Study: Inflammation "drives social media use"

Scientists at the University if Buffalo found that inflammation drove people onto social media. There, they connected with other people, as opposed to consuming entertainment. To quote, "experimentally elevating inflammation promotes social engagement behavior."

Across three studies involving more than 1,800 participants, the findings — published in the journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity — indicate that increased levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), which the liver makes in response to inflammation in the body, can promote social media use among middle-aged adults and college students.

"It seems that inflammation not only increases social media use, but our results show preliminary evidence that it's also associated with using social media to specifically interact with other users, like direct messaging and posting to people's pages. Interestingly, inflammation did not lead people to use social media for other purposes—for example, entertainment purposes like watching funny videos," says David Lee, PhD, an assistant professor of communication in the UB College of Arts and Sciences, and the study's first author.

Compare to fungi that spreads by changing the behavior of hosts, creating selective pressure toward whatever crazy-seeming thing spreads the fungi.