This morning, like almost every morning since Steve Jobs unleashed his creation on the world, I woke up, stretched, and looked at my phone. But I wasn’t alone…
Ha, no. Scarlett Johansson wasn’t there (usually only on Tuesdays). You were there, though. Yes, many of you were right there with me, in a way. A recent study found that 2/3 of Americans look at their phones within 15 minutes of waking up. And for any holier-than-thou folks thinking, “Not meeeee…”, well you can save it. The same study showed most of you checked yours within 30.
For me, it’s Twitter, mainly because the news spreads fast and bad news spreads faster. I check if there’s been a terrorist attack somewhere. Then I scroll to see if North Korea finally launched a missile at something besides the Sea of Japan. Keep going a little more, and I find out who President Trump’s picked a fight with today.
Like him or not, the guy just can’t help himself in this department. I honestly think he gets bored on the shitter and rolls dice over what to tweet:
-“I always thought Britney and Justin should’ve stayed together. As a power couple, they could’ve been YUUUGE.”
-“Dear Senator ____________. You have A LOT of nose hair and your trousers are too long. It makes you look poor, like the rest of your state. Please KYS”
-“Hey, India. Your country smells funny and your spices give me the runs. Forget about a Trump Calcutta Golf Club. Also, cows are food. And delicious.”
I’m sure his handlers try their best to hide his phone. But like a teenage boy who just discovered Uncle Gary’s bathroom closet Playboy collection, he sneaks off ten times a day because his “stomach’s messed up.”
So, as you can see, by the time I get out of bed I’m halfway to a bad mood and I haven’t even stepped on the scale yet. Why do I do it? Habit. And it’s one I need to break.
It got me thinking. Each day, I willfully and purposefully expose my brain to negative thoughts, vibes, or whatever you want to call them. If Twitter had an aura, 99% of the time it would be a foul-smelling, black, tarry substance…something you’d expect to find under the toilet seats in Hell.
Facebook isn’t much better. Right beneath a thin layer of cat memes, birthday wishes, and lifehacks, there’s a river of poison. Don’t believe me?
Go to Facebook. If you don’t do Facebook go to Twitter, or Reddit, or GayCornFarmers.com. Hell I don’t care, just pick one.
Now scroll to something that’s been controversial lately and has a lot of hits. If you’re drawing a blank, here are three: NFL protests. Immigration. Antifa/White Supremacists. Click a post. Read the comment string.
How do ya’ feel now? Still think we don’t have deep-rooted differences in this country?
But is social media really to blame? After all, at it’s core it’s half window and half mirror. If we don’t like what we see, we’re the only ones who can fix it.
Here are three ways I think will help start the day on a more positive note.
Be Your Own Gatekeeper
Do you have friends or followers whose posts put you in a bad mood or make you want to Hulk-Smash something? CLEAN HOUSE! You don’t have to unfriend them or drop/block/set them on fire. Just un-follow them (hides them from your newsfeed). Twitter lets you mute people. Do it!
Yeah, I said it. Because some on social media always seem to be looking for a fight. It’s shocking what people will say to others, often to people they don’t even know! And double down on the venom if there’s a level of anonymity to hide behind (I’m looking at you, Twitter). But isn’t funny how fast internet trolls walk things back or apologize profusely when their identities get discovered? All of a sudden, they’re sorry their words hurt people. Can they have their jobs back now?
Others are always trying to stir shit up. They just can’t help themselves. Tweeting and retweeting and @’ing accounts that have big followings, trying to push things to go viral that sometimes should stay between two people. If you’re reporting a crime, no problem. But if you find out your mixed-race couple neighbors ate lunch where the White wife wanted to instead of the Latino hubby, that doesn’t make it white privilege! Maybe she just REALLY wanted Subway! So grab a footlong and a drink and STFU!
I’ve already done a post on why we should put phones down for social reasons. If you want, you can read it here: https://haynestown.com/2016/09/02/communication-fails-and-five-ways-to-get-better/ .
This suggestion is strictly for sanity and well being. The same study I mentioned earlier found Americans look at our collective phones 9 billion times a day (up 13% from 2015). 9 BILLION! That’s a lot of scrolling. Just put it down!
Don’t kill your own zen by getting sucked into arguments. Sure, fight the fights that need it, but stay out of the ones that don’t. Also, don’t “shit in someone’s chili” just to get a rise out of them. Yes, they may be ten states away but all that negative energy boils over somewhere down the line, and it usually isn’t pretty. Help make sure it isn’t coming to a mall near you. Or an elementary school. Or a concert.
I realize you can’t just buy the world a Coke and sing Kum Ba Yah, but you CAN make sure you’re not part of the problem. Social media is all of us, and the toxic behavior spreads like cancer. I’ll try my best not to be a part of it, and instead be part of the cure.
Below is a link to the study mentioned in this post. Thanks for reading!