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You Are What You click: How Being Selective, Positive, and Creative Can Transform Your Social Media Experience



Written by Brian A. Primack M.D., Ph.D.

Reviewed by Nancy Eichhorn, Ph.D.

I started to write, “I’m the worst person to review a book on social media! I don’t use it.” Then, nearing the end of Dr. Primack’s book, I realized, I use it more than I think.

I don’t Twitter, nor Instagram. I don’t TicToK or Messenger. I post articles on LinkedIn and use Facebook for the magazine. But a sense of who? me? reached out and grabbed me when Dr. Primack discussed Facebook and canned birthday wishes: how people, like me, are reminded of “friends” birthdays so we can offer a greeting, an emoji. What truly tripped me was his discussion on our own takeaway. I rarely post on my personal page, but I do look forward to my birthday and to reading all the greetings from people I don’t connect with the rest of the year. It’s like some sense of I matter because all these acquaintances are sending me an online birthday card. Strange? Scary? Sick? Flabbergasted is the best term for me. And this is only one of the many areas that Dr. Primack, Brian, delves into in his recent publication, You Are What You click: How Being Selective, Positive, and Creative Can Transform Your Social Media Experience.


Dr. Primack’s text is organized into five parts; part one lays the foundation for the following four: Why we need a “Food Pyramid” for Social Media; Be Selective; Be Positive; Be Creative; and How To Live Now. Part one includes a personal anecdote about Brian’s use of social media during a grim time in his and his family’s life: a terrorist rampage left numerous friends dead and others injured in their synagogue. He offers data from studies, his and others, to support his premise that we need to develop a healthy relationship with social media—it’s not all or none but rather we need skills that enable us to be selective, positive, and creative in our approach to and use of social media. When we learn how to analyze, evaluate, and critically think about ourselves, we have the chance to discover how we spend our time and energy in life and online, which in turn may trigger changes that might ultimately improve our lives.

Parts two, three, and four are each focused on the three attributes that he wants readers to acquire. Overall, he offers strategies to help readers make positive changes when and where needed. In Part two, readers are invited to think consciously about how much time they spend online, how frequently they engage, which platforms work best, and how to schedule breaks, aka holidays, from online time. Part three investigates positivity, from the perspective of positive psychology to one’s predetermined attitudes, and ways to reflect on toxicity and positivity in regard to social media. Part four focuses on creativity and how we need to tailor our online use to fit our personality and lifestyle as well as our needs and wants. Rather than being a lemming following trends off the edge of some virtual cliff, we need to look inward and find places that nourish and nurture our inner being, that bring joy to our lives not deplete and depress us. Dr Primack is clear, by reading his book we can:

• Tailor social media use to our personality
• Select positive relationships over toxic ones
• Overcome the comparison syndrome and the fear of missing out
• Fill our feed with meaningful and uplifting content
• Manage our news intake, stop doomscrolling, and more

The content within each section builds from the basics of why, to, how to consider, and then what to do. He notes that he offers “short actionable chapters” with “innovative science” and “immediate strategies” to enlighten and engage readers.

To read the entire review, please click here to access the PDF

Photo credits:

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Food Pyramid www.wunderkind-pr.com