I love the Internet.

It’s absolutely brilliant.

You have all the information you can ever need at your fingertips.

You can also connect with anyone from anywhere.

But despite it’s incredible upsides, there are some unwanted downsides.

Most of my time on the internet is spent on Social media, unless I have something to do, in which case I’ll check in on Twitter to see if I have missed any juicy Rugby gossip.

It’s incredibly frustrating and the negative effects on Mental Health are well documented

But today I’d like to talk about a less spoken about problem with Social Media.

The Florida Effect

But first let’s delve into a little science.

In a study by some clever researchers in Florida where two groups of people were given a list of letters to organise. One group was given words like ‘old’ arthritis’ ‘elderly’ ‘grey’ ‘selfish’ and the other group was given just  random words. The researchers then asked the two groups to to go to a room down the corridor and observed the time it took them to get there.

Interestingly, the group that organised the older more negative words walked more slowly than those that organised the other words to the focus groups. When interviewed they hadn’t noticed any change in their attitude.

This controversial psychological model that explains how external stimuli can affect us without us even being aware of it is called the Florida Effect and is also known as Priming.

The undisciplined fitness model

A little about my story.

Once upon a time I was involved in the Health and Fitness niche believing that I could try to make it as a nutritionist. I was studying for a Nutrition related degree in Uni and I saw it as a rewarding career that could give me the freedom to not be answerable to a boss.

What did I do?

I immersed myself in Health and Fitness social media, joined groups, forums, subscribed to email lists.

If you’ve followed many personal trainers and/or nutritionists you’ll notice that the majority of them tend to hang around in their pants posing on stage.

If you know me, you’ll know that this ain’t me. I’m not showy, flashy, very confident and certainly ain’t disciplined.

To really emphasise my point, when I tried a cut years ago to see if I could show through some abs for the summer, I decided to have a cheat meal of jumbo sausage and chips after two days put myself in a food coma and didn’t train for two days after.

But there I was thinking that it might be a good idea to enter a bodybuilding competition.

It was never going to happen.

There are more occasions like this than I care to admit but that’s the problem with social media, it can alter your judgement particularly if you try to immerse yourself in a particular industry that you are interested in. It’s a slow form of brainwashing that is hard to snap out of.

Thankfully I had the presence of mind on this occasion to realise that it was wa stupid idea but that hasnt always been the case…

When I have noticed this happening over the years, I’ve unfollowed lots of people, left lots of groups, unliked problem pages and sure enough my mind finds a bit of equilibrium.

However, it’s important to note that it’s not always a bad thing. Surrounding yourself with positive influences can lead to positive changes.rank

What about you? Have you ever got sucked into an industry and caught yourself thinking or doing something you never thought you would?

Let me know in the comments below.