Information Overload - Becoming Aware of your Usage
In the last post, we discussed the importance of turning social media/news off and stepping away for a while. Prior to that, we discussed some general tips on how to differentiate between some reliable sources and some that are not great sources of information.
Now, I'd like to go further into HOW exactly we can stop 'information overload' from occurring to us, occupying our brains and lives, and becoming overwhelmed with all the news/stories around us.
The first step - like any habit that we would like (or need to!) change - is awareness. You need to step back and take a thorough - and honest - look at your social media consumption and usage. One way to do this is to think abut your day: how much time do you spend scrolling on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.? How much time do you spend reading or listening to the news through various sources?
I know this sounds funny to some people, as they may feel that they don't spend 'dedicated' time to these activities. For example, not many people have a 'Facebook time' allocated in their day...they just open it whenever they want to or feel like it. For some, it becomes a 'default' to click on the Instagram icon when they are bored, to snap a picture of something and hit 'post', etc.
Now think about this: what do you use these for? Of course, we use social media to connect to people, to share parts of our lives, and to learn about others. We feel connected with people in this way, less alone, and sometimes we even learn new things (ex. what is happening around the world today, latest evidence, etc.). But sometimes, we need to question further than this. Is your use of social media always NECESSARY and/or HELPFUL?
Sure, connecting to others is critical. Especially at a time as now where we are still needing to practice social distancing because of COVID-19. But, even this needs to be questioned a bit deeper. Do you feel MORE or LESS connected to people when you are simply scrolling through your newsfeed on Facebook or Instagram stories? Does looking at people's pictures and posts cause you joy, or does it force you to compare yourself to them?
When you read the news, do you feel more informed? Or do you feel more confused and conflicted because of multiple sources of information? Do you feel that you are hearing unbiased stories, or do you feel that the station/reporter is giving a one-sided story? Do you think about what you are hearing or reading, or do you take things by face-value?