Social Networking versus Conscientiousness

Social Networking versus Conscientiousness

C. Norman Shealy, M.D., Ph.D.

You have heard from me repeatedly in the last year about conscientiousness, which is the single most critical personality trait for both health and longevity. In recent years social networking websites have dominated the news, but the types of social networks studied for 80 years in THE LONEVITY PROJECT did not include Facebook, Twitter, etc. Indeed the lack of really personal involvement in all the blogs appears to me to be more a stream of consciousness than true networking. What was found as a major health benefit was what they call social networking:

frequency of visiting and communicating with relatives, friends and neighbors; doing community service; satisfaction with friendships and social contacts; number of intimate and companionate relationships; quality relationships with family and close relatives; and frequency of meetings with social or community groups.” Now that sounds far more likely to be a major contribution to health and longevity than an impersonal blog. Of course the modern generations may not agree with me. Even phone conversations with friends, relatives and common interest groups seem friendlier and more capable of activating oxytocin. Now maybe if you applied Air BLISS prior to blogging, it might at least optimize oxytocin!

How many is “ a number of”? Obviously that is a personal choice but obviously more than one. For those lucky enough, one’s work environment may provide adequate and fulfilling social networking. If your work is not play and fun, then you have a greater need for outside contacts.