At a time in everyone’s life, we come to find ourselves in a situation where the music stops, and we must go on.  The unfortunate truth about life is that the unexpected will happen. Some of us learn from it, some of us change because of it and some of us find our life’s calling because of it. The latter was the case for me.  After our dad picked us up from middle school, we spent that afternoon like we had every afternoon that month. We went to the oncology unit at the hospital, where my brother was admitted.



I remember him. I remember the man in the dark blue sarong the same way I remember the lines on back of my own hand. He was hunched over next to a column on a dirty platform at a railway station in Calcutta, India in the middle of the harsh summer sun. His hands were withered, his fingers and toes looked like tiny nubs, and he was completely malnourished and alone. He had opaque blue eyes, as if fog had taken place of his irises and pupils.



I studied insects in college; my favorite insects were the bees (I found them diligent and so helpful to humankind).  One of my favorite classes was about medical diseases caused by insects. My professors noticed my interest in the medical side of things and connected me with a professor who did clinical research. Our work focused on a clinical trial for children with intractable epilepsy and exposed me early on to patient care and patients.


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The study of 72 children ages eight to ten discovered that reading creates new white matter in the brain, which improves system-wide communication.” It is noted that “white matter carries information between regions of grey matter, where any information is processed.” Beres continues, “not only does reading increase white matter, it helps information be processed more efficiently.”

This backs up other majority of the research that shows reading long-form content, especially in print, improves recall and comprehension.

Beres boils it down beautifully, noting that deep reading “leads to the formation of a philosophy rather than the regurgitation of an agenda, so prevalent in reports and online trolling. Recognizing the intentions of another human also plays a role in constructing an ideology.”

So what does this mean for us? If you spend any time at all on social media, you know there’s often a scarcity or lack of intelligent discussion – to the point that many of us are just give up, throwing in the towel and saying “enough.” Social Media just can’t seem to give us what we really want and it may actually be damaging us.

But what about social interaction? Isn’t it better to at least engage – even if the interaction is less than satisfactory? I would strongly challenge that. While some might see it as anti-social to pick up a good book or read a magazine or the Bible, I believe it makes us better people. The more you read the stronger your brain can become. Reading is powerful. We engage with information, not just absorb it.

Beres would agree: “What I do know is that life would seem a bit less meaningful if we didn’t share stories with one another. While many mediums for transmitting narratives across space and time exist, I’ve found none as pleasurable as cracking open a new book and getting lost in a story. Something profound is always discovered along the way.”

As a parent of four kids I tell them all the time junk food is a “sometime food”. If you make a diet of it you will get sick and become unhealthy. The same can be said of social media. It’s ok as a “sometime food,” but too much turns you into one sick person. I personally have found a peace and calmness as my wife and I have purged ourselves from social media and only use it as a tool for work and marketing. We have found peace not knowing all the drama and trends and other distractions that social media brings. I encourage you to put away social media, fast from it and read and engage with people without the use of technology. To me the best read is the “good book” itself. But go have a good read and then talk about what you learned and enjoyed with someone.


It was reported in a 2015, in the US, by the Pew Research Centre that 24 percent of teens go online “almost constantly,” facilitated by the widespread availability of smartphones. With all the social media platforms out there, it is estimated there will be 2.67 billion social network users by 2018 reported by article from Katina Michael (PC World). She also noted that “Social networking already accounts for 28 percent of all media time spent online, and users aged between 15 and 19 spend at least three hours per day on average using platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. And perhaps even more worrying, around 70 percent of internet use of people at work has nothing to do with their job.”

Addiction can be defined by Merriam-Webster Dictionary as “compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance.” Substances like drugs, alcohol and food are exemplified. However, there seems to be an unhealthy consumption of social media in culture. I assert that there is a growing addiction to social media in our land that is changing our brains and our ability to connect and even think for ourselves.

Marketing Expert Brandon Gaille noted the need for people to use their technology and addiction to social media citing:

Facebook and Twitter

1.  18% of users can’t go a few hours without checking Facebook.

2.  61% of users have to check Facebook at least once a day.

3.  16% of people rely on Twitter or Facebook for their morning news  


IPhone Users

1.  28% of iPhone users check Twitter before they get out of bed.

2.  26% of users check Twitter before they turn on the television.

3.  23% of users rely on Twitter for the morning news.

Derek Beres, the author of Whole Motion: Training Your Brain and Body for Optimal Health, believes social media content consumption is the equivalent of junk food for our brains.

“Scanning headlines and retweeting quips is not going to make much cognitive difference,” Beres writes in “If anything, such sweet nothings are dangerous, the literary equivalent of sugar addiction. Information gathering in under 140 characters is lazy. The benefits of contemplation through narrative offer another story.”

Beres stresses that long-form narrative OR story-base reading is imperative for us to truly to optimize our brain health. He looked at a Dec. 9th 2009 study done by Carnegie Mellon Scientists Discover First Evidence of Brain Rewiring in Children.