When Social Media Makes You Crazy
Propaganda Is Affecting Our Mood
Most of us use one or more social media platforms. They are one of our greatest means of connecting with family, friends, and current events, but unfortunately they are also turning out to be one of our greatest sources of misinformation and stress.
Facebook and Twitter have become a hotbed of propaganda games, troll behaviour, and memes that proudly boast mistruths. Whether you find that these posts suit your agenda or not, the effect is the same, they are a trigger for stress.
The current state of social media is problematic because it enables bullying and cruel behaviour to spill into our attitudes and actions. To some, this moral misbehaviour has become the norm and the stress of it is showing.
Not Everything You Read is True
Much of the current social media misinformation and bully behaviour seems to have arrived in alongside the propaganda that ran rampant within the Trump vs Clinton U.S. election campaign. Unfortunately rather than receding once the election was complete it continued and in some cases even increased in its intensity.
Emotionally speaking life has always consisted of a series of ups and downs but recently things have definitely gotten out of control. We are slowly being brainwashed into an acceptance of moral conduct that runs counter to everything we were taught as proper and just.
My final straw came earlier this week when a friend of mine posted a political propaganda meme that had been previously proven as a false statement. I called her out on it and she calmly responded, "I know but I don't like him."
I was stunned. You know it is a lie but you are going to promote the slander regardless of its misinformation? Honesty, morality, and human rights are not factored into that action which means that something has definitely gone horribly wrong in our moral acceptance of fact versus fiction. I am at a complete loss as to understand when this conduct became acceptable behaviour.
Now one might think that this spreading of misinformation would bring stress only to those who are on the receiving end but it turns out that even those sharing these fallacies are finding their emotions altered as well. Sadness, delight, anger, hurt, and guilt are emotions triggered as we view or post the messages designed to influence us. Odds are that if you are seeing any type of online propaganda that its negative messaging is affecting your mood.
Has Social Media Messaging Negatively Affected Your Mood
Has a Post by Someone on Facebook Made You Feel Uncomfortable?
The Solution is Simple - Don't Share Negative Messaging
The solution is quite simple. Don't play the propaganda game. Don't share questionable material and report misinformation when you discover it. Fact check with reputable sources before you share.
- Use a minimum of 3 reputable sources to fact check information.
- Is the message an opinion or a fact? Opinion is more open to interpretation and thus more likely to be misconstrued.
- Is the message accurate?
- Is the message misrepresented to suit a specific viewpoint or agenda?
- Are additional facts missing that could change the meaning of the information being presented?
- What does the writer have to gain from the sharing of this information?
If the message is slanderous or an attempt to bully or belittle another person than it is a negative message and one that may be nothing more than hurtful propaganda. You can help to stop the spread of misinformation by reporting questionable posts or by simply choosing not to share negative or hurtful propaganda.
Photos, videos, articles, and memes are all common ways of sharing information on social media and you have the power to control the things you elect to share. Delete the item rather than sharing it.
- Who will this message affect?
- How will sharing this message affect those involved?
- What is your purpose in sharing this message?
If you are sharing a post with the sole intention of hurting someone then perhaps this is a message that should not be shared.
Moving Away From a Negative Social Media Experience
Life can get a little confusing at times and there are issues we are exposed to that can get more than a wee bit controversial. These events and occasions can spark deep emotions and this is when we are more likely to discuss or lean on others for their support.
Now that social media is a major part of our lives these are also times when it can be quite easy for us to be led into the sharing of propaganda messaging. Negative online feeds are a relatively new phenomenon and one that we may not necessarily be emotionally equipped to deal with.
Much of this propaganda sharing is a form of bullying behaviour and something we were taught early in life is not acceptable. Hiding behind our keyboard does not make it acceptable now. Putting someone down, shaming them, sharing misinformation, untruths, or slanderous comments may seem relatively harmless but it is not.
Negative messages will not only affect those who we share this information about and with but it will also likely have a profound affect on our emotion and personality. If we are surrounded by negative emotion on a regular basis it can and will affect our mood.
This constant feed and sharing of propaganda can cause us to become angrier, more fearful, and increasingly pessimistic concerning other areas of life. It can also bring with it a feeling of helplessness, depression, and perhaps even guilt for the sharing of information that we know to be untrue or potentially harmful. It affects emotional well being and alters our moral standards and behaviour.
Do we really want to allow ourselves to be controlled like that? We teach our children not to be bullies yet we are allowing ourselves to be molded into one.
On the reverse side of the coin if we choose to surround ourselves with positive messaging then you will generally become a happier, more optimistic, and kinder person. Viewing and sharing happy positive messaging on social media will affect how we interact with those we associate with on a daily basis. It can be a real mood changer.
We are What we Create
If You are on Social Media You Have Likely Seen Many Posts
Have You Shared a Message You Knew was Propaganda?
Share a More Positive Message
Become part of the change. Propaganda and troll behaviour have become an almost acceptable aspect of our current lifestyle but we don't have to allow it to remain as such. We can reverse its acceptability. There are better ways to share on social media than getting involved in the propaganda game.
At times it can be difficult not to hit the share button on Facebook or Twitter but breaking away from negative posting can help improve our mood and the attitude of others. Alike any bad habit we attempt to break it may take time and a few setbacks to remove ourselves from the situation but it can be done. It is simply a matter of retraining our thinking and our actions. When we surround ourself with positive messaging we become a more positive person.
No act of kindness goes unnoticed so get noticed in a way that benefits yourself and those you interact with. Compliment someone, post a heart warming story, or share a humorous quip, cartoon, or story. Share acts of kindness and positive messages.
Keep a camera handy to take photos to share. There are many places and events that others would love to see and we can bring our little corner of the world to their doorstep through our social media posts.
Questions & Answers
© 2018 Lorelei Cohen