Social Negativity: Coping Skills for the Digital World
Over the past decade, social media has had a heavy influence on how we digest news and information — it’s also created an amazing gateway for staying in touch with family, friends and colleagues.
What did we ever do without it?
On one hand, the world is more connected and engaged than it’s ever been, but on the other, political and social issues have become that much more consuming — dividing citizens and even families. While standing up for what you think is right is highly important, it’s also imperative that you don’t let your online experiences overwhelm your life. Below we serve up a handful of tips for navigating online negativity — and keeping your sanity.
Don’t Read the Comments
Literally, don’t read the comments. Odds are you’ll get pulled down a rabbit hole
populated with internet trolls that live to stir people into a frenzy.
It’s good to have healthy online debates with friends or people in your community, but avoid comment sections on major news outlets — unless you enjoy pulling your hair out, that is.
These threads can easily spiral into a dark place, and your time and energy are more wisely used (and appreciated) outside the negative zone!
Don’t Engage Emotionally
If you come across an upsetting article or post, do your due diligence and actually read the entire thing. Take some time to process, contemplate and cool down — knee-jerk reactions invite other knee-jerk reactions.
Instead of responding with a nasty or condescending tone, ask the question “What can we do to fix this” or better yet fill people in on your idea of a solution, even if it’s simply “Call your Congress person at this number to tell him/her what you think about this!”
When arguing issues with Facebook or Twitter followers (and we’ve all been there, right?), keep a level head and remember to debate, not insult. You can still get your point across without being personally disrespectful, even though it can be tempting.
Don’t feed into others’ negativity or let it affect your judgment on a measured response.
Know when to just walk away.
It’s easy to fall into the habit of obsessively checking social media, responding to click-bait political articles and getting worked up over the morning’s news. Consciously try to limit the time you spend on these things, and balance it out with positive, inspiring engagement.
Definitely stay informed on politics and social issues, but don’t let art, technology, design, music or any other positive interest (including personal relationships) fall by the wayside.
For all the ugly things happening in the world, there will always be more beauty — not to mention a plethora of puppy videos that are just begging to be watched.
Check Your Sources — No Fake News!
We’ve all got that goofy aunt or uncle who frequently circulates obscure, sensationalistic articles from obvious fake news sites. It’s easy to be fooled, and important to call out when you see it.
Staying informed and observant will make it second nature for you to identify fake news sources. If you don’t recognize the name of the source, odds are, it’s at best a biased opinion piece and at worst, a flat out lie.
The easiest way to determine credibility is to simply Google the name of the site and see what’s out there about it. Most of the time, however, the “Trump beats Godzilla at Arm Wrestling” type of headlines crack the case before it’s even been made.
Trust in reputable news sources with nationally/internationally recognizable names, and you’ll be golden.
Images purchased from Shutterstock.com
Fake news image courtesy of: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:How_to_Spot_Fake_News.jpg