Friday, November 13, 2015

Tuning out social media negativity

It's Friday! Today is a pretty awesome day because not only is the weekend about to begin (which means VOMD and I get to spend lots of hours cuddling and going for walks and then cuddling again to warm up) but I also have my first meeting for my new job today!

On top of the awesomeness that is Friday, as part of my commitment to being happy every day I have taken a very large, some might say socially unconscious step.

I have deleted my Twitter account and I have unfollowed or unliked everything and everyone on Facebook who has shared shitty, uncomfortable things that show up on my news feed. Gasp! I know. Sounds pretty selfish, eh? As a vegan on social media there is a lot of pressure to be constantly ON. We are expected, by other more noisy vegans, to share posts about emaciated dogs and chickens and cows, and we are expected to never miss a petition or a letter writing campaign. We are expected to just deal with the misery this brings us for the sake of the animals. I have read so many accounts of young vegans who feel constantly overwhelmed by their social media 'duties' and worry that if they log off for a few days it might mean life or death for an animal. The same goes for politics and human rights. As socially conscious young people we are expected to know about every ill, every human rights violation, every inequality.

But I am taking a stand (however minimal and possibly unfruitful it may be) against these expectations. You do not have to be miserable to be socially away and you do not have to be constantly bombarded by images that break you and make you hate the world in which we live to be a vegan. I am certainly not going to just stop reading the news, and I will certainly not be turning a bling eye to injustice, but I will not be checking my social media multiple times a day to make sure I am not missing a campaign to end circus animal abuse. Instead, I have filled my facebook 'follow' feed with delicious vegan recipes, stories of animal rescues, and humour. For the hour a day I spend on social media I am committing to being actually social, and not just click my way through every social, political, and animal rights campaign that pops up.

I did all this last night, in a fit of exhaustion, and this morning when I opened my news feed up popped a list of amazingly delicious looking vegan pasta recipes, a photo of a cow that got rescued by some very committed volunteers, and a video of musicians in Croatia posted by a classmate who is travelling Europe right now. No hairless dogs with sad eyes. No chickens with their beaks cut off. No defense of sexist or homophobia from some Republican candidate. Just joy.

And I don't feel guilty. I am vegan. I work for a socially conscious organization. I am doing meaningful research. My cat friends and bunny are adopted and well loved. I am happy. And if social media makes you forget all the good that you are doing in your real life, consider tuning out some of the negativity, because you deserve to be happy too.

Happy Friday!


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