As of late, it’s virtually not possible to keep away from distressing information, however there are methods to no less than management your media weight loss program and minimize down on trolls, abusers, rip-off artists, and negativity on social media.
Controlling media is straightforward. Step away out of your TV or laptop. I used to look at an excessive amount of cable information and I nonetheless watch some, however I largely keep away from it today as a result of the fixed reiteration of unhappy information triggers me in ways in which simply improve my worry and anxieties with out offering me with actionable data.
I nonetheless go to numerous information websites throughout the day, watch one or two broadcast community information exhibits, and tip into cable programming, so I’m getting all of the information I would like with out drowning in it. I additionally attempt to tune into vital briefings by my very own governor and generally others and — if there’s a White Home briefing — I attempt to deal with what the specialists — not the politicians — are saying. If the president says something newsworthy, I’ll hear about it later.
I’m additionally making an attempt to chop down on my consumption of speaking heads on each the left and the proper. The fixed politicization of the COVID-19 disaster will not be making us safer. That’s to not say there aren’t vital tales about COVID-related insurance policies and laws, however I can kind my very own opinion with out having to hearken to each pundit from both or either side of the aisle. And, to the extent I do hearken to pundits, I attempt to stability them in order to not merely reinforce my very own opinion. Cable information makes it too straightforward to dwell in an ideological bubble, which isn’t good for our democracy and our shared sense of actuality.
Social media is much more of a blended bag than mainstream media as a result of — with a couple of exceptions — there aren’t any gatekeepers. Anybody — no matter what they know (or don’t know), how they assume or how loopy or false their concepts and data could also be, has a platform to share no matter they need. And this contains individuals or bots which have a political or monetary incentive to misinform, manipulate or agitate individuals.
Fortuitously, there are issues you are able to do to regulate your social media expertise, together with blocking and reporting instruments and methods to restrict what you see.
The primary instrument is identical one I apply to mainstream media. Restrict your publicity. It’s advantageous to spend a couple of minutes right here and there on Fb, Twitter or Instagram however — except you’re a breaking information journalist or another person who has an actual have to be in fixed contact, you don’t should spend your whole day tuned into social media.
I find out about “FOMO” (Worry of Lacking Out), however most of us can most likely profit from lacking out on no less than somewhat bit of data from time to time.
I do entry Fb and Twitter a number of instances a day, however I’ve turned off all notifications. I don’t want to listen to a beep or really feel a buzz from my telephone if somebody I do know has posted one thing — even when they’ve talked about me. If it’s vital, I’ll discover it quickly sufficient.
I additionally attempt to restrict the variety of individuals I observe on Twitter and my variety of pals on Fb, although, I admit I most likely observe greater than I ought to. The issue with following or friending too many individuals is that you just drown in data that might not be related. Each providers have methods to floor individuals which may be of upper curiosity, however you should still wind up a bit overwhelmed.
Fb permits you to prioritize who you need to hear from. If there’s somebody who’s posts are notably vital, you can also make them a “shut pal” and you’ll specify “see first” for his or her posts (you might have multiple particular person in your “see first” listing). If you wish to hear much less from them, you can also make them an “acquaintance,” and in the event you don’t need to hear from them or share with them, you possibly can unfriend them. It’s also possible to block them, which suggests they gained’t see any of your posts — even public ones — and you’ll report them in the event you consider they’ve completed one thing that violates Fb’s group requirements.
The way in which you configure your pal settings is barely totally different on the net and cellular however each require you to go to the pal’s profile. On the internet, you’ll see three bars on the backside proper of their profile image. The primary will most likely say “Pals,” however in the event you click on on it you possibly can examine Shut Pals, Acquaintances, Add to a different listing or unfriend them. Clicking add to a different listing brings up a number of choices, together with Restricted, which suggests you possibly can see their posts however they will solely see your public data (a strategy to hold the boss from realizing your private enterprise).
The subsequent bar to the proper most likely says “following” however in the event you click on on you could change it to See first, which just about ensures you’ll see what the put up. The subsequent bar is to ship the particular person a message and to the proper of that bar is three dots (specifying a menu). One of many menu objects is Block and one other permits you to report that particular person. The particular person is not going to be notified of any motion you’re taking however they could be capable of determine it out in the event that they all of the sudden cease seeing your posts.
Instagram has its personal instruments, together with the power to dam, which is able to stop that particular person from following you or seeing your content material. Once more, you begin that course of from the particular person’s profile the place you possibly can block or unblock an individual. If you happen to block somebody, their likes and feedback will probably be eliminated out of your photographs and movies however these feedback and likes gained’t be restored in the event you unblock them.
By default, Instagram posts are public, however you can also make your account non-public in order that solely individuals you approve can see your posts. Begin by clicking in your profile image on the underside proper, then click on the three-line menu within the prime proper and click on on the settings gear on the backside.
It’s also possible to report, block, or limit an individual from the menu on their profile. Prohibit means to dam their feedback in your posts from being seen by anybody besides them. That manner they gained’t know their feedback have been blocked except another person tells them.
Instagram, final week, launched a brand new function that permits you to handle a number of undesirable interactions directly. You possibly can block or limit as much as 25 accounts directly and you can even function posts which have optimistic feedback. I think about that the majority customers gained’t want these mass administration instruments, however they’ll be very helpful for influencers and people who find themselves being “dogpiled” by a gang of bullies.
Lastly, as one other strategy to counter negativity with positivity, Instagram simply launched “Guides,” which is a strategy to encourage creators to share optimistic or informative content material that may contribute to individuals’s well-being, particularly in these making an attempt instances.
Twitter has related instruments, together with the power to mute somebody in order that they’re not blocked however you don’t see their tweets. They’re not notified they usually can nonetheless see your tweets, nevertheless it’s a strategy to keep away from somebody who’s annoying, however not threatening. You possibly can mute, block, unfollow or report anybody by clicking on the down arrow to the proper of any of their tweets. It’s also possible to conceal replies to your tweets.
Twitter simply introduced that it’s testing (with a small group) a brand new function that permits you to management who can reply to a tweet. If that is applied extensively, it can enable customers to have a dialog solely with individuals they need to embody.
There are different security and privateness choices for all of those providers so, to study extra, examine their assist sections. Dad and mom may study retaining their youngsters protected on Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok and Roblox at ConnectSafely.org/QuickGuides.
Disclosure: Larry Magid is CEO of ConnectSafely.org, a non-profit web security group that receives assist from Fb and different corporations. He serves on each Twitter and Fb’s security advisory boards.
— to www.mercurynews.com