COMMENT:

Can't say I was surprised by the headline over the weekend: "Twitter is detrimental to your intelligence".

That's not the only thing it's detrimental to. Anyone who's ever used Twitter will know what a toxic cesspit of an echo chamber it is.

I can't remember when I gave up Twitter, but it was years ago - it was bad then, I'm told it's worse now.

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Twitter is like your very worst example of cliquey mean girls (or boys) gathered together in a frenzied mob of re-tweets and comments generally designed to bully, ridicule or demean those who're not in their 'tribe'.

It's a wading pool of misery, which most people with 'real' friends tend to leave it behind once they see it for what it is.

But now we have facts to back up what an unhelpful place it is.

Twitter, which boasts 126 million largely angry or bored users, has offered to "reform itself" given the reputation it has as a platform for misinformation and hate.

But not just that, word is from a professor of economic policy at a University in Milan that Twitter can also make you stupid.

One of the findings of his study was that Twitter "not only fails to enhance intellectual attainment, but substantially undermines it".

This was the outtake from the largest study of its kind: 1500 students examined as to the effect of Twitter on student achievement.

A test asked half the students using Twitter to analyse a novel and the other half using traditional classroom teaching: "Using Twitter reduced performance on the test by 25 to 40 per cent."

This result proved to researchers that "blogs and social networking sites actively impair performance".

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What this tells us is that we should be careful about how we use social platforms - despite those on them believing they're participating in healthy debate, often times they're not.

Ingesting soundbites and condensed versions of facts is not the same as reading the full story. Also, just because you and your mates might be there all sharing your views back and forth, that doesn't mean those views represent a larger chunk of society, or are based in reality, at all.

Why is this important? Well because politicians, from the President of the United States down, use it on a regular basis as a tool of communication and interaction. It's now a huge part of our political landscape.

The professor in this study pointed out that "platforms like Twitter should not replace more traditional methods of engagement, especially in grappling with complex topics".

So maybe next time you're online on a social platform – or inside a Twitter echo chamber - pause and reflect for a second - is what you're reading helping, or hindering, your intellect?