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Done with doomscrolling? Why people choose to quit social media – Global News



Do you often find yourself doomscrolling on Facebook, spending excessive amount of time on Instagram and watching TikTok videos for endless hours? You’re not alone.

As social media apps continue to consume everyday life, more and more users are re-evaluating their time on online platforms. And there is renewed pushback after a damning testimony earlier this month by a former Facebook employee, Francis Haugen, who says the company’s products harm children and fuel polarization.

Read more:
‘Chilling effect’: How whistleblower Frances Haugen unfriended Facebook

In recent years, several high-profile celebrities have either temporarily deactivated their social media accounts or chosen to log off for good for a variety of reasons.

Because these platforms are designed to keep people’s attention, abstaining can be an “uphill battle,” experts say.

“It’s what we call the attention economy,” said Shana MacDonald, a communications professor at the University of Waterloo.

“They have built their platforms to make sure that we spend the most amount of time possible on the platform,” she told Global News.

“That is how they make money, because they can show ads and also gather data from how we use their platforms, which makes them more money.”

Click to play video: 'Whistleblower: Facebook harms children, weakens democracy'

Whistleblower: Facebook harms children, weakens democracy

Whistleblower: Facebook harms children, weakens democracy – Oct 5, 2021

Despite the addiction, concerns over privacy, mental health and the flood of misinformation are some of the driving factors that motivate users to switch off completely, said MacDonald.

A Statistics Canada report published in March 2021 showed that among all social media users between 15 and 64 years old, 19 per cent reported that they had lost sleep, 22 per cent said they got less physical activity and 18 per cent had trouble concentrating on tasks or activities as a result of their social media use.

Around one in eight users also reported feeling anxious or depressed, frustrated or angry, or envious of the lives of others, according to the StatsCan study that analyzed a 2018 survey.

Read more:
5 Canadians on what social media is doing to their mental health

A majority of Canadians (88 per cent) believe social media companies should do more to prevent or remove messages of hate and racism from their platforms, according to a 2020 Ipsos poll conducted exclusively for Global News.

A more recent online poll conducted by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies this month found that 40 per cent of Canadians had a negative opinion of Facebook.

The vast majority also agreed that Facebook amplifies hate speech, helps spread fake news, damages individuals’ mental health and poses a risk to children and teenagers.

For people conscious of the negative impact, the decision to say no entirely is like an “abstinence-based internet sobriety program,” said Aimee Morrison, a professor at the University of Waterloo who specializes in social media.

“Some people can have one drink and some people can check Facebook twice a day, but other people find that their own behaviors are problematic and that the best way to address them is to leave the site entirely,” she said.

Click to play video: 'Mental Health Matters: Dealing with ‘doomscrolling’ on social media'

Mental Health Matters: Dealing with ‘doomscrolling’ on social media

Mental Health Matters: Dealing with ‘doomscrolling’ on social media – Sep 15, 2021

Celebrities who have logged off

Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle have not been active on social media since posting their last message on their official Instagram account in March 2020.

In a tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey earlier this year, the Duchess of Sussex went into great detail about her mental health and how it was impacted during her time with the royal family and a target of negative press.

Read more:
Meghan Markle, Prince Harry to develop animated series for Netflix

Oscar-winning actress Emma Stone stopped using her Twitter account after it was hacked in 2012. In a 2018 interview with Elle magazine, she said “it wouldn’t be a positive thing for me.”

“If people can handle that sort of output and input in the social media sphere, power to them.”

Both Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling are inactive on social media

Both Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling are inactive on social media.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Richard Shotwell/Invision

In March 2021, French football legend Thierry Henry, who has millions of followers on Instagram and Twitter, said he was quitting social media to protest online racial abuse and bullying that he said goes unregulated.

“The sheer volume of racism, bullying and resulting mental torture to individuals is too toxic to ignore,” the former Arsenal striker said. “There has to be some accountability.”

Other celebrities who have boycotted social media include British actress Keira Knightley, New Zealand singer Lorde and Canadian actors Ryan Gosling and Keanu Reeves.

How to manage social media use

Despite being an avid social media user herself, Morrison says if people feel the services don’t have value for them, then parting ways might be the right path.

“If people want to stay on, more power to you, and if people want to leave it, I think that’s an entirely supportable decision,” she said.

Read more:
Four ways parents can help teens safely navigate Instagram

However, Professor MacDonald believes that instead of getting rid of the apps altogether, people can put in place “healthy boundaries” on their social media use.

“Especially in children … as they are developing their identities, it’s important for them to have a wide variety of interactions and social contexts … so social media should be quite limited.”

