As I listened to one of Rob Bell’s podcast episodes the other day, Episode 120 Wisdom Part 5, How to Think About the News. I couldn’t but let turn off the firehose, as Rob put it.
And that’s exactly how I feel whenever I open Twitter, Facebook, or turn on the television. It’s all so overwhelming but really, it’s my own fault. I’ve been confusing media with journalism. Journalism is truth-seeking, storytelling, and shining light on what needs to be exposed. There is a standard by which journalists are held to. There is a level of respect for story and for sharing what’s important.
Media is a whole other beast. As Rob explained so perfectly, media is like a firehose shooting us at point blank range of information all day long. It’s via television, Twitter, YouTube, Vines, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, etc. that floods us constantly with random bits and pieces, like the rapid fire Kim and Kanye nonsense, the latest political scandal news, to a viral video of a child singing in his car seat. While at the time, the trickle of information seems harmless but as we keep clicking our mouses, remote controls, or notification buttons, the trickle becomes a firehouse to the face…if we let it.
We can choose to let the firehose run, blasting us in the face with every possible scrap of information that media can point at us or we can choose to turn it off and only give attention to the things that matter to us.
We can turn off app notifications or simply go into airplane mode if we need some focus time. I totally do the whole Pavlov’s dog thing whenever my phone dings or I see a little red circle on my phone screen. It’s insanity in the making. Why would I ever choose to live life reacting to everything and not creating the life I want. But that’s exactly what I’ve done and chances are, the majority of the first world does the same.
Believe me, I’ve been there and I’m still fighting the withdrawals but hearing that podcast really put what I was feeling into words. I had been feeling truly overwhelmed and honestly, slightly depressed about everything I was trying to keep up on. ISIS, this scandal, that tragedy, climate change, claims that climate change is a myth, etc. It makes me crazy.
So part of the freedom I’m creating in 2017 is turning off the media firehose:
-I’m checking email only twice a day, noon and 8 p.m. and unsubscribing to all unnecessary newsletters, not yours, of course! 😉
-Switch off all notifications on my phone.
-Engage in social media via scheduled time and not whenever I’m bored or trying to avoid a task.
-Give my time and attention to sources with integrity only.
-Curate what will bring value or positivity to others.
This is a non-negotiable. My heart and spirit can’t take the constant barrage of negativity and shallow crap that spouts from mainstream media today. It’s killing any chances that I can truly believe that people are inherently good and that our society isn’t going to hell starting tomorrow. Because after a while, if I just keep taking what the firehose is spraying, I will no longer be able to breathe. And if I can’t breathe, well…that won’t the happy ending I was planning on for my life story.
Before I put anything out into the world, I must ask myself, “Is it helpful to others or is it part of the firehouse?” Sure, I like sharing a funny video like the next person but that has to be the exception and not the rule.
What about you? Have you been able to turn off the firehouse or are you still gasping for air?
If you’re still gasping, I hope you make a pledge to yourself that you’ll hit the shutoff valve once and for all. I would love to hear how it’s going and what changes for you by doing it.
P.S. Connection can’t happen without comments or shares so I hope you do at least one! You’re the best.