6 Ways To Resist Social Media Invasion
Who’s in charge of what you see on social media?
Seth Godin has some helpful advice about the “dark side” of all that bombards us daily through our devices:
Your kitchen table
You open the door and the vacuum cleaner salesperson comes in, and dumps a bag of trash in your living room.
Or a neighbor sneaks in the back door and uses a knife to put gouges on the kitchen table.
Or, through the window, someone starts spraying acid all over your bookshelf...
Why are you letting these folks into your house?
Your laptop and your phone work the same way. The reviews and the comments and the breaking news and the texts that you read are all coming directly into the place you live. If they're not making things better, why let them in?
No need to do it to yourself, no need to let others do it either.
-Seth Godin. Check out his daily blog.
I must admit that post of Seth’s got me thinking. Of course I’m careful with who I let into my house. But how often do I get bombarded with a political post on Facebook, or someone’s snarky comment on Twitter, and I just let it come into my home through my phone or laptop like I didn’t have any choice?
As a therapist, I’m aware our minds take negative information in and react to it, whether we say it bothers us or not. The result is an increase in our stress, often in such a sneaky way that we don’t notice it until we feel tense, tired, or irritable. Social media and some internet sites can really mess up our mood and cause us to feel almost as bad as if someone actually invaded our home and wrecked havoc with our things. Yet, because they’ve added up over hours or days, we don’t recognize the information we’ve received through our devices is the cause.
We say, “It isn’t real. No one actually came into our house uninvited. So how could it hurt us?” But it does. Our emotions are engaged. Our mind is reeling. Or we simply feel exhausted/overwhelmed. For all practical purposes, being bombarded by the “dark side” of social media is as real as confronting that neighbor with a knife.
So what can you do about safeguarding yourself from device invasion?
Here’s a few tips:
Decide when and where you will use your technology for viewing social content and limit it to a few times a day.
Snooze or unfollow people on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or SnapChat who rant or go political in a way you find upsetting.
Look for social media groups to join that are positive. Follow a hobby group for example, like cooking, photography, sewing, knitting, etc. There are a lot of fun groups out there with people sharing skills and projects. You can learn a lot, and have fun looking at what others are doing.
Add inspirational quote groups, or follow a daily reading group that includes material from your spiritual pathway to uplift your day.
Use the tools available on the various social media platforms so you’ll see more of what you like and less of what you don’t like
Don’t comment in groups that get snarky. Leave snarky groups.
I’m sure there are a lot of other ways to brighten your social media feed. Just remember, you don’t have to let someone into your “house” if you know they aren’t going to help you, but will add to your stress, instead. Your social media doesn’t have to have a “dark side.” Social media can be just that, social. Like a fun potluck with friends. A pastime that makes you feel better. If it doesn’t, change it. You have the power.
- Autumn Starks, LCSW (about)
Founder and Psychotherapist, Starks Therapy Group
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