Pardon me – how is your day going, social media?

This month could be the death of me. In the midst of NaNoWriMo, seeking representation, and starting other endeavors, November is primed to stretch me in ways I never knew possible. Sleep has taken on the identity of both enemy and friend. My keyboard looks like a cruel form of punishment rather than a tool of the trade. I find myself staring at treadmills and free weights like they are lustful objects. Anything that could distract me from the work at hand would be a welcome escape.

And yet, here I am. Typing, blogging…ugh. I know I have to keep going and that’s that.

As an added bonus (and it’s a big one), I have a steady income and a home. I can wake up and not feel the sting of inaccessible internet or other crucial resources. I have a computer, fridge and a fancy Starbucks card to buy that tea I love so dearly. It’s these kinds of things that help me keep my motivation. A little gusto to keep the wind in my sails. And when I’m really bored, I check out Facebook, WordPress or Twitter to see what’s happening ‘out there’. When that’s done, I’m back to it and away I go. But when the day’s over, I try to relax. That, by and large, is a good feeling.

In light of this, I started something new. I began to ask myself a question. Not a tough one, but a crucial one nonetheless: how bad are things really? You know, if I had to make a list of horrible things that happen to me and those that are positive, what would that look like exactly?

You may imagine this being an external discussion: “Josh, just how bad is your life? Honestly?” To which I usually reply, “Not that bad, I guess?” To which my separate personality responds, “Yes, that’s right.” By this point, I stop the conversation entirely. Because let’s be honest, any continued dialogue would be unhealthy.

Like most people, I used to enjoy media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. When they were new, they were exciting. People flocked to these things like they were giving away free food and drinks. And now, more than half the world has at least one of the above accounts and checks theirs daily. Crazy thought, is it not?

But what started out as fun has really taken a turn, I’d say. What’s Facebook like nowadays? People post their inner emotions every five minutes – and they aren’t normally the types of emotions you’d want to read or hear. “The world sucks”; “I hate everything”; “My test was stupid”; “Why are drivers so stupid”, etc. and etc. Reading these kinds of things all day, every day, is not good for your brain. Think about it this way – if I eat cupcakes or fast food every day, I’ll become unhealthy. My energy level may go through extreme highs and lows but ultimately, I’ll be weak, dreary and tired. My diet will be off and I will suffer the consequences of my choice food. But that’s what I’m filling myself with: crap.

Now, consider the same thing as it pertains to the brain. If I read depressing, angst-ridden, angry messages every morning then how might I feel? Or even think? All those angry posts I read will get embedded deep in my noggin, which could lead to me acting out in a similar way. And even if I don’t act on them, I may begin to form the opinion that yes, everybody must be pissed off and the world sucks. Ok, yikes.

If there were a program for tracking the overall mood of Facebook globally, based on certain key indicators in status updates, I’d be curious to see the results. Would people be more upset? Or would they be more happy? One can speculate, but I’m inclined to believe the former. Facebook, Twitter, etc. – they are more like sounding boards for the mistreated rather than a handy socializing tool. Don’t think so? Go to your page right now and read the top five or 10 posts in your news feed. I’m sure you’ll find what I’m talking about very quickly.

So what’s a person to do? Be a rebel and delete all forms of social media accounts? I know some that go that route. Maybe that’s you? If so, then don’t be afraid to unplug. It could be very helpful. But if you don’t feel that obsessed, and are just tired of the same old, same old, then consider another alternative: being mindful of what you are allowing yourself to read. This goes for more than just status updates. What am I filling my head with? What am I deciding to allow in my brain for further processing? It may not seem like an important concept, but it really is. I can’t stress that enough. Try it for a day. Try it for a week. Heck, just do it. So many people give up at the first sign of duress and then wonder why things never change. What’s the downside to actually trying though?

Nothing. Nothing at all.

Comments

  1. in norway we have the opposite problem: People just post the good things, so that people feel they should also do something amazing, all the time. People just post updates on their vacations, parties and happy occurences, so it`s easy to not feel exciting enough!

    • That’s interesting. We certainly get a little bit of that too but the majority is what I’m referring to. Sounds like you have the opposite problem we do.

  2. Wow, amazing blog layout! How long have you been blogging for?
    you make blogging look easy. The overall look of your web site is magnificent, as well as the content!

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