Click to play video: 'Why female political candidates in Canada are receiving more toxicity on Twitter'

Why female political candidates in Canada are receiving more toxicity on Twitter

Why female political candidates in Canada are receiving more toxicity on Twitter – Aug 29, 2021

Setting aside some phone-free hours can be a helpful strategy to limit your screen time, said Morrison.

“You can put a real live alarm clock in your bedroom and plug your phone in the kitchen before you go to bed so you’re not tempted to do doomscrolling at night,” she said.

People can also set reminders on their phone for the amount of time they want to spend on a particular app, shutting it when the timer goes off.

“There’s a number of ways, from total abstinence, like put your phone in a lockbox … or just try to find some ways that make it less easy for you to pick up your phone and do a behavior that you’re trying to stop.”

– With files from the Canadian Press, Associated Press

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Diversity in the newsroom can build better media. Here's why – World Economic Forum



  • Maintaining diversity in the newsroom and providing inclusive content is imperative for the longevity of any media platform.
  • More diverse and inclusive newsrooms and coverage can provide better representation of societies, build audience trust and even make news organizations more profitable.
  • News outlets that do not actively make diversity in the newsroom and inclusion a priority could face a decline in both readership and profits.

The Black Lives Matter protests and the #MeToo movement have shed light on the lack of racial and gender diversity in the workplace. The state of diversity in the newsroom is no exception: according to a 2016 Pew Research Center analysis, just 23% of newsroom employees were people of colour, while 61% of newsroom employees were men.

As Chief Executive of Internews, I’ve visited dozens of newsrooms in every inhabited continent. Across the board, I’ve noticed a commonality: having a diverse workforce bodes well for producing accurate and well-reported news content.

The world is becoming more diverse and it’s a newsroom’s responsibility to reflect this – failure to do so can result in news outlets being left behind.

The rise of user-generated news platforms, which often outperform traditional outlets in attracting new audiences, underscores the risk of failing to cater to diverse audiences. Audience growth trends at user-generated news platforms like Blavity and Outlier suggest the new generation of readers want content that reflects their experiences and perspectives.

Maintaining a diverse workforce and providing inclusive content is imperative for the longevity of any media platform. This is why it comes as a shock to me that inclusion is still lacking within the industry. Thankfully, the Tackling Diversity and Inclusion in the Newsroom report from the World Economic Forum takes on this issue from a business and ethical standpoint.

Including different perspectives

A diverse newsroom is essential for media institutions that pride themselves on providing well-researched, complex stories that explore different perspectives and voices. The news content the media provides should be an accurate reflection of the diverse society it serves As such, to reflect this society, we need to make sure that journalists from different cultures, religions and genders are represented.

It’s not just about providing different perspectives and viewpoints. Media institutions need to ensure that their newsroom culture reflects the diverse news content they’re producing, otherwise, audiences may question their authenticity.

Eliminating culturally insensitive mistakes

No matter their background, all journalists should be more than capable of objectively reporting stories that explore perspectives different from their own. However, a lack of knowledge or unconscious biases may lead some journalists to produce culturally insensitive reporting.

To be clear, I’m not suggesting that only journalists who have a personal connection to a news story should exclusively write about that topic. However, having a diverse team of journalists who can assist with reviewing news content can lessen the chance of mistakes that could harm the outlet’s brand.

Last year, the Guardian had to issue an apology for mistakenly using a picture of UK rapper Kano when referring to Wiley. The latter at the time was under scrutiny for anti-Semitic comments. Even though the newspaper claimed this was an “honest mistake”, it sparked conversations online regarding the lack of diversity in the newsroom. Many journalists from marginalized communities observed that a more diverse newsroom would spot the mistake before it was published.

Helping to build trust

An IPSOS study of 27 countries found that over a five-year period from 2014-2019, public trust in newspapers and magazines dropped by an average of 16%. In the US and Great Britain – two countries traditionally seen as having model independent media systems – public trust in print media dropped by 26% and 27% respectively.

Importantly, there’s a big difference between “the media” and local media: local news outlets are more trusted because they are more likely to know and reflect the communities they serve.

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Where trust In the news is highest and lowest

Image: Statista/RISJ

During the pandemic, trust in the media has never been more critical. For the last few years, media institutions have been responsible for keeping billions of people updated on COVID transmission rates and vaccine efforts. The success of Epicenter-NYC is an example of just how much of an impact local media can have when it commands community trust. Epicenter-NYC is a media company that was founded by and for members of the Jackson Heights neighbourhood in New York. When vaccination rates were lagging in the community, Epicenter made vaccine sign-up information readily available on its site. As a result, the organization encouraged more than 4,600 people to get vaccinated.

