Three ideas to end the social media poison

social media poison

By Mars Dorian, {grow} Contributing Columnist

Divisive politics span across the globe, robotization threatens to replace millions of workers, geo-conflicts throw people at each other.

The future seems so uncertain. The present seems so … harsh.

Flipping through your favorite news channels is starting to look like the billboard chart of nightmares. But as the Chinese symbol for crisis consists of “danger” and “opportunity,” we can use these uncertain times to help our online businesses and others in the process. I’ve listed three tips to make 2017 our best (online) year ever, despite the ever-present poison.

1) Guard your attention

I recently talked to a friend who had previously toiled away in the European finance sector. During years of manic 70+ hour weeks, his health took a deep dive. Damaged by the stress, he ended up in a hospital and was forced to consider the arc of his life. With a refreshed mind, he decided to escape the rat race.

My buddy’s now a digital nomad and independent finance coach dedicated to being productive while keeping his mind and body fit. He’s accomplishing more than ever, but works smarter and more joyfully now. I am asked him how he was so happy with all the toxicity in the world. This is what he told me:

“First of all, I stopped watching the news. I quit all the subscriptions to newspapers that worried more about click-bait articles than actually informing me. So divorce yourself from any content that doesn’t support you on the mental or physical level you wish for.”

He’s also divided his time into smart consumption (30%) ) and creation chunks (70%).

  • Smart consumption: Only consume content that teaches new skills or entertains in an uplifting way, like an explanatory YouTube videos or stress-relieving Hollywood movies.
  • Creation: Timed periods (about 25 minutes a session, with little 5 minute breaks in-between) that is focused creation and NO access to the web. He used an app called Freedom, which allows you to block websites for the duration of your work.

Attention is one of the rarest goods in our busy online world right now. Choose wisely!.

2) Lead or join offline groups

Many years ago, I Skyped with fellow online blogging newbie Scott Dinsmore. We talked about strategies to create revolutionary content and make our baby websites grow up. He created a little website called “Live Your Legend” which blew up and become a global movement.

Unfortunately, in September of 2015, Scott died during an African holiday adventure, but his spirit lives on, even in my hometown of Berlin.

Last week, I visited a Live Your Legend meet-up near my home. Americans, Portuguese, Hungarians, Germans, and Israelis attended to help each other turn ideas into viable products. I made tons of useful contacts and also helped connect people with each other. This little meet-up showed me how many similarities we have, if we choose to work together.

Next, I joined an LitRPG online group and became heavily involved. LitRPG is a sub-genre of sci-fi and fantasy — think “Matrix” meets “Lord of the Rings” but with video game mechanics. This sub-niche is full of passionate fans, eager to consume every book out there. Since I’m writing a couple of LitRPG books right now and love the space, I participate in the ravings and share relevant content.

Lesson: Meeting people in REAL LIFE, learning, and collaborating is the best way to get energized and get your mind out of the Internet black hole. These new connections are igniting my creativity, opening up new opportunities, and expanding my mind.

3) Create unifying content

I consume an unhealthy amount of videos, ebooks, and blog posts, and I’ve noticed the online space has become more hostile than ever. Both in the US and in Europe, people get derided for being in the wrong political camp, enabling a hostile “you’re with me or against me” mindset.

The situation is so bad that we are starting to see political messages where there aren’t any. We endlessly debate soda commercials and their political ramifications. And Lady Gaga gets criticized for NOT making a political message during her Super Bowl performance. Perhaps we are at a point where we even expect an entertaining song and dance performance to be toxic and become angry if it’s not!

Everybody just seems to be throwing random punches in the air. The web feels like a Beat ‘Em Up video game where the other party needs to get defeated at all costs.

The question is — what is in your control here? What kind of messages are you putting out?

Not too long ago, I was working on a sci-fi book with heavy political leanings. I made a point in my writing to vilify a certain group of people. But I trashed the draft when I asked myself: Is this work bringing people together or splitting them apart? I was becoming part of the problem.

I don’t want to add more poison to the world and I am making a choice to help unify instead of divide.

Every statement we make on the web is content that can potentially unify or divide. Many people are profiting from dividing people. I don’t want to support that any more and, in fact, I want to do my part to create a different experience on the web.

Even with the poison all around me, I’m committed to making 2017 the most positive year ever.

mars dorianMars Dorian draws funky illustrations and pens sci-fi thrillers for the Internet Generation. His latest novel is available on Amazon for just $2.99! Consider his artwork for your next project: http://www.marsdorian.com

Original illustration by the author.

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