• The Hopefulist

The drain of social media

As we begin our conversation about toxicity, I'm bringing out the big guns at the start. Whether you agree with me or not, social media is causing all sorts of stress in your life. It is probably one of the biggest causes of feelings of inadequacy, sadness and anger. You are constantly getting subliminal messages and not so subliminal messages while on social media. And most of them are NOT good.

Think about the places where you know you will find divisiveness and people who love to stir up trouble. I have mentioned many times my own community group page. The people who post the most are those who have completely different ideologies than my own. They have a child like sense of humor and can turn any post into something that is often complained about on the page. For example, someone will post that they are leaving north Jersey and asking about traffic conditions coming down. There will likely be posts like this....hope you have lots of bread for the ducks. (feeding the ducks bread is frowned upon here.) Or...someone will post, I'm on my way down with a carload of fireworks. Frankly, it's childish. It's old and tired and to me, it's not funny. Yet there are always people that put a little laughy face on the post, encouraging more posts like that. There are always political posts that I believe people share just to stir up trouble with those on the other side. It's awful, yet I'm still on it. I can't seem to tear myself away. I say it's because I don't want to miss out when there is actually informative posts about something in the neighborhood. Maybe that's a little true, but the stress it causes me would likely be worth a little information here and there. I guess I'm addicted to it. I don't let it bother me as much as I used to, but I still find it annoying and appalling at how people speak to each other in this group. You know, our neighbors. I think I will use the snooze feature on Facebook where you can take a 30 day break from certain groups, pages and people. I'll see if my social media experience improves at all.

How about more subtle messages you get from your Facebook friends. I had a group of friends that I worked with at a radio station about 15 years ago. We were all around the same age and hung out together outside of work all the time. We were a tight knit group. As time went on and we all connected on Facebook, I would see that many of them were still very close. There were gatherings that I wasn't included in. They all commented and kept up with each others feeds. Yet, I never really heard from any of them personally on my page or posts. At one point I deleted a couple of people from this group. Then I they friend requested me again. I accepted and found the same experience. They were very active in other people's posts but never commented or liked anything from me, ever. So, why is important for them to remain friends with me on Facebook? It doesn't make any sense to me. Because when you are looking at a post from someone that you have mutual friends, Facebook will highlight those people on your own list when they comment or react on that person's post. And it made me feel bad every time I saw someone supporting another persons silly post but never had contact with me. Do I take Facebook a little too seriously? Maybe, but it made me feel bad. So I deleted said people again. In fact, I went ahead and deleted most of those friends from the past. I don't know why they stopped including me but I didn't need a daily reminder that they did.

Let's talk about Instagram and all those celebrities that we love to follow. The posts we see of them looking fabulous and living their best life is a constant drain on how we don't have it as good. It sets us up for comparison whether we realize it or not. When we are constantly being bombarded with images of things we don't have or ways people look that we can't attain, it makes us feel bad. I have to say that some celebrities are starting to post pictures and video's of themselves when they are home without make-up and dressed down. I applaud them for that. It sends the message that even those we admire don't wake up looking fabulous. They also have times when they are just laying around in sweats, spending the day in front of the t-v. It normalizes them. It's a good comparison as opposed to those that make us feel less than.

Now, let's talk about the chronic complainers. You know the people who are always spouting off about something that is pissing them off. They find fault in everything anyone does and feels the need to tell everyone about it. Draining much? Yes!! I have enough of my own problems to complain about, I don't need to read about yours constantly. It's okay to vent once in awhile but there are those who post about every single grievance they have. It's too much. Unfollow, snooze or defriend. Stop the madness!

I will never tell you to cut your social media feed off. I can't for purposes of my business but I probably wouldn't anyway. But cutting down on your consumption will probably have a dramatic effect on your life. Stop checking your feed every hour. Don't worry about missing posts. If someone wants you to know something, they will tell you. And if someone holds you accountable for not responding to something on Facebook just let them know that you aren't on it constantly and can't control what posts you see and which ones Facebook decides to highlight. It's not a source of communication. If someone wants you to know something, tell them they must tell you off Facebook.

Think about how you can curtail your social media feed so that it brings you positive messages and feelings of empowerment instead of the opposite. Unfollow those complainers and those who just like to start trouble. Your social media feed is supposed to work for you. It's supposed to include what you want to see, not what makes you angry. If that isn't how it is going right now, think about some changes. It's really easy to do.

It's Tuesday! Go grab a taco. Snooze someone that brings you down on Facebook today and see how you feel a month later without their drama. Now go out and be a badass. You know I'm cheering you on!

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