Can AA exist in social media era?


Alcoholics Anonymous, the program for those who have an alcohol addiction, is supposed to be a safe place for the addicts to discuss their experiences with alcohol always worked in the past because the participants were able to comfortably not identify themselves while becoming close with their group.

The rule in AA is that when you speak you state your name, but only your first name.  This prevents people from finding out too much information about the person and possibly exposing others who may want to keep it a secret.

There are, however, people in the groups who get close enough to become not only a support system for one another but good friends.

Today, in 2016, it is not only common, but expected to friend or follow those you are close to, on social media.  And the way social media outlets such as Facebook work is mutual friends pop up on other news feeds.

Therefore, there is potential to distribute personal information that was never supposed to be revealed.

Some people in the program don’t mind because their family and friends know, but there are some people who want to keep it a secret from everyone they know.

One AA member, Caitlin, has been in the program for 23 years. She says “I do see a change with AA co-existing with social media.  I don’t see a problem with it, but I understand why some people do.”

Those who are comfortable with discussing it and don’t hide their addiction even follow the Alcoholics Anonymous Facebook page.

These people feel that it gives them another outlet with people who are going through the same experience they are.  This Facebook page acts as another support group.

Others who are in the program have deleted their social media accounts or changed their name to ensure their anonymous program stays that way.

Linda, another member of AA, is a mother and a wife.  She joined the program six years ago and no one in her family knows.

“I was friends with my husband and kids on Facebook, when my AA sponsor and friends started friend requesting me, I deleted my Facebook (account).  Some of these people write about AA on their walls and I don’t want my family asking questions as to why I have so many friends in AA,” she said.

Journalism and social media outlets


In the 21st century, journalists don’t just write articles. These days, they have a very strong presence on social media as well.

Their presence now is on the list of the “Top Ten Things” that can make or break reliability from individual promotion to business promotion, to articles coming from news outlets.

It may seem as though news articles are posted on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn as information is being released. However, that is not necessarily the case.

Yes, all news stations are going to try to get the most recent information out before all others however, there is a calculated method to having an “appropriate” and successful presence on social media.

Businesses and news sites posting on social media is much different than individual posting.

People post on their personal social media accounts as many times a day, week or month as they chose and there is no right or wrong way of doing so.

News outlets however have a strict policy, if it is not followed, they seem unprofessional.

The book The Art of Social Media by Guy Kawasaki explains the rules and reasonings of the social media business method.

For example, the book shows the most successful (social media successful: the most views) businesses post to Facebook about two times a day between four and five days a week, Twitter, everyday at least three times a day, Instagram one time five to seven days a week, and LinkedIn is more flexible.

For LinkedIn, though, one still does not want to post more than two times a week.  And when posting on LinkedIn, all must should be more professional and business oriented than general posting on the other social media outlets.

These general tips allows people, reporters and businesses to gain social media power through out the internet.

Reporting about medicine is challenging


Endocrinology, the medical field of diabetes, thyroid disorders and metabolism, is often misunderstood by most adults.

This includes the journalists who report on any new findings in the endocrinology field that originate from the doctors and medical scientists themselves.

Therefore, articles on “living a healthier life” with diabetes, a thyroid disorder or an illness that affects the metabolism are strictly from a scientific point of view as opposed to other topics that are geared toward discussing what the readers (or at least their preferred audience) wants to hear or read.

For example, the majority of articles are published by doctors and medical researchers in the New England Journal of Medicine, as well as reliable newspapers such as The New York Times.

The articles pertaining to endocrinology that are published in regular newspapers (not medical journals) are summarized and simplified articles from various medical journals.

An article called, 2 Endocrinology Groups Raise Doubt on Earlier Onset of Girls’ Puberty was published in The New York Times on Sept. 3, 2001.

One week earlier, the official study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.  This article includes the full abstract, intro, thesis, tests, charts, results, conclusion and overall write up properly cited.

The New York Times version, although explaining everything, is a relatively short article as opposed to the full study report that is approximately 14 pages (not including cited sources and methods).

The facts about drinking while pregnant?


Every few months or so, the Internet goes crazy over a new study that says what is okay and not okay to do while pregnant.

For example, first it is not okay to drink alcohol while pregnant, then it was suggested that having a glass of wine once a month is healthy. And now, it is okay to only drink the last month a woman is pregnant.

