Health

Tweets on body image down, greater talk around mental health, reveals Twitter

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What does our social media activity tell us about cultural shifts in the health and wellness space? Let’s look at what data by Google, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and TikTok reveal

Twitter

Tweets on body image down, greater talk around mental health, reveals Twitter

Maybe the era of body-neutrality has truly arrived, as recent Twitter data has revealed that body image, diet, and physical appearance no longer dominate the conversation. The company sampled tweets from 2016 to 2019 to find that conversation around mind and mental health has gone up by 122%.

The top hashtag in health? #SelfCareSundays — your neigbours in the twitterverse offering you advice on how to best prepare for the coming week. After all, you need that “glow up.”

Meanwhile, talk of physical fitness has gone down by 75%. But when we do talk about it, it is very much data-driven. Turns out, we are heavily reliant on our apps and devices to optimise our health. We have evolved beyond fitness trackers: it’s less about counting steps and heart rate (down by 85%) and more about DNA testing, managing sleep, and monitoring bodily rhythms. For example, we, especially women, are talking about hormone-tracking apps 13% more than previous years.

Dieting, detox and pharmaceutical solutions to beauty? Please, that’s so 2018. The coming decade is all about going traditional, and improving holistic health. Awareness on gut health and CBD oil is seeing a massive jump. But nothing compares to the leap in tweets on intermittent fasting — an astonishing 4497%.

Google

Herne, Germany - October 1st 2012: Closeup of the green Google Android Mascot shot in home studio on white background

Herne, Germany - October 1st 2012: Closeup of the green Google Android Mascot shot in home studio on white background  

You can hide your search history from your mother, but you can’t hide it from big daddy Google. The Year in Search is out, and in 2019, the average Indian was really into… Dance! In a list of ‘Near me’ queries, ‘dance classes near me’ was on the top. Also turns out that we checked the AQI near us, like one checks the clock when on a deadline — far too often. Naturally, it was in November that our collective panic about air pollution peaked, with maximum searches coming in from — you guessed it — Delhi. Given the year we have had then, we also really dug into self-care: with ‘salons near me’, and ‘spa near me’ coming in at the second and tenth position respectively. In September this year, the Indian government banned e-cigarettes, specifically its sale, storage and manufacture. Leading to many nudging Google in the side, and whispering, ‘What is e-cigarette?’ (The query was fifth on ‘What is…’ list, right after ‘What is howdy Modi?’)

Speaking of addictions, the game that bowled Gen Z over, and had Indian parents complaining to PM Modi in public meetings — ‘How to play PUBG’, found the seventh spot in Google’s ‘How to’ list. Right ahead of it, however, was ‘How to remove Holi colour from hair’ proving that some things never change.

Instagram

Tweets on body image down, greater talk around mental health, reveals Twitter

It’s 2.30 am, and you’re on Instagram, scrolling past a picture of an aesthetically plated toast with 1257 likes. This prompts you to check your latest picture with your five friends, which has a measly 14 likes (of which five are by said friends). You refresh the notifications page, waiting for that dopamine hit you get with every red heart. This year, Instagram has taken cognisance of the massive FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) that the social network sparks, and is globally testing making like counts private. This means that you will not be able to see how many people have liked any given post unless it is your own. CEO Adam Mosseri has told media that “the idea is to try to depressurise Instagram, make it less of a competition, and give people more space to focus on connecting with the people they love and things that inspire them.” The company hopes this will reduce anxiety and social comparison.

Taking a stand against online bullying has been a big deal for Instagram this year. The other major feature rolled out was the ‘Restrict’ option. If you have restricted a certain account, their comments on your posts will be invisible to others and their messages won’t appear on your Direct. While it is a great tool to fight hate messages, we wonder whether it will create a convenient echo chamber, where chances of healthy debates go out the window.

TikTok

Tyumen, Russia - April 30,2019: TikTok and YouTube apps on screen iphone xr, close up

Tyumen, Russia - April 30,2019: TikTok and YouTube apps on screen iphone xr, close up  

If there’s one social network eager to change its image regarding mental health, it is TikTok. From skirting bans in April owing to inappropriate content, it has gone on to launch campaigns with Suicide Prevention India Foundation. Its #YourLifeMatters, with 998 million views, encouraged people to prioritise self-care, practise self-compassion, and debunk stigmas attached to mental health issues.

Given the app revolves around entertainment, fitness rules the space of health and wellbeing. The top hashtag, #FitnessFreak, with 2 billion views, saw a whole bunch of people lifting weights, performing acrobatic feats, and contorting themselves in yoga postures, to Punjabi and hip hop music.

Interestingly, content creators on TikTok have flipped traditional gender roles. The top creator in the fitness space is Gunjan Shouts, who advises her 2.8 million followers on the best ways to lift weights, and maintain a protein-rich diet. On the other hand, the top two creators in the beauty space are men. Paras Tomar, with 2 million followers and Mridul Madhok, with 6.6 million followers, share tips on mixing face and hair packs at home.

LinkedIn

Looking to make a career in health? You may want to shift to Miami, Orlando, San Francisco Bay Area, or Seattle. LinkedIn’s report on emerging jobs in India is predictably filled with engineers. However, the US report mentions ‘Behavioural Health Technician’ as one of the top 15 upcoming careers. “Increased health insurance coverage for mental health and substance abuse treatment has likely created this increased demand for Behavioural Health Technicians, many of whom specialise in working with patients who have autism or behavioural disorders and are working with children in school environments,” says the report.

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2020 1:00:45 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/health/what-our-social-media-activity-says-about-health-and-wellness/article30318735.ece

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