How I am dealing with Social Media Overload and Toxicity
I just wanted to drop down a few notes concerning mental health, as far as the use of digital media is concerned. They are just my thoughts.
In this blog post I just wanted to drop down a few notes concerning mental health, as far as the use of digital media is concerned. They are just my thoughts.
I have for the last three decades or more, been involved in in media both as a radio broadcaster and latterly as somebody that works in the area of digital information especially with social media tools and platforms. I have been talking on courses and small conferences internationally about how to lever the power that mobile devices and the apps and tools that you can use with these devices, to get information out and how you can influence people easily.
I have said many times in the past ,that these tools needed to be kept in check.
it wasn't until very very recently though, that I realised that the advice I was giving people about watching out for addiction, that I would myself become addicted to social media.
I don't want this post to be like an ex smoker, talking about giving up smoking. There’s nothing worse than an ex smoker talking about smoking. Right?
Over the last year we've had to cope with a global pandemic of COVID-10 or the CoronaVirus, whatever you want to call it.
Our's lifestyles have changed We’ve been confined to our homes and had our movements restricted.
We’ve been keeping in touch using tablets, laptops and mobile phones and a plethora of new apps have come on the market to keep us all in contact, entertained and informed.
Throughout this period, the already previous levels of toxicity have just spiralled out of control as far as I'm concerned.
That toxicity is damaging. I've certainly felt the effects of that damage on me and I'm watching out for it all the time. It’s still damaging me.
People that have got no clue about the power that this damage causes, I am sure really don't know how they're going to to cope.
The abuse of so called “Free Speech”, that fuels negativity and increases toxicity, baffles me.
What ever happened to tolerance and responsibility?
The argument that “I have the right to say what I want and damned if it upsets anyone” might be valid. But done in real life it might cause you to get a broken nose or even hospitalised. Something that doesn’t happen when delivered online.
Having recognised that my mood etc has been, is being affected by Social Media, I have decided to do something about it.
Luckily, I've never been a great user of some the more popular platforms like Twitter.
My major ones are Instagram, Instagram TV, Facebook and YouTube ( although I don't actually class YouTube as a social Media platform).
I have found a Google extension that removes the timeline on Facebook. I actually loaded it onto my desktop and laptop. A good step first step forward. I can still use Facebook for posting things that I want other people to find out about concerning Bosnia and Herzegovina, but I don’t get subjected to the flow of negativity in the timeline.
Facebook for me is our Bosnia and Herzegovina page and our private (read secret) Facebook Group.
Our Instagram account is small, very little at the moment at any rate for negativity or toxic comments so I'm quite happy to use that.
YouTube? Well we post videos and other interesting content on our YouTube channel. At the moment I have to say that the toxic comments are not as bad as that used to be. My goodness some years ago go it was just getting beyond a joke with Serbs,Croats and Bosniaks, all bitching and spitting hate on each other on a video which really was quite innocuous. Somebody would make a comment and another ethnic group didn't like it. For a while we closed the comments down which I don't think it's very good for the YouTube algorithm.
Finally we have the Blog which has a podcast element to it as well. The podcast has been like bubbling along for some time but we'll have to see what comments come along as we are now putting some real effort into that.
Family communications at the moment are via WhatsApp and Viber. Viber is popular in the Balkans.
WhatsApp I use because my family around the world uses that.
Recently. I have realised that I have periods of just scrolling scrolling scrolling.
Thats so bad.
So to stop that, I have now put something in place that works for me and I don't know if it will work for you. I've cut back to the bare minimum of apps on my mobile phone. The cull (uninstall) of a lifetime.
I've decided that if anything goes wrong in my private life, if there's any bad news and it comes in after 6 at night and I'm here in the Balkans I cannot do anything about it. At night there's no way I can book a flight. get out of the country and start travelling straight away.
Those days are gone. The days of instant reaction have gone. To travel from Bosnia Herzegovina back to the UK I would need to go through Croatia and get a flight etc. I need a PCR test and then to try and get a flight if I can. Then when I get to the other end, I'm going to have to go into some form of quarantine and a possible further PCR test.
So if somebody was to be involved in a tragic accident back in the UK, no longer can I just jump in a car and a plane and be with them within 6 hours. Those things are not going to happen anymore or not for the foreseeable future.
I'm leaving my phone in the office in the evening. The office is a mere 8 steps from the main house.
The first days of my new regime have been hard, if truth be told.
I'm finding it a struggle to be honest but I suppose it's like with anything else if it means something to you you'll do it. It’s not a crack cocaine addiction addiction or heroin addiction or booze or anything like that so I'm sure I can beat this.
I do feel weird that I am not permanently “connected” anymore, and for somebody that's been preaching about connectivity for so many years, that is an additional thing for me to come to terms with.
Maybe you feel the same?
How successful will I be in redefining my relationship with Social Media? Will I feel better, more healthy at the end of this?
Time of course will tell.
If you are on this journey or are feeling that you should start, then the very best of wishes from me to you.