Mean Tweets Increase The Risk Of Heart Disease (For Everyone)
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People being mean on social media has become one of those natural phenomena we've gotten used to in the 21st Century. Tsunamis ruin coastlines, cows disappear in tornadoes, and people will shit-talk babies if they can do it from behind the safety of their computer screens. Harassment on sites like Twitter has negatively impacted countless lives, causing many to quit the site to preserve their sanity. But mean tweets are more than an annoyance for celebrities reading them out on Jimmy Kimmel -- sending them may in fact be slowly killing everyone within a 10-mile radius.
Disney–ABC Domestic Television "Good dig," says the assholes who'll live way longer than whoever did the digging.
A recent psychological study tracked close to 1,300 U.S. counties and about 280 million Americans, and compared rates of heart disease to the number of hostile tweets coming from those areas. The result was a staggeringly consistent relation between the volume and frequency of negative tweets and an increased risk of heart disease. How strong is the correlation? Strong enough that mean tweets are a significantly more accurate model for predicting cardiac complications than smoking, diabetes, hypertension, and obesity combined -- and those used to be the gold standard for figuring out when people's hearts would explode.
Ridofranz / iStock "Who needs voodoo dolls when you have hashtags?"
But it's not as simple as people who write negative tweets being more likely to die of heart disease. The more negative tweets that occur in a specific geographic region, the greater the rate of heart disease for the entire county. After all, digitally savvy hatemongers aren't the ones who are dying of cardiac failure in those places -- they're often too young for that. And heartless.
This has led the study's authors to believe that "if many of your neighbors are angry, you are more likely to die of heart disease." This would mean that hate and hostility infect people as fast as an actual airborne virus -- sometimes with the same lethal consequences. Tracking Twitter trolls could thus be the easiest way of monitoring these Patient Zeroes for the stress, negativity, and pure unpleasantness that causes other people's hearts to shut down.
Kzenon / iStock Otherwise, we'll be attending funerals for people who died after a brave battle with some dude two blocks down who hated women online.