• Jason Burtchell, PT, Cred. MDT

The Social Media Game (I'm back)

I got off social media almost entirely about four years ago. I did this because I was being torn apart internally, watching people who I like and care about post angry and hurtful messages, saw political posturing and falsehoods posted on both sides, concerned mostly with outshouting the opposition and never changing a mind. I've since learned that this is biological, literally part of our amygdala function that makes it difficult to take in information that is counter to our beliefs (biases). There's a name for this: it's called the backfire effect. Instead of explaining it, I'll invite you to read this as it's put together so well. It's funny and informative and does a better job explaining this than I could ever hope to: https://www.theoatmeal.com/comics/believe

Fair warning: I may drone on a bit here. If you've decided this is too long, I'd encourage you to click the link and take a read. It's important and valuable to all of us.

Four years later, I find myself back in the social media for a number of reasons: I'm starting a new business. I miss seeing what the people I care about are doing. I'd like to be a small voice of support to my friends and family, and I see things a bit more in real time than I possibly can when I'm not on social media. I understand that I'm missing an opportunity to be a source of education, support and comfort for my community which I care deeply about.

I still see the same things as I did four years ago (the timing of my return is not lost on me). I think I can live with it more now, particularly after I learned more about the backfire effect. Here's the thing: I've been a physical therapist for over 20 years. I have ONLY worked with people one on one for the entirity of my career. One of the things that makes my career so special is that opportunity to spend extended periods of time, one on one, with individuals. If I am seeing a patient for 45 minutes a few times a week for a month or so, there's a lot of conversation that gets to occur.

I have learned that I have a lot more in common with people than I don't. I have learned that there is not one person that I have found there is no commonality with. I have worked with people of every age, gender, color, religion and tax bracket and have enjoyed nearly every experience and opportunity to connect with each person. It's an opporunity that isn't there for most medical providers (and missed for many of us who do have it, sadly).

So I'm back. I'm not here with popcorn to watch the hot mess that every election cycle seems to bring out in our country, but to reestablish a bit of that connection that I've been missing. I will continue to work on staying open to learning and changing my opinion on things as new information becomes available and REALLY work to recognize when I'm falling victim to my amygdala doing it's thang.

Nice to see y'all again. It's been a minute.

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