A while ago, I changed my use of social media, dropping sites that were rarely being updated or whose focus had shifted away from the reason I initially followed them, moving other sites to “check weekly” rather than “check daily” status, and dropping out of one group. But I like reading some blogs for long-form thoughts. I like Twitter for short jokes, and for encouraging my civic involvement and pointing me toward news stories I might not have seen otherwise.
A few things have helped to keep me mindful about interaction with the world both offline and online:
- I don’t have social media on my phone. My cell phone is a fairly primitive model that I mainly just use for emergencies or traveling. If I want to go online, I do it from my desktop computer, so my online life has a specific time and place that I can walk away from.
- When I’m tempted to post something angry online, I pause and ask myself: What is my purpose? Who am I helping? Am I furthering the discussion, or just venting? Am I addressing issues or just insults? Am I adding and highlighting new information, educating in a way that encourages people to find their voices too? I actually think anger has an important place in public discourse. There is a lot of injustice in the world; we should be angry about that. But I want to channel my energy in constructive directions. I’m not saying I do this perfectly, just that this is my goal.
- I take walks every day, and when I do, I leave my phone at home. I bring no gadgets along.
- One thing I started doing in 2017 was ending every Twitter session by tweeting (usually retweeting) a beautiful photo of a scene from nature. This helps me put something positive into the world, remind myself of the beauty around us, and disengage from each Twitter session with what feels like a calming breath.