Outrage is all the rage:

I’ve noticed something happening over the past few years. Outrage is in style. I should have noticed it sooner then this year, the viral “what are ya’ll mad about today” tweet that made its rounds everyday, opinion pieces losing their journalistic standards and gaining more explanation points, people creating anonymous accounts just to leave untraceable slurs. I was blind to it though, because I was busy being angry like everyone else. The end of that started when I detoxed my social media six months ago, but really, me deleting that only opened my eyes to how much anger there was, and how much people enjoy being enraged.

When I deleted all the politics and anger from my feeds I noticed that I had problems checking the accounts I had unfollowed. It wasn’t because I was uninformed, I was still keeping up with the news by following sites that reported facts without the slant. It was because I missed the raging opinions. I missed the hot takes.

I thought I missed the passion.

It’s a really interesting situation, being enthralled in anger makes us feel like we’re doing something about the issue, even if we’re just ranting online or to friends who in turn rant back, but in reality all we’re doing is stoking fires that burn out of control.

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I blocked all toxic media from my feeds and its almost left them blank: A social media realization.

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The original title for this post was why I left Twitter, but I ended up not leaving it for good. So what have I done? I’ve muted all slurs, all dramatic accounts, all political buzz words, all political accounts, all accounts that spew hate. I deleted them all from my Twitter feed. I downloaded a news app called Smart News to get actual articles instead of hot and angry takes. I had already blocked this all from my Facebook and Tumblr accounts.

And it’s made them completely bare of content. The amount of posts on my feed is alarming. I didn’t realize the amount of negative and toxic hot takes I was taking in a day. It was most of my media intake. I was feeding on toxins. Posts from publications I like have been removed because of muted words. I’ve lost entire accounts. My twitter feed is so dead that I don’t feel the need to check it that often.

So, I did the same thing with my youtube account. I cleared out my watched history and liked videos. I just removed all of the angry and toxic media I was consuming.

And with it gone I find myself wanting to read and create more, because I had to find new things to consume. Trying to find accounts without toxins seems to be impossible on Twitter and Facebook. Instagram and Tumblr I’ve managed fairly well. But it’s had me thinking about what kind of content needs to be put out and along with that what kind of content should we be reading. I’ve talked about this before but the serious lack of that content is becoming disturbing.

We live in a world that thrives on differences, divides, and drama. How do we go about correcting that? How do we counter it in what we’re creating?

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Keeping Ourselves from Overdosing on Politics in our Daily Lives.

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It’s been a crazy year politically, but it’s been a crazy year for my view of politics also.

I went to small private college that was very political. Every class was political, every time someone raised their hands it was political. I was overdosing, so to deal with it I drew a firm line in the sand and stated that I didn’t care about politics. And I didn’t, I kept it up all four years. I only voted my freshman year for president and didn’t talk about politics or read about them. I blocked them out of my life everywhere but the classroom, and then rolled my eyes at how people couldn’t seem to talk about anything without them.

Then I graduated and I was no longer overdosing, because people don’t actually talk about politics all the time in the real world. People talk more about boyfriends, buying houses, sports, music. The topic would come up, I started caring a little more about the issues, because it was something you could debate, then close and move onto something else.┬áIt was nice. I felt at peace with it.

Then the 2016 election happened and ever since everyone has gone back to talking about politics 24/7 like I was in a classroom again. The issues come up more in real life, people debate more, and they get much angrier than before. And online? Online has become a toxic graveyard where people only seem to want to talk politics. The “talks” aren’t even that, they’re screaming matches, spattered with insults. Nobody can seem to agree to disagree and no one can seem to scroll or walk by something they dislike without commenting on it.

It’s dangerous surrounding yourself with that kind of content all the time, whether online or off. When people are hostile you get hostile. When faced with extremes our own opinions often become more extreme. We start to get to the point we can’t disconnect anything from politics.

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You’re a person, you don’t have to stay on brand all the time.

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In this social media world we live in it’s easy to get caught up in our aesthetic. I don’t think that word was a part of my everyday vocabulary until about two or three years ago. In some ways it’s wonderful to be able to express exactly what you like so easily. It’s nice being able to control what kind of vibes you let off into the world.

But, this shift in how we’re presenting ourselves has lead us to keeping certain parts of ourselves ‘offline’ or just generally ‘out of sight’. I know I’ve faced this myself, having a great memory or picture but not wanting to post it because it doesn’t fit with my Instagram feed. Or even offline, finding a dress I really like and would wear but not buying it because I don’t know if it really meshes with my style.

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Our electronics are getting smarter. Are we?

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I keep thinking about how I need to be spending less time online, because I’m not only spending my free time sucked into a device, but I’m also doing it at work now. I’ll unplug briefly while on the horse or at dinner with a friend, but I feel like the only time I’m truly 100% unplugged is when I’m asleep and that is terrifying.

I’ve read a lot of posts and articles on smartphone addiction and every time I do I feel great proudly announcing that I’m not addicted to my phone, because in fact, I actually forget my phone and don’t have it on me all that often. But here’s the hitch, and it’s a really big one, I’m addicted to my laptop, so it really doesn’t matter whether I have my phone or not. Obviously with a laptop I’m only drawn to it when I’m at home. When I’m out of the house I don’t think about checking anything or tweeting out, but the moment I step through my front door I feel a gravitational pull towards it.

I’ve fallen into a routine of checking certain sites for updates, and listening to lectures and podcasts while I do it so I feel productive. I’m not being productive. I’m feeding myself the exact same type of information every single day. It’s become completely mindless.

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Six of my favorite Instagram accounts:

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Consider this a follow Friday on a Thursday! I’ve never been very good with keeping up with the appropriate time to use a hashtag. I’m known to #tbt on a Monday.

I did a post on blogs you should follow a while back, so I wanted to do one that include five of my favorite Instagram accounts so everyone on her could go check them out! The sixth is mine, because I’m shamelessly self promoting.

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The Dangers in Media Consumption:

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While I’ve been sick I’ve been spending a lot of time online. I’ve been checking out all corners of the internet. I’ve read deep into both sides of politics, I’ve read about science, and I’ve watched some teen YouTube stars. When you dive into each of these universes it’s a bit like falling down a rabbit hole. You get consumed by it for the few hours your online.

What we don’t think about that much is what it does to us when we log off. Certain ideas stick with us and we’re not blind to them, but what we tend to miss is the fact that our mental vocabulary changes to meet what we’ve been consuming. The ideas overcome us.

A good example of this was when I was reading extreme feminist Twitter accounts. A few days after I was in my car and this song came on and I thought “this song is really good and so emotional, how is it even written by a man?” It took me back because I couldn’t believe what I just thought. I had been reading about emotionless men and “toxic masculinity” that I accidentally started to internalize it. There is no reason for me to think of men this way. All the men I’ve been in relationships with have shown emotions to me and their masculinity never was toxic. I actually enjoy masculine traits in men. I knew men could be emotional, so why had I forgotten it? Continue reading