The volume on the “drama” player has never been turned up higher. In fact, the sound can be deafening. When it comes to turning down the sound, many of us feel powerless. But I don’t think that is the case. We are not powerless. I think we each have a lot to say about the volume of the drama we invite into our lives.
I fully realize in a troubled world populated with humans, many of whom have both television and internet access, there is going to be SOME drama. I get that. What hurts my ears is perpetual drama, recreational drama; drama as entertainment and drama evangelists. Especially those who broadcast drama at excruciatingly high levels simply because there is good money in it or personal attention to be gained by it.
Here are six suggestions on how to decrease the volume of some of the very real drama blaring in your virtual life.
1) UNPLUG If you truly were happier before social media took over the world, disconnect from it. Deactivate your account and be done with it. I assure you the cyber world will not miss you (or me) but you may be healthier without it.
2) UNSUBSCRIBE Don’t be afraid to use the “unfriend,” “unfollow” or “unsubscribe” options. Cyber “friendships” end quite painlessly and “unfriending” a person who blows your eardrums with every post will actually be much better for your real life relationship (if you actually have one). There are LOTS of people I liked better before I knew their every thought. And if they notice you “unfriended” them and ask why, tell them the truth with all kindness. Many people don’t have strong “self-awareness” and this honest conversation could be the best thing that ever happened to them.
3) TAKE CARE Be careful with what you post. Some people post stuff that is sure to cause a firestorm and honestly can’t figure out what caused the explosion. If you aren’t sure you should post something, don’t. If you can’t take it, don’t give it and if you don’t want it, don’t ask for it. Also if you don’t want people in your business, don’t hang your dirty laundry in front of their house.
4) ADOPT A MISSION STATEMENT Develop a mission statement for your social media use. “To keep up with friends and family” or to “Help spread light and love” would be two examples. And then stay on mission. Don’t get drawn into religious arguments, political scrums, relational drama or debates you don’t want to enter. My mission is “to celebrate the joy of authentic Christian living.” Faith, music, art, sports, history and culture all support this mission; criticism, party line politics, rancorous debate, personal pontifications and dogmatic diatribes do not.
5) STAY POSITIVE Post the kind of stuff you wish others would post. It becomes a “Social Media Golden Rule.” I want to keep it positive and have a good time while I am at it.
6) ASSOCIATE FRUSTRATION WITH SILENCE Exactly. You don’t always have to comment. Especially when you are mad. If you are upset by something, you probably shouldn’t respond…not right then anyway. Reacting out of anger only turns up the noise…
Social media offers some real opportunities to enhance or detract from the quality of your life. Facing it honestly, intentionally and with a mission will make sure what you hoped would be a blessing doesn’t turn into a curse.
-Rev. Shane L. Bishop, A Distinguished Evangelist of the United Methodist Church, has been the Sr. Pastor of Christ Church in Fairview Heights, Illinois USA for 20 years.