“Doctor, I Have a Furious Case of Social Media…”

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It’s hard to pinpoint precisely when it all started to go so horribly wrong.

When exactly did we become so aggressive when putting forward our side of a story? My block and mute buttons get more action than my alarm’s snooze button these days.

When was it that social media morphed from the free platform designed to give a voice to everyone into nothing more than a stinking den of unregulated nastiness? When did we suddenly become so defensive, feeling compelled to wade into arguments that were never going to be resolved, and more importantly, when did we allow negative energy to become our driving force?

Undoubtedly the anonymity of social media makes an awful lot of people so very much ‘braver’, but when did we lose our sense of propriety and respect for the opinions, the feelings, and the reputations of others?

When did it happen, and why did we let it?

It’s Not All Bad… Is it?

Social Media Manners

The sensible thing to do —as was suggested to me the other day— is to create a space with others that is deliberately some distance from all the gob-shitery.

My platform of choice has always been Twitter, and I’ve purposefully built personal areas that discuss gardening, wildlife and conservation issues. I love the serene, beautiful photographs; they remind me that our planet is all-important, not the fact that the BBC refuses to report why that damn Russian document isn’t being published by No. 10 just before an election. Surely that is important…???! A deliberate omission is nothing more than deception, isn’t it?

Ohhh… here I go again…

Blood pressure goes up.

I’m thumping on my beautiful MacBook keyboard instead of gently teasing the keys.

I’m looking out of the window, and yes, it’s bloody raining again.

I wander past my son’s bedroom. He hasn’t made his bed. Again. Jeez… What do I have to do to get through to that child??? Heaven help his future wife.

Let me get onto Twitter and search #TheRussiansAreCummings, I need to vent my spleen with people who are as furious as I am!

And Then The Penny Dropped...

Why are we so angry on social media

The fact that I’m not the only one who feels this way is comforting and reassuring. If others are getting as wound up as me, I feel better. It’s not just me. My rage is justified, and now that others are onboard with me, I’m going to drive this fury wagon onward and don’t get in my way because I may not be able to stop.

It’s. All. So. Much. Fun!!!

Heck, why be calm when you can be so outraged? Who would make a conscious decision to let our minds, bodies and souls be soothed when getting wound up is so much more enjoyable?

Of course I jest. None of us like it. Do we? So why do we let ourselves get dragged into it?

It makes no sense at all.

Why burst a blood vessel and use up a few hundred heartbeats on something that may have been whipped up by some purveyor of gob-shite just to … well, wind us up.

It’s taken me almost as long as time itself to realise that good news doesn’t sell. We flock to what horrifies, disgusts, infuriates, and scares us. It’s human nature to protect ourselves and our families, so we don’t really need to know about the fluffy stuff. Scare me rigid, please!

People are desperate to know why they should be outraged. That’s what they gravitate towards, and that’s what they’ll lap up like purring kittens.

The Bells, The Bells!

A few years ago I took a guided tour around Lincoln Cathedral, and discovered that churches were originally built to communicate once a week—on a Sunday— the news of the day to the locals.

Imagine that.

Imagine having no other means of finding out what was going on in the world other than the weekly trip down to St Jude’s. What on earth did these people do for fun, with no outrage on demand?

Jeez. They probably had to go out and live their lives.

Shock social media

Tension is good in movies, not everyday life

Every three weeks I put myself through the enduring agony of a sports massage, because– it may surprise you to know– I can get quite tense. And boy, do I get punished for it.

The net result of getting wound up as tight as a watch spring is: tension. Lots of it, in the form of nobbly little knots.

My physio Charlie will go straight to my shoulder blades and there they are. Ouch and double ouch.

The upside is that I’ll float out of the treatment room on a cloud of absolute relief, but deep down it feels like I’ve just paid an uncomfortable price for letting myself get sucked into what I can only describe as steaming piles of online excrement.

Tension and stress when left unchecked can ruin lives. And sometimes our favourite ways to relax can have the most damaging impact, alcohol and social media being some of the worst offenders.

We owe it to ourselves to start putting blocks in place to prevent this self-inflicted harm.

Life comes with built-in crap, we don’t need to add to it.

My top three rules to less stress and calmer days:

  1. No screen time during the first hour of waking
  2. Read more books!
  3. Spend at least two minutes a day (preferably five) with your eyes closed taking slow deep breaths. If you fall asleep you need to go to bed earlier 😉

And lastly, just chill out, man!

Here’s my one of my favourite quotes from the wonderful Joan Rivers:

“Listen. I wish I could tell you it gets better. But, it doesn't get better. You get better.”

Tiny Disclaimer: I’m not advocating total avoidance of the important conversations that must be had.

We should always have those chats.

Just have them with a cup of chamomile tea in your hand whist diffusing some luscious lavender oil in the background.

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