Its been a hectic and intense few weeks here in the UK, and most of the rest of the world too. And that is all very much reflected in social media, which is increasingly where people seek their news updates.
This can all feel a bit overwhelming and when I took a recent holiday I knew that I needed to get away from the news and found myself desperate to read a funny, non challenging book. I found the perfect anti-dote to it all in Roddy Doyle’s brilliant Two More Pints. I had seen some of the sketches on his Facebook page and the book was just what I needed to get absorbed and laugh out loud again.
I felt for a few hours that the expression ignorance is bliss is spot on right now, but whilst I’m frequently tempted to move to an off grid remote island, I know that I have a need to stay in touch with what’s going on out there.
I totally appreciate and celebrate the shift that social media has created in terms of transparency and accountability, but it does mean we seem to be confronted with disturbing issues on an almost daily basis.
This is leading to an increasing number of people wanting to delete their social media accounts. Which is of course fine, but if social media is here to stay we need to find a way to live with it in a more balanced way.
So how can we keep ourselves grounded and reduce overwhelm, especially if we’re of a sensitive nature?
- Make a choice when and where you look. Remember that for most of us Facebook time is our down time when we’re in our comfort zone. So this may not be the best time to be clicking on things that make you angry. Maybe keep twitter for that stuff!
- Reduce your engagement with posts that distress you. Facebook gives you more of what you engage with, which can make it seem like there is nothing else happening. I made a conscious effort to do that recently and I’m very relieved to see that I’ve got funny animal videos back in my news stream!
- Don’t share shite! It’s so easy to click share and bahm, it’s in your friends’ newsfeed. But we can take a second to think about what we share. We are in control and can make good decisions.
- Share good news. Sometimes it can feel like it’s all bad news out there as that gets shared the most. Make a decision to find good news and share it on a daily basis. Perhaps set your self a challenge of posting good news everyday for a month and see what happens.
- Get a balance of media. I turned on the radio in the dining room last week and my daughter had tuned out of Radio 4 to a local station where they were playing…. songs. And I had a dance! At that moment I realised I never dance to Radio 4 and perhaps need an occasional media source that is less serious.
- Switch off an hour before bed and chat, watch something funny on TV or read a book. Being in front of a device late at night is harming our sleep patterns at the best of times, but going to bed after seeing something distressing is not conducive to a peaceful night. I know that many people find having digi free time before bed particularly challenging, but just try it for 10 days and see how you feel.
Over to you – As I have just shouted at my phone because of an article I read on Facebook about the ongoing internal battles within the Labour Party, maybe you can share your tips for dealing with social media overwhelm below.