Will it work for me, too?

This study has made the headlines over the past week or so — apparently teens benefit from blogging about their feelings of anxiety and depression. In a randomized controlled trial, those teens with some level of social anxiety who were asked to blog about their feelings were more likely to demonstrate improved mood.

So far, 2012 has not been so kind to me. I have lost my dog (to bone cancer) and partner (to a mutual decision to let go). I find I am able to reach out to friends, but wonder if the sadness becomes too much, if writing will help an adult too? There are studies that substantiate the benefits of journaling — but only if the emotional expression is coupled with cognitive processing. While the blogging study did not consist of a cognitive component, it may be that reader comments supplied that piece, or a reasonable substitute. In the New York Times article referenced above, it was stated that commenters were very supportive and sometimes offered solutions or encouragement.

I hope my own journey forward can benefit from such interaction.

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Making the Move

Hello WordPress! I have migrated my blog to this venue due to technical difficulties with my old host. I want to polish myself up and make me look all purdy before I really launch back into my editorials. Heck, I may even change my focus somewhat!

I really want to keep writing and contributing to thoughtful dialogue as to how technology — mostly the internet — has impacted relationships. Given my background, I usually focus on teens and sexuality, but I think there is a lot more to be considered. I also have come up with some instances where I want to process some personal things as well, so readers be warned! This blog may take an interesting turn.

Or not. I may continue on my merry research-y way. Who knows what 2012 will bring! I hope you stay tuned to find out.

The TRULY Wordwide Web: My dilemma

First of all, thanks for your patience concerning my absence. I have flooded with grant-writing, but the overall good news is that I have had many successes. I hope to resume some semblance of regularity in posting soon.

Meanwhile, I have noticed that many comments have been posted on my blog entries as of late. They are not in English, so I honestly have no idea what they say. Using Google’s translating option, I tried to figure out their meanings — with little success. Of course, these posts are about sex; after all, this is what this blog is about! But my question always was: were these posts genuine, or created by a SPAM bot and filled with invitations to view adult-related material? There were times when I thought the former, but ultimately I decided they were more the latter. As a result, I have deleted most of these posts.

I bring this up, because it really posed an ethical dilemma for me. Do I assume the worst or hope for the best? Did I censor the disingenuous to create a safe environment for honest visitors, or by deleting expression did I shut down rarely-articulated dialog about an issue? Sadly, I will never know. But one thing I do know is this: the internet is a place where every language is spoken and all topics are discussed. At this point in time, however, my blog is not a specific outlet for certain people and I feel somewhat apprehensive about that decision.

Girlspace

A new report released by Pew Internet and American Life shows that girls are more likely than boys to use social media (blogs, social networking sites, etc.). More than one-third of girls (35%) blog, compared to only one in five boys. Older online girls (ages 15-17) are more likely to have used social networking sites than boys the same age –70% vs. 54%. And over half of girls stated they have posted a photo online — 40% of boys have done the same. Boys, however, are more likely to post videos. Almost one in five boys (19%) have done so compared to only 10% of girls.

These gender difference seem to parallel the typical gender roles that we see already. Girls are more likely to express and stay in touch. Ergo, they blog and have online profiles. And boys are more likely to be techhies. Therefore, they post videos.

But no matter what content these youth are posting online, they are getting reactions: the majority of youth who post content online say they get comments at least “sometimes.” Three-quarters post comments themselves. What they do is truly social networking

You can read a summary of the report at the San Jose Mercury News.