People have complained about information overload since, well, since there were people. And I suspect that before homo sapiens, cro magnon man (and woman!) were also complaining about too much change. Now that social media is here, change is happening faster than ever.
With the advent of social media, we can find out about our relatives’ health, life changes, and new pets instantaneously. And even if we don’t want to know, we hear about political opinions. By the way, here’s a fun piece about the latest election: Albert Einstein and the Menace of the November Election. Even on Instagram, which is the best place for introverts, in my opinion, people are yelling–YELLING!–about politics lately. Ugh.
Change produces stress, and there are some types of stress that are in the Good Camp. Promotions at work, getting a seven-letter Bingo in Scrabble, or learning that you won the Lottery could be in this category. As Elizabeth Scott outlines in When Stress is Good for You, you don’t need to worry about all kinds of stress. Acute stress is particularly harmful. We humans like some things to remain stable, and not to have shifting sands under our feet.
Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram–Oh, My!
Just as all kinds of stress are not alike, not all social media platforms are created equal. Let me explain. Twitter moves fast and can catch you off-guard with its constantly moving articles, memes, and newsy tidbits. Facebook can be a rabbit hole of articles about cats who think they’re dogs (and dogs who think they’re cats!), and people ranting about every possible first-world problem. The videos and sponsored posts can move quickly as well. If you want a more peaceful social media experience, Pinterest and Instagram are much quieter–without tons of ads or newsy posts screaming at you to pay attention.
Reframing Information Overload
There are a million rabbit holes and tasks that call out to us. There are parties and business events. And there is that little voice that says “you should…”. For myself, deciding what I could do versus what I should do makes all the difference. Did you know that there’s an Information Overload Awareness Day (October 18)? And an Information Overload Research Group?
Meditation and Quiet Time
Everyone needs some time to completely withdraw from the world, whether that’s through meditation, yoga, or simply quiet time in the car. For all you introverts out there, here’s Six Facts About Introverts and Social Media That Will Impress Your Friends.
How Do You Manage the Speed of Change?
Do you withdraw from the world or does being involved and “on” 24/7 excite and exhilarate you? Leave me a comment! And thank you.