Share via Email Illustration by Thomas Pullin I used to think social media was essentially a force for good, whether it was to initiate the Arab spring ofor simply as a useful tool for bringing together like-minded people to share videos of ninja cats.
Combined with the desire to validate your existence through the online currency of 'likes ' and positive feedback, these two factors can cause envy and lead to depression. It might also be compensation for a lack of that stimulation to the brain. It is closer to the tobacco or fast-food industries, where vested interests deny the existence of blatant problems that were not there before.
People use emoticons but they can convey an alternative, almost sinister meaning if the recipient reads it that way. But there is passing on important news and telling anecdotes that will interest people, and then there is detailing every single aspect of your life, no matter how dull or uninteresting it may be.
Location can be an obstacle to participating in traditional support groups that require physical attendance. In fact, if you delve just a little into how they have changed the world you find there are some potentially negative impacts social networking sites are having on society as a whole and each of us as individuals.
Have fun, stay safe, and be mindful of what information you put out there. However, as BBC Future will explore this month in our LikeMinded season, scientists are also looking at how social media can be used to diagnose depression, which could help people receive treatment earlier.