Last week, a whistleblower revealed documents showing that Facebook hid the results of studies they’d done on the effects of Instagram, which Facebook owns, on teenagers. Among the findings were that looking at Instagram increased thoughts of suicide among teenage girls. This week, Facebook, Instagram, and What’s App (also owned by Facebook) went down for hours.
Many people said this was Karma in action, but as I wrote in Yoga Mind, if that were the case, bad things wouldn’t happen to good people. More interesting than the seeming cause-and-effect timing were the questions it made us ask.
I use Instagram as a way to connect with others. Without Instagram, I might not have been able to see people all over the world reading Yoga Mind, or seen so many knitters and crocheters beautifying their worlds with acts of kindness.
I’m growing less and less inclined to use Facebook. Their slow, sometimes nonsensical responses to information they know to be false have led to massive spreads of misinformation, which in turn have led to people being seriously hurt, sometimes even killed. I understand that Facebook owns Instagram, and that Instagram is just as likely to be a way to spread misinformation.
The temporary blackout made me ask questions like, Do I need this? How would I stay in touch with everyone if social media disappeared? Is there benefit here, and if so, what is it? Is this worth my Prana, my life energy?
Karma is about consequences—not necessarily “bad things happen to those who do bad things,” just the effects or results of actions taken. And, just as Karma isn’t about cosmic judgment, things like social media aren’t inherently “good” or “bad.” It’s about how we use them. However, this is one of the reasons I’m hoping people sign up for my newsletter.
As one of my idols Jamie Lee Curtis recently said, I’m old enough to remember the time before “likes,” so I know about carefully curated material and algorithms. Kids don’t. If you know how to knit and crochet or do Yoga Asana, pass that along to a teenager. You can change, even save, a life.