Among the most important voices suggesting Twitter has the potential to numb human senses and create indifference to human suffering is University of Southern California researcher, Mary Helen Immordino-Yang.
Her inquiry into the dangers of Twitter is worth exploring. Most people when confronted with moral decision making need time to digest the information in order to reflect. But the fast pace of Twitter, the researchers say, can cause harm.
What is most interesting is that the study’s new findings show that the streams of information provided by social networking sites like Twitter are too fast and furious for the brain’s “moral compass” to process , and could have a deleterious effect on young people’s emotional development. Like most people, I believed Twitter was a great way to stay in touch with friends and colleagues and get news updates, although I quickly found it time consuming.
Is it possible as the researchers say, that before the brain can fully grasp the anguish of a news story, it is too swiftly being inundated by the latest Twitter update and thereby be impeding an emotional response?
The unanswered question is whether there is a high emotional cost when one relies too heavily on being swept up in an ocean of news delivered by Twitter or online feeds.
A surprising idea emerges as well, because Twittering allows users to exchange messages of 140-characters or less, and the creators intended Twitter to be a solution to information overload.
On balance, the most convincing point made by researchers is that we still need to work on understanding how “social experience shapes interactions between the body and mind, to produce citizens with a strong moral compass,” as Immordino-Yang put it, lest we become a society emotionally dead in a world of fast news delivery.