What’s been known to the introverts, freelancers and homebodies for years is now becoming clear to the millions of people on lockdown to prevent the spread of Covid-19: the internet is a marvelous and powerful resource.
As people from all walks of life struggle to find sanity and a healthy routine under these unusual circumstances, social media seems to have come to the fore. For those in quarantine, ordinary ways of engaging with the world are suspended. Social media can be a lifesaver – or exacerbate the problem.
The 3 Worst Uses of Social Media
Some of us may be turning to an endless carousel of distracting screens to quell feelings of boredom and stress. But according to Arctic Shores, experts in cutting edge psychometrics, “many of us now get through more than seven hours (!) of unbroken daily screen time, and the unnatural blue light that screens emit can lead to headaches, blurred vision, and the imaginatively-named computer vision syndrome.” Glaring screens can damage our eyes, disrupt our sleep cycles, and cause us to slouch unnaturally in our seats.
Fear mongering content worsens mental health
The 24-hour news cycle channels emotionally-charged information at breakneck speed, often delivered at fever pitch, and with fear and rage the dominant themes behind many of the stories littering our Facebook feeds and Twitter pages. To say that the pandemic has caused a crisis of panic is an understatement. It’s quickly becoming evident that one of the worst ways to use social media right now is to stoke the flames of fear, anger or powerlessness. Self-regulation, patience, and a conscious choice about what we do and don’t engage with online is the only way to mitigate the high-stakes content that seemingly floods from our devices constantly.
While social media has frequently been accused of degrading human connections and worsening mental health, perhaps we can be most concerned about the ways that platforms like Facebook make it easy to disseminate wrong or even dangerous information. In times of panic and uncertainty, conspiracy theories, hoaxes and outright lies can capture the imagination and spread far quicker than any virus can.
The 3 Best Uses of Social Media
Staying connected to others
But the internet, for its amazing ability to lay bare humanity’s worst, also has a knack for allowing people to show just what’s possible when people connect with one another in earnestness and good faith. The pandemic has forced us all to closely consider how we depend on one another, and just how valuable our social connections are to our health, wellbeing and sense of purpose. Encouragingly, people are using social media to spread stories of hope, offer support to those in need, share valuable information, commiserate or merely lighten the mood with a joke.
There’s no doubt that the world of work is never going to be the same. While people have debated the possibility of large-scale remote work, the Corona virus pandemic has forced us to actually try it out. But other monumental changes to business-as-usual are afoot, too, particularly in the education sector. With the UK’s school-going population now staying at home, the internet is rising to the challenge to facilitate rapidly growing virtual communities for parents learning how to do homeschooling.
Fitness, cooking, hobbies, business…
It’s as though the early promise of the internet and social media is now being given fresh consideration. While it’s true that the perils of screen addiction and stress are as present as ever, many small businesses, entrepreneurs and individuals are deliberately considering the ways that the internet can be fully exploited for its power to actually enhance our lives. Many of us are spending more time at home now than we might have done in years, and the opportunities are exciting.
Online we can maintain our fitness through thousands of free YouTube videos, find an almost infinite number of recipes, access personal development materials that inspire us, learn a new skill or hobby, take an online course, promote our business remotely, connect with others across the globe, and share our creative vision.
If the Corona virus pandemic has done anything, it’s brought home the reality that we all, individually and collectively, have the opportunity now to choose how we want to live, going forward. The last two decades has shown us the less than flattering side of social media. In a post-virus world, it might be necessary to start seriously considering the ways that we can use this tool more responsibly.
Are you spending hours behind a screen during self isolation? Has the news made you anxious, hyper alert or uncertain about the future? Watersedge offers remote video counselling so you can receive support and guidance from home. To book an appointment, contact Colleen on 0434 337 245, Duncan on 0434 331 243 or Rachel on 0442 177 193 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how we can best help you, or press book now.