Balancing our Feeds: We’re not meant to take in world changing information all the time

A few years ago I got rid of all political news from my feeds. I still have a lot of it blocked, because it did good things for my mental health, but I let some of it back in because I wanted to be aware of what has happening in the world. I think this was a good call. I like having some knowledge without being knocked out by it. And you do get knocked out by it.

I don’t think it’s healthy to read all the tragedies of the world 24/7. That sounds like common sense, but sometimes I worry that it’s not. Sometimes I worry that people have built being hyper aware into their personalities. And if not their personalities, into their routines.

This is one of the reasons I think it’s important to follow accounts that post art, that post family updates, cleaning tips, garden inspiration, fashion goals, and all those types of things. And when I say follow those types of accounts, I mean mostly follow those types of accounts and people. Follow way more of those accounts than news accounts. Surround yourself with the good and let in a trickle of the bad.

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Your social bubble doesn’t always reflect real life:

I’ve talked about the danger of falling down internet rabbit holes before, about how being hit on every side by really strong opinions can rewrite your thought patterns. It’s not just online though, it’s also in real life. I don’t seem to struggle with it as much in real life as I do online, but that’s only thanks to having a very interesting and complex mix of friends. But many people don’t get that variety, they hang out with their core group and they bounce all their ideas off of that core group.

This is especially true for students, even more so for college students. You find yourself completely ingulfed in your social bubble and therefore don’t venture far from that familiar comfort. There’s nothing wrong with being comfortable in your social circle and finding joy with like minds, it’s just when people from outside those like minds start feeling like others. It’s when you don’t understand how anyone could have a different viewpoint or opinion on something that it seems like everyone you know holds. It’s when you can’t understand how people form other behaviors than how your group acts in social settings.

It’s when we get tunnel vision because everything outside our normal feels abnormal, even when the actual population is split 50/50 on how to approach a problem.

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Lurking: The addiction to online subcultures

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Hello, you might remember over the past two years I blocked all politics from my social media only to add them back in moderation a year and a half later, I added them back in slowly and with a lot of cation. I only allowed certain people back into my space, and that’s because before hand, I became completely consumed in the Twitter subculture surrounding my political party.

And yikes, did it rewire my brain.

I don’t think we talk enough about what the sub-cultures can do, and not just the political ones but the intense niche interests ones as well. Fans become toxic online, which is why I’ve always warned against becoming a “stan”. These cultures are completely addictive. We like to say that we are just addicted to the site. “Oh, I’m addicted to Twitter” sounds a lot better than “I’ve addicted to a small community with extreme views on sexual kinks”. I’ve never fallen into one of those communities, but I know they’re there and have force online.

They’re all over the place, extreme little groups that have very strong opinions on everything from religious extremists to complete anarchists. They are all there, and they are all trying to take root in your brain.

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High horses: Lets talk about pride

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I did a post on gluttony a while back about how it often felt like the forgotten sin. I still think that, but I’m starting to think there might be one even more overlooked..

Pride.

Pride comes in a lot of forms, but the one I mainly want to talk about is the view of moral superiority. It’s rampant and we’re all guilty of it at sometimes, but I feel like it’s taking over the internet by storm.

People can talk about Instagram and envy till the cows come home, but I want to talk about people shaming others, blasting others, and pushing themselves up by pushing others down. It’s a school yard trick that’s gotten a much bigger audience with social media. It’s the constant “Actually you’re wrong and I can tell you why, because I’m right” not about one topic or two topics, but every topic all the time. Our views are firm, unmoving, and only the people who agree with us are worth listening too.

And for the record, I’m not just talking about politics. I’m talking about everything from people arguing the best way to feed a baby to the best way to teach a English class. Our views are viewed as the supreme in all subjects, and we’re willing to fight to the death about it. It’s not necessarily a new cultural shift, but it’s something we need to talk about because it’s starting to seep into every aspect of our lives.

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Over a year without politics on my social media: Where I stand now.

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I made a few posts about cutting out the toxin that is social media politics. (x, x) People get bitter, mean, and downright nasty when it comes to politics, and when you take away the face to face aspect they get much, much worse. I went down a rabbit hole at the beginning of my Lyme Disease sickness and learned everything there was to know about the political situations of that time. I knew everything and I was always… mad, angry, hurt, judgmental. I was getting emotions that I didn’t like, and they weren’t all from the actual politics, but mostly the people talking about them, and how they were doing it.

So I blocked it all. I took out the trash. I don’t follow most my Facebook friends. I muted almost every political word on Twitter. At first it felt a little empty, because I had gotten so used to all the yelling, but then, it became wonderful. I started following people who had the same hobbies as me. I started branching out. Then suddenly the places that were filled with anger were suddenly filled with joy.

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Hypocrites calling each other hypocrites:

 

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I’ve started this post at least ten times and every time it ends up being deleted and the title alone sits in my drafts folder. Why? Because it’s something everyone already knows. Of course you’re a hypocrite. Of course I am. We all are.

It’s a fact we call people out on a lot. We like to tell people when they are being hypocritical, and most of the time it’s friendly. It’s just calling out when the pot is calling¬† the kettle black. It’s easy to laugh about. We all have small moments between friends that makes everyone roll their eyes and laugh. But sometimes the topics are more sensitive and hypocritical moments are met with hard backlash and shame. I’m not saying that that’s wrong. People need to be told when they are doing things they say others shouldn’t. We shouldn’t be the exceptions to our own rules. But with the rise of people digging into old social media posts to call us out on our hypocritical moments, it leads one to wonder, where’s the line?

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Keeping things in mind: Everything online is dramatized.

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The internet is a intense place, I don’t think anyone would argue that. You get the perfectly curated views of life and you get anger and intense viewpoints.

There hardly seems to be anything else.

Mid-way views, deep rational thinking, and realistic images are hard to find, but we’ve become numb to the fact that they’re missing. We’re feeding on that content and nothing else. It seems to go over our head that the internet is completely dramatized. The politics are more intense. The tragedies are expanded upon.¬†Conspiracy theories are fed. And perfect lives are staged for praise.

We fall down rabbit holes and don’t realize that the internet is changing our views, but even more so, we don’t seem to realize that the rabbit holes we’re in don’t reflect real life. The internet will make you believe that the world is falling apart, but it’s not. If we go outside we can see that opposite sides come together in hard times and are polite to each other in the grocery store check out. We can also see that those who have perfectly frames lives are still chasing their screaming kids around and getting frizzy hair in the rain. We realize that the front we’ve been seeing, both the good and the bad, are completely overblown.

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Anger and outrage and crying wolf:

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Anger and outrage are really strong emotions, anyone who has ever scrolled down their Facebook feed would probably agree. People have a lot of feelings and emotions and they want them heard. There is nothing wrong with sharing your opinions or emotions, but what is the key to having them be heard?

It’s not overusing anger and outrage as tools. If you’re angry all the time people don’t take your anger seriously. If you’re outraged all the time people don’t take your outrage seriously. It’s the emotional version of “the boy who cried wolf”.

That’s not to say that there isn’t enough terrible things happening in the world for you to be outraged or angry about. The world is full of terrible things, that’s not in question, but how much you choose to focus on them and how much you get upset about the not so important things really sets you up for screaming into the void.

The void doesn’t care what you think, nor does anyone else who is also screaming into the void.

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