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Social media pros, cons and WTFs.

The Senate is currently considering a ban on social media for kids under 13. Makes sense, right? We know it harms mental health, especially for the youngest "users" (addiction is almost implied). But it's part of our lives, and certainly not all bad all the time, so how do we deal?

Dara on social media: the bright side

To steal a catchphrase from a previous episode, Dara "lives lightly" on social media. There's not much of a downside for her at this point. She seeks out and shares the good, knowing that everyone has challenges--and that even the sunniest profile doesn't capture real life and nor does it have to. She's not comparing herself to others' online presence.

Dara is a very social person who makes strong connections everywhere she goes. She basically collects BFFs like I collect random midcentury pottery (I have a problem). Social media helps her stay in touch with people she'd otherwise lose contact with. (Plus, her kids are too little to use these platforms, so for now, they are shielded.)

It begs the question: Why can't we all be Daras on social media? Soak up her wisdom in this episode!

Screenshot of a text exchange between Dara and a friend, Katie. "Good morning BSCBFF! Just listened to the Neurodiversity and Aging podcast... absolutely loved both! Felt like I was in the room with friends chatting about life! Love the closing with a tip / something to focus on. Brain dump... miss you and love you! Makes me sad you have dealt and still deal with racism. Amber doesn't know it, but I am her new friend! :) you ladies are getting better and better and I'm loving it. Can't wait for the next one! Also, I know we don't see each other often and sometimes don't talk but know I am always thinking of you and wishing the very best for you and I'm here if you ever need a pick up because I think you're amazing <3"
Exhibit A on Dara's social connectivity

Amber on social media: a mixed bag

I have come so, so far. Heated political debates used to reel me in like an hangry fish to a glimmering lure on a sharp hook. But this is no longer the case. Maybe because after the intense flare-up surrounding the 2016 election, I am all out of steam and fucks. I still care, but perhaps have wasted enough time and energy to know better. It's not like anyone ever changes their mind. Social media sparring is like punching yourself in the face and saying "that'll show 'em!"

Screenshot of a Facebook post by Amber from 2016: "I admit it -- sometimes I love trolling ignorant people -- not in a hateful way but in a fact-checking way! I can't HELP IT So a Republican acquaintance from college tonight posted about how she's avoiding the DNC at all costs and laments the "liberal media onslaught" and she specifically demanded 'no conflicting/differing opinions' be posted please in reponse to her comment First I asked why she posted this -- "just venting?" (AND AN IRONIC "LOL" -- sigh -- I know I shouldn't have done that) Then I thought about perhaps live-Facebooking the entire Democratic convention on her post but nobly held back Instead I just pointed out that at that moment our future VP  was talking about "the importance of doing good and loving thy neighbor--JUST TERRIBLE" (one of her friends gave me a "LIKE" -- boom! and another friend posted about how it's helpful to hear out both sides -- boom!) Oh and then maybe I said she would be bummed to miss the points about all the "small businesses Trump swindled into non-existence and all the working class people suing him for not paying them living wages and generally BEING THE WORST" I know -- I shouldn't have done it  But at least I wasn't live-Facebooking the entire event right? She told me I was being combative and isn't that a tad ironic from  Trump supporter? What the hell is Trump if not combative?  I know I know I know -- I just can't help it!"
Exhibit A on Amber's problematic social media past

As the mom of a teen, social media is something that I have to work hard to monitor and limit, along with internet access in general. It's a constant threat and a burden. Social media companies have some tools in place, but it's really difficult to truly and fully protect kids. They don't make it easy, and I hope that changes by the time Dara's kids are of "social media use" age.

That said, social media has also been a lifeline. I'm connected to a network of neurodiversity advocates who teach me so much, making me a better parent to my autistic daughter and a better person through self-understanding.

One of the points we explore in this episode is that, fueled by mysterious algorithms, the internet seems to give you more of whatever you seek out and respond to. Choose wisely!

The metaverse: our ultimate social media WTF

Did you know that someone recently paid $500,000 for virtual weaponry? Someone spent half a million on a "skin" for a gun and a knife that only exists in code, online. We really don't understand this. To me, it's like reality itself is distorted--as if madness is setting in. A horror movie premise. In this episode Dara and I realize that just as climate change kicks in, we're all "going virtual." WTF indeed.

Season 2 of "How Do We Deal?!" will feature guestperts in each episode. We'd absolutely love to interview someone involved in, and understanding of, the metaverse. Give us a shout at if that's you or someone you know--assuming you haven't completely lost your shit.

Thanks for listening, Dealers!

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