Social Media Cleanse

besoft2

I won’t do any linking to stories about human misery here, but trust me when I say that in the past week there’s been a rash of troubling news in my home state. Three separate stories, which  occurred with in a few days of each other,  concern children being killed, maimed, and abandoned. In addition there’s been a rash of Facebook rants that I haven’t been a part of, but have turned nasty. You know, of the racist and/or sexist and/or homophobic variety. Sigh. What to do? I don’t want to delete Facebook; I actually love Facebook. I keep track of friends, events, etc…. I just need to quit with the constant scrolling and reading.  I’m tired. I’m bored. I’m waiting. So I read Facebook. As a result I end up angry, upset, and depressed.

I moved the app on my phone (my Android won’t let me delete it). That should help. I’ve unfollowed everyone who isn’t a human or a book-related site and as a result my feed is free of news sites, politics, and activism. I’ll use NPR streaming at work to catch up on world news and I work at a library so I’m not going to suddenly become ignorant of the world. I may even take up reading the newspaper on my lunch break. A newspaper is tangible. I can read it, fold it up, put it away and wait until the next day for more news. None of this constant refreshing to see the latest updates.

I’ve also decided to use other forms of Social Media to spare myself. Facebook is a blessing and a curse. Cute pictures of my friends’ kids one second and then you scroll down and it is a horrific murder confession splashed on a news source. Other types of social media are more….. contained… I find cookie recipes and chore charts on Pinterest, adorable kid pictures on Instagram and bookish banter on Twitter and GoodReads. I’ll start posting more to these forums and, yes, it will post to my Facebook, but I don’t need to go there to see it.

When the world starts to seem bleak I tend to withdraw from society and focus on my home. I can pray and donate money and do some volunteering. I can voice my beliefs and vote for those who reflect my values. Knowing every detail of a the callous murder of a toddler doesn’t do anything but increase my anxiety and depression. I’m helpless. I cannot fathom hurting a child and and I certainly can’t fathom how to fix society so children no longer hurt.

I cannot save everyone’s child, but I can take care of my kids. I can hug, hold and love my husband and kids. I can bake cookies, make forts, and build Lego towers. I can clean their bodies, and take them to the doctor and kiss boo-boos. I can do this. I’m pulling away from this messy world and focusing on my little nest.

This also means that I have a hankering to do more “home” projects. I’m cleaning, baking, knitting, exercising, stitching, and writing. My children see that I’m engaged in life. Yes, I will sit and stare at my smart phone a little bit during the day, but mostly I’m actively engaging in living my life.

Yesterday I had enough. I was obsessively checking on this one particular news story because I was so horrified I couldn’t think of anything else. Then I started crying, at work, in my office. Enough.

When I got home from work and after the kids were in bed I did the only thing someone who feels sad and helpless can do: I baked scones. I haven’t baked for fun in such a long time. I was busy and occupied and as a result I have happy coworkers with bellies full of lemon blackberry scones. That is so much more rewarding than determining “what classic movie” I am or sharing a post on “insert random activism article” here.

Cheers for babies, hugs, mugs of coffee, soft dough, bits of yarn, warm cat purrs, sunshine, and general good things. Cheers to all that.

 

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3 comments

  1. I’m having Facebook problems right now for similar reasons. Firstly there’s a LOT of talk about Jimmy Savile (I don’t know if he’s famous overseas, but if you haven’t heard of him I very strongly advise you NOT to look him up right now to see what the news is, I can’t tell you how harrowing it is, and if you’re in a fragile frame of mind to start with…). So my news feed has some very disturbing stories.
    And secondly – there’s a very far right political group on the rise in the UK and because of the way they use Facebook many people are sharing their stories / pictures / links quite innocently and not realising that sharing some of these apparently very innocent stories is spreading the reach of this dangerous and malicious group. It infuriates me no end saying people I’m friends with sharing them.
    So yeah, I’m avoiding Facebook right now!
    I think your plan is the right way forward. It’s no good upsetting yourself for a start, and furthermore I don’t think it’s hiding away. It’s enough to be aware of current events, one doesn’t have to know the disturbing ins and outs.
    (I’m in a nesty mood as well, by the way 🙂 )

  2. This post resonates with me. I just can’t quit FB for good. I wish I could. But I have about 5 -10 friends I value whom I really only keep in touch with through Facebook. It’s how we schedule get-togethers and communicate in between real face time. But sometimes I wish I could delete the entire account. I really do. It’s too much. Our social circles were not meant to include so many, I think. This week’s news really disturbed me to the point of nausea and anxiety. But I also see other links and conversation all the time about less malicious but equally tragic things like childhood cancer, the unexpected death of a spouse of a childhood friend I haven’t talked to in years, that kind of stuff.
    I know it can be a good way for people to communicate and support one another, but sometimes I think I’d be happier in a less-connected “bubble.” I don’t know. It’s hard. Our hearts are not meant to hold the pain of the whole world. Your small circle’s troubles are enough. I don’t think it’s good for us mentally.
    But yay for baking and cute kids and NPR online. 🙂 I am trying to focus on some happy, too. And this post has encouraged me to delete the FB app from my phone for now.

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