Taking a look in the Facebook mirror.
I often look at people’s Facebook posts and ask “why?” Why did you post that status? Why did you share that meme? Why did you feel you should comment on that post that you disagreed with?
Does it make you feel better? Do you enjoy sharing something controversial and have some of your friends agree with you? Does that provide you validation of some sort?
Are you trying to anger those that disagree with you? Do you get some satisfaction from pissing off your “friends?”
Was this story critically important to share? Did you honestly read past the headline? Are you sure the story is even true?
Are you outraged? Why are you outraged? Because the news told you to be? Because the Russians told you to be? Do you know why you are outraged?
Seriously, where does it end?
Every interaction on Facebook — posts, comments and likes — is in your activity log. It’s easy to find. Just go to your profile and click on the “Activity Log” button in the top right of your profile page.
Just look at the last week. For each interaction, ask yourself “why?” Why did I share that comment? Why did I like that meme? Why did I share that link?
What value am I adding to discussion?
How am I making the world a better place?
Are my interactions with people positive and encouraging?
Am I sharing joy?
When you look in the mirror, what do you see? Do you see hate and angst? Because if so, you aren’t helping your cause. You aren’t helping society. And you aren’t helping yourself.
Now the hard part: Start asking “why” before you post? Understand the impact of your words before you comment. Or like. Or share. In all likelihood, this exercise will cause you will post less. Comment less. Like less. That’s okay. The only person who will get upset that you are using Facebook less is Mark Zuckerberg. (And honestly, he’s too busy trying to collect all your personal data to notice.)
Don’t get sucked into the negativity. Don’t get caught up in the outrage machine. Don’t let the trolls get to you. And I promise, your Facebook experience will get better and your personal outlook will get better, too.
Bob Wertz writes about design, technology and pop culture at Sketchbook B. Bob is a Columbia, South Carolina-based designer, creative director, grad student, college instructor, husband and dad. He’s particularly obsessed with typography, the creative process and the tools we use to create. He recently finished a project to design a new shirt a week for an entire year. Follow Bob on Instagram and Micro.Blog.