10 resolutions put forth by L.L. Barkat at Tweetspeak Poetry, as part of a movement called “Citizens for a Saner Internet—and Life.” Consider me one such citizen; want to join me?
1. Consider sharing three beautiful posts for every negative post we feel we must share.
2. Share angry posts only if they significantly contribute to an important conversation.
3. Understand anger as important, a red flag type emotion, that loses its strength if all we ever do is feel angry.
4. Write headlines that are intelligent, witty, or intriguing without exhausting our readers by frequently playing the “outrage card” to get click-throughs.
5. If we feel we want to listen to an angry Internet conversation for what it may be able to teach us about a subject, we resolve to do so silently for a “waiting period,” in a stance of learning rather than one of defense and counterattack.
6. We will not link to attack journalism from our websites, so as not to give more power to the writer or website of said journalism. Related, we will not link to or re-share iterative journalism, which is a sloppy form of journalism designed to deliver a “scoop” that may have no foundation yet in truth.
7. Consider ways to move beyond the “page view model” of Internet sustainability (which is one reason attack or sensationalist journalism is often pursued by individuals and websites, because it can result in high page views, which can translate into staying financially sustainable).
8. Get offline for periods of rest—optimally, one offline day a week and getting offline by a certain cutoff time in the evenings—and use this time to cultivate face-to-face relationships, read, exercise, or otherwise interact with the world around us.
9. If we are unsure about our own angry or sensationalistic post on a subject, we will first pass the post by trusted friends who come from different viewpoints, in a more private setting, before deciding whether to hit the publish button.
10. If we have been online for hours and are finally simply “surfing” because we feel lonely or unfocused, we will get offline and spend time with people face-to-face, read, exercise, play, or delve deeply into a new interest area—one that will seriously challenge us and open up new avenues for our learning and our lives.
Sometimes, anger isn’t as much the issue (for me) as feeling buffeted by the concerns, egos, and ambitions that can be baked into social media interaction—where our moods and attitudes can be influenced who’s following, liking, responding, or connecting … or by who’s getting recognition or not … or by who’s agreeing or participating or not. Getting stuck in that thought pattern is a sure sign you’ve lost focus and probably control over what you’re trying to accomplish.
Personally, I have a bigger problem dealing with email distractions than social media distractions, something I’m working on. The allure of the internet is often difficult to ignore, but at least I fight against it. That’s got to be worth something.
For more thoughtful reading on this topic:
• Baratunde Thurston Left the Internet for 25 Days, and You Should, Too by Baratunde Thurston
• I’m Still Here: Back Online After a Year Without the Internet by Paul Miller
• Stop Talking. Start Doing by Jonathan Fields