WebMD poses the question “How much alcohol is too much?”

It also states that “The problem with drinking and pregnancy is that there is no amount that has been proven to be safe.”

The latest theory states that it is not only okay, but it is actually good for ones pregnancy.

David Garry an OBGYN admits that “researchers don’t know enough about the potential effects of drinking alcohol at particular times during the pregnancy to be able to say that any time is really safe.”

Journalists and reporters quickly write about why the new theory is correct and why we were wrong in the past.  Obviously, it is their job to get information out there as quickly and accurately as possible.

In this case, although the journalists and reporters are doing their jobs, they are missing the extensive research as to why people’s perceptions change.

New studies are frequently done, but how correct are they?  Within in the past two years, doctors have changed their mind about alcohol intake while pregnant.

Wanting to get the information out there with the newest studies, the accuracy of information is not always clear.  If it were, these new studies would all conclude in agreement with one another.

Doctors are still not agreeing on which theory is most correct.  If doctors are admitting they do not know, it is impossible for the reporting to be 100% accurate.

Journalists’ health reporting falls short


Frequently health articles are headlined with words that promote the understanding of possibility as oppose to fact.  The New York Times published many health articles this week.  All of the titles follow this patter.

Commonly used headline words are qualifiers such as “might,” “sometimes” and “most likely.”  Sometimes the headlines are even in the form of questions.

Similarly, when there is a possible cure to an illness, the hypothesis/abstract of the study or experiment is condensed into the title. This discusses the possibility of a cure being discovered/invented.

For example, “When a Spouse Dies, Resilience Can Be Uneven,” “Why Do Obese Patients Get Worse Care?,” “Too Old to Donate Blood?, Immunity Offers Hope to a Cancer Patient,” but there is no certainty.

Scientists as well as the news media do not want to make a statement of fact in case the statement is wrong or simply the “cure” is not successful for everyone.

Journalists, the news media and the scientists/doctors do this to engage and educate people in present day tests,studies, and theories. The article headlines are good at attracting the readers. But almost every article is listing and discussing facts about the respective illness or topic while explaining the thought process and potential outcome.

This is opposed to actually discussing the cure or solution, which would educate the public.

Instead, so many of these types of articles are published that the meaning and purpose lose credibility and causes discussion and confusion.

The evolution of the thigh


In today’s society we see articles about appearance, health, style and, especially, weight.  These articles range from how to be skinny, to healthy, to look like a model, look rich, look famous, look “cool” and look “chill.”

There are other topics within health and beauty that are discussed, but those listed above seem to be the most common.

The way the news media talk about body image is proven to cause body image problems in America such as anorexia, bulimia, body dysmorphic disorder and binge eating to name a few.

In America, our news media focus on what is in style. The popular body part that young women are focusing on now is their thighs. The style of thighs haa evolved from the thigh gap, to the thigh brow, to the mermaid thigh.

A young girl is considered to have a thigh gap is when standing up straight with their ankles touching, there is a visible gap between the thighs.

A thigh brow is when a young woman is sitting down and a crease in the leg forms between the hip and thigh. This is considered sexy because it shows a woman’s thinness while still having the typical woman curves.

The newest trend is called the mermaid thigh.  This is when a woman puts their thighs together and the size of the thigh decreases from top to bottom, the look is accomplished looking like a mermaid’s tail.

This concept is harmful to young girls because the shape of a persons thighs is genetic, not how skinny they are or how much they work out.

Dr. Gill Rosalind discusses the news media’s effect on women and men around the country. “One of the most significant shifts in advertising in the last decade … has been the construction of a new figure: a young, attractive, heterosexual women who knowingly and deliberately plays with her sexuality.”

Rosalind explained that this new woman is slowly changing the way the news media represents women.

The news media’s way of portraying body types does not just affect women but men as well.  Focusing on women’s bodies however, men then develop an inaccurate image of what women’s bodies are supposed to look like.

This may cause them to in fact be attracted to something that doesn’t naturally exist.

The news media, however, have the power to change this. Rosalind goes on to explain, “If more advertisements take on the view of the new stronger female, we will start to see a change in the way our culture defines women. This new women could potentially change how women feel about themselves and how they need to dress.”

