Dealing with Social Media

I thought I’d share something about how I use social media and the news media, to keep myself from getting “thrown around” inside.

First, I stopped looking at my Facebook news feed. That endless scrolling, looking to see if the next one will be interesting–I think all that jumping about mentally isn’t good for us. It’s not good to have your attention leaping from one thing to the next in a matter of seconds. And of course, for all the ones that are encouraging or cheerful, you can just as soon come across something distressing or angering.

So I decided not to look at the news feed any more. Boy, did that free up some time! And my mind doesn’t feel stretched and dizzy like it used to.

By the way, Facebook is the only social media I use; I don’t look at Twitter or Instagram or anything else. So, it’s the only one I needed to make some decisions about.

I use Chrome as my browser, and I keep three Facebook tabs open, all family members, so I can keep track of my children, and not miss any grandkid photos or stories.

More recently I started keeping a fourth tab for Jonathan Pageau. I hadn’t followed him before, but I admire his work, and priests tell me that he is a major reason young men are becoming catechumens. I’m so curious about what it is that draws them. His reach outside Orthodoxy (and even outside Christianity) is immense. A while back I did an interview on his channel, and the person who told me that it had been posted was a rather avant-garde non-Christian artist. I really admire how Jonathan is able to reach across the boundaries.

(Now my danger is that I’ll start following people who follow Jonathan. For example, I ought to follow Fr Andrew Damick, because I often comment on his comments when he appears, on Pageau’s page or my sons’.  Warning, , for those attempting to avoid Facebook, Jonathan Pageau is a slippery slope!)

I don’t actually follow the news. I stopped decades ago. My husband reads a lot of news sites, and he’ll tell me if there’s something important going on. I find that, anytime there’s real news, you’ll hear it. You can’t escape it. It’s like you can shut all the windows, but news leaks under the door. So I don’t miss anything big.

The other thing I do daily is read Rod Dreher’s blog. We’ve been good friends for decades. I think I agree with him on everything—I can’t think, for the moment, of something we disagree about. I encounter much of the news of the day there. It’s like I’ve deputized Rod tell me what’s going on in the world. For me, that works.

Be kind to yourself and think about whether you would be more focused and tranquil if you took steps like these, and delete from your life practices that have you endlessly scrolling.

And keep your prayer rule! Spend time with the Lord every day. Tell him what’s on your mind, tell him about anything that worries you. Read the daily scriptures and the lives of the saints for the day. I love the OCA “Lives of the Saints” site, https://www.oca.org/saints/lives

And pray the Jesus Prayer regularly and intentionally. You’ll find your prayer rule to be an anchor that helps you weather any kind of storm. These last couple of years have been so unsettling and anxiety-producing! I try to stay peaceful and prayerful, and it really helps to restrict my contact with the news. Works for me!

About Frederica Matthewes-Green

Frederica Mathewes-Green is a wide-ranging author who has published 10 books and 800 essays, in such diverse publications as the Washington Post, Christianity Today, Smithsonian, and the Wall Street Journal. She has been a regular commentator for National Public Radio (NPR), a columnist for the Religion News Service, Beliefnet.com, and Christianity Today, and a podcaster for Ancient Faith Radio. (She was also a consultant for Veggie Tales.) She has published 10 books, and has appeared as a speaker over 600 times, at places like Yale, Harvard, Princeton, Wellesley, Cornell, Calvin, Baylor, and Westmont, and received a Doctor of Letters (honorary) from King University. She has been interviewed over 700 times, on venues like PrimeTime Live, the 700 Club, NPR, PBS, Time, Newsweek, and the New York Times. She lives with her husband, the Rev. Gregory Mathewes-Green, in Johnson City, TN. Their three children are grown and married, and they have fourteen grandchildren.

4 comments:

  1. I only follow my neighborhood facebook group to learn of goings on around me. As for the news, I have decided that in general I most of it isn’t my concern and is something I can’t do anything about. I was way too caught up with having those political figures taking up unnecessary space in my brain! I pray when God clearly asks me and also every Sunday in the corporate prayers.

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