I paused social media for a while.
Most of you likely didn’t notice. Here’s the thing: I didn’t wake up one day and say, “I have to stop posting.” But there are moments when your body and your family and mental health take over.
I’ve inadvertently done a lot of soul searching regarding social media. Here’s a thing you may or may not know: I’ve worked in digital media professionally since 2008. It’s my job. And just like with any job, you learn so much about the ugly side of the industry.
I know first hand how newsrooms craft headlines to manipulate you and drive clicks. Your clicks are how they get paid, after all. Headlines and infographics and memes are marketing. The angrier you are, the more likely you are to share and react. And whether or not we choose to believe it, this is how the internet operates. The angrier you are, the more virtuous you feel, the more you feed media machines that you happen to agree/disagree with.
No, it isn’t healthy, and it doesn’t help anybody. The truth is that we have a duty to ourselves and to truth to sift through things. To look for nuance where there is nuance. To find information from actual sources, not from memes and 280 character Twitter rants.
I don’t have a solution, other than to remind you that you don’t have to stay angry. Even if your anger is righteous, you don’t have to sit with it all the time. It isn’t honorable, and it doesn’t make you virtuous to feed the outrage machine. And honestly, your social media stats don’t matter.
Consider that you can make social media a better place by highlighting good things. By lifting someone else up. By being honest about your confusion and your struggle without blame or bitterness. There is immense value in letting people know that they aren’t alone.
Life is really hard. And it’s really hard to find the good right now. Nobody is watching the news feeling great about the world. I think, though, that we have the power to bring balance, hope, and growth to those around us. I think we have the power to make ourselves stronger through knowledge and kindness.
It feels bleak, but there is always good. Find it. But you may have to look off of social media.