determine whether millions of people view certain content or not.

One alternative to this is to use IndieWeb principles. The main idea is to post at your own site (like I’m doing here), and then broadcast out to other services if you wish.

This way you own and control your content instead of corporations.

Screen Time Limits

Screen time has exploded during COVID-19. Children are moving less and staring at screens more (for both school and leisure). From this study, here is data on Chinese adolescents:

Simply put, most children are not getting sufficient physical activity every day.

Limiting screen time leads to increased physical activity.

Screen time limits can improve overall health for both children and adults.

Breath

Healthy breathing is in short supply, according to author James Nestor. His new book, “Breath“, chronicles how societal forces have led to crowded teeth and mouth-breathing.

Modern children often grow up on soft, processed foods that need little chewing. With the resulting smaller mouths, nasal breathing and crowded teeth follow.

There is hope, however. Chewing (or orthodonic devices that simulate chewing) can widen the mouth for both children and adults. And even lifelong patterns of mouth breathing can be switched to healthy nasal breathing with some work.

Vitamin D & COVID-19

What if a cheap supplement could help protect you from COVID-19? Vitamin D may very well improve outcomes associated with COVID-19.

There have been a number of studies showing a link between Vitamin D and COVID-19. For example, this study shows how low Vitamin D levels are associated with increased COVID-19 hospitalization and mortality.

In terms of cause-and-effect, this study showed positive results from Vitamin D supplementation. This study showed no effect. Other, larger randomized studies are underway.

Unfortunately, some government bodies are taking a wait-and-see approach, citing there is “insufficient evidence” for Vitamin D supplementation at the present time.

Why, in the midst of a pandemic, would anyone want to wait for that evidence given that Vitamin D is an extremely safe supplement? There is a high potential upside with virtually no risk.

This idea was recently summarized by a group of researchers:

“There seems nothing to lose and potentially much to gain by recommending vitamin D supplementation for all, e.g. at 800–1000 IU/day, making it clear that this is to help ensure immune health and not solely for bone and muscle health.”

Personally, I take 4,000 IU of Vitamin D per day (this brand). More information about Vitamin D is available here.