I had mixed feelings about taking a break from TV news. On the one hand it is good to declutter, and it felt freeing to remove from my purview the cantankerous talk and constant negativity. On the other hand, as a pastor I think I should stay informed, and felt a bit out of the loop.
I wonder how a constant stream of negative media affects our psyche. I realized only a few days into my “break” from watching the TV news how much more positive my view of the world became.
I’m starting to feel the same way about social media. I use Facebook as my social media hub, and find it an invaluable tool to connect with others. Yet in the wake of the election (and the last few weeks leading up to it) I found Facebook to be a source of constant noise: conspiracy theories, outrage, blame, insults and laments.
It might be time for a break. Or at the very least, a stepping back.
I was at a conference the first part of this week and stayed off social media while I was there. It was refreshing. The mood among colleagues was supportive, congenial and constructive. In a world of digital connections, face to face interaction may not be passé yet.
I think it is incredibly important in these days where so many people are hurting and feeling vulnerable that I (and we) don’t tune-out, hide and/or play it safe.
Yet at the same time I think the constant messaging of how bad everything is (and how bad everyone is) helps no one, and all the yelling – even in a digital format – may be detrimental to the help and support I (and we) hope to provide. I’ve got to stop clicking on everything.
So I am going to limit my social media work (especially Facebook) for a time. I’m not going away or running from the world. Quite the contrary. I’ll keep reflecting, creating and interacting and posting. But it is time to monitor amd evalualte the things I click on and what I “like.”
What may be needed most in this time amidst so much pain and struggle, is listening – ideally face to face – which may only be possible with less noise in the background. Then I (and we) can be more attentive to comfort, support and encourage those in our midst.