Creating a diverse newsroom can help establish trust in various communities and other under-represented groups. With the pandemic still raging, both local and national news outlets should be looking for ways to help sustain and build trust with their audiences.

Making media institutions more profitable

Studies suggest that the most diverse companies are more likely to outperform non-diverse companies in terms of profitability. A 2019 analysis by McKinsey suggests that companies in the top quartile of gender diversity on executive teams were 25% more likely to experience above-average profitability than peer companies. News outlets that do not actively make diversity in the newsroom and inclusion a priority could face a decline in both readership and profits.

The research published by the World Economic Forum makes one thing very clear: diverse newsrooms are essential for the betterment of any media institution that prides itself on providing news content that reflects an accurate representation of the world we live in today.

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A Famous Tech Expert Says You Should Quit Social Media. Not So Fast There – Forbes



A famous professor and book author named Cal Newport is still arguing, after his popular TED talk from a few years ago and with a new book about the dangers of email out now, that you should quit social media.

He seems to advocate for deleting your account forever, never going back, skipping the entire social media space including apps like Facebook and Twitter.

In listening to his argument, the reasons are relatively sound. He doesn’t see the value, and views apps like Facebook as mere distractions.

Unfortunately, I view this argument as woefully flawed.

First of all, hats off to Newport who has written some excellent books. He makes some good points about distraction and how social media companies are using these apps to feed us ads that line their pocketbooks. We’re endpoints for advertising, nothing more.

My issue is that quitting social media is a recipe for disaster. For starters, quitting is not the same as controlling. As someone who has recently studied the productivity field these last two years and is about to release a book about how to be more purposeful in our work, I can say that there is some value in the apps, and quitting them doesn’t work anyway. In a workplace setting, it’s all but impossible not to use social media, even if it is keeping up on the company feed, commenting on posts, and using the social media chat features.

More importantly, quitting social media means you are not aware of how people are using the apps and finding new benefits. I’ve long maintained that social media is an excellent way to keep in touch with family members, especially those that live overseas. The apps allow us to stay in touch and build a community with others using digital tools.

And, honestly, that’s really all they are is tools. We can use them for positive purposes or we can get sucked into the void and choose to let distraction rule over us.

A more measured approach, one that limits how often we use the apps and for how long, works better because it teaches us to throttle how we use every digital tool, not just the ones that are the most compelling. When we figure out how to use social media tools effectively, we can apply those same concepts to other apps such as email clients.

More than anything, I worry about the “cold turkey” approach because people eventually get sucked back into using the apps. “I’m deleting my account” says the person who is not able to control usage, and hasn’t dealt with a tendency to overuse the apps. A few weeks or months later, that person is back using the app again, maybe even more than ever before. 

So how do you control usage? My approach to this issue is not to delete anything, but to find the value and purpose in what you are doing, and then to set limits on how long you use the apps. For example, if you find yourself using Instagram for an hour or two per day, that is heavy usage. The answer is not to delete your account. A better way to deal with that obsession is to time yourself and keep track of what you are actually doing, to set goals for what you want to accomplish. Tell yourself — I am going to only read 10 posts during one session and then, when I reach that last post, I’ll close out of the app. It works much better. In some ways, learning to control how you use social media apps is a gift because then you can learn to control other things.

My challenge is for you to try that. Set a time limit or choose how many posts you’ll read or comments you’ll make. Don’t delete the app, but find the value and benefit that works for you. If you do decide to limit your usage somehow, send me an email ( about how that proved effective for you in controlling how you use these digital tools.

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Media Advisory: Dr. Fitzgerald Available to Media – News Releases – Government of Newfoundland and Labrador



Dr. Janice Fitzgerald, Chief Medical Officer of Health, will hold a media availability tomorrow (Wednesday, December 1) at 2:00 p.m. to discuss COVID-19.

The availability will be live-streamed on the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador’s Facebook and Twitter accounts and on YouTube.

Media covering the availability will have the opportunity to join in person in the media centre or by teleconference. To participate, please RSVP to Jillian Hood ( who will provide the details and the required information.

Media planning to participate by teleconference must join at 1:45 p.m. (NST) to be included on the call. For sound quality purposes, media calling in are asked to use a land line if at all possible.

– 30 –

Media contact
Lesley Clarke
Health and Community Services
709-729-6986, 699-2910

2021 11 30
2:10 pm

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