You like to watch panda videos. Admit it.
This type of online activity may feel silly and a waste of time. But a lot of what we do on social media may be good for us, a growing body of new research shows. Our experiences online can increase our connectivity and combat loneliness, boost our mood and improve our relationships and our memory.
We turn to social media for social support and engage online in topics and causes that matter to us: Facebook to connect. Twitter to follow the news. Instagram to show our artsy side. Snapchat to be funny.
Neuroscientists believe that we get a spike of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which increases when the reward systems of our brain are activated, when we get a “like” or a comment on one of our posts. “It’s a powerful positive reinforcement,” says Patricia Wallace, a psychologist and author of “The Psychology of the Internet.”