Media love to cover institution rankings


The general public frequently read articles ranking the top 10 colleges, airlines, cities, restaurants, school systems and so much more.  Typically, when reading the article the readers accept the ordered rankings.

Following this, Facebook users post these articles to “prove” their favorite college, airline, city, restaurant, etc., is the highest ranked.

What are these rankings based on?  And who is coming up with the rankings?

The specific articles written usually do not explain the criteria and reasoning for the ranked items.  They simply just list it and provide a little information on each topic.

Where does the general public find out more about the criteria and rankings?

If the reader is curious, unconventionally, they need to go to the “criteria article” which is separate from the rankings.

CNN released an article with the rankings of the top U.S. carrier.  The comments on the lowest ranked airline, Sprint states “The Airline Quality Rating, released Monday, rates the United States’ 13 largest airlines.  No. 13 overall, Spirit had the worst on-time performance and the highest complaint rate.”

Their highest ranked airline is Virgin Airlines.  The ranking qualifications for Virgin is “Virgin Airlines has the lowest mishandled luggage complaints.”

Although both state useful information, they are not judging the airline on the same criteria.  The article does not state how the individual criteria is measured as well.

Similarly, the college ranking new released an article listing the 2016 top undergraduate university and college rankings.

For number one on the list, Princeton, the criteria ranges from endowment, to the tuition, to the enrollment, to size, to stating which famous people graduated from the university.

The lowest ranked university on the list is Worcester Polytechnic Institute.  Although their criteria also includes the tuition, endowment and a list of the famous people who graduated from the university, their criteria is focused more on the student involvement.

The rankings that are most specific, constant, and reliable seem to be the restaurant rankings.

The restaurant criteria is the same for all restaurants.  Yes, the articles comment on different highlights of the restaurants, but states clear ranking criteria.  You can view Zagat’s rankings and ranking criteria here

Networks reveal ideologies


News networks and reporting are supposed to be neutral with no biases. But still, the general public can categorize each network and its reports as a Republican network or a Democratic network.

This is not due to the content that is covered because more or less, any news channel one can put on that is not your “local” news station will be reporting the same stories.

Fox News is a “Republican” news network, although its spokespersons will say otherwise.

“We are a news station that is neutral to both sides. We give the public the news as it is.  We have anchors, reporters, and writers who are from all political parties,” says a news reporter at the Fox 5 news station.

Seventy-eight percent of conservatives think news stations such as CBS, ABC, and NBC are biased toward those who are liberal.

Michelle Koenigsberg, 72, a Republican from Brooklyn, N.Y., says “I only watch Fox News because the other stations are so biased towards liberals, they don’t give a full story.  They lie to make their side look better than they are.”

According to The Washington Post, “a quarter of its audience is from Democrats and 9% from Independents.”

Sophie Browne 21, a Democrat from New York City, stated, “I never watch Fox, it’s way too conservatively biased and I honestly think it’s crap.”

So how and why is each news station able to be categorized to the public?  It seems to be a common belief that Republicans will feel that “Republican” networks and local stations are reporting the news as it really is with no bias, just as Democrats feel that way about the “Democratic” networks and stations.

The main reason for this seems to be the specific parts of a story that is being reported.  For example, the 2016 presidential campaign.

Both ABC and Fox News reported this week on the temperaments of both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

ABC stated “Clinton is poised when pointing out Trump’s contradictions and false claims.”

ABC also says “It’s clear that from his tone, Trump is judged on his temperament.”

Why is this? Each network knows its viewers and its rumored political side. The reporters’  jobs are to report the news “as it is” however, they still need to appeal to their audience.

Fox’s report on the temperaments this week revealed the biases that the news viewers feel.

“We’ve known that Clinton isn’t a great retail politician, but is an establishment candidate in a non- establishment year.  We’ve known that she has low ratings on honestly and trustworthiness exacerbated by the Clinton foundation mess,” Fox stated.

The way they portray Trump seems to be more positive than the way ABC does.

“Now that Donald Trump is stabilizing his campaign with more scripted speeches on military readiness,” an ABC story stated.

Although both ABC and Fox News are reporting on the same topic, they are emphasizing the parts of each story that please the viewers and “prove” their stereotyped political beliefs.