Let’s be honest. I think we’re all sick of Facebook right now. It’s become like an unhealthy relationship. You want to just break up, but instead you keep coming back to air your grievances, vent your frustration, remedy your boredom. But does that actually help?
It just makes us all feel worse.
So I’ve decided to do something good for myself and others that doesn’t make me feel like the world just needs to burn, that there’s no hope for humanity, no beauty left in life. I’ve come up with this handy list of Facebook alternatives:
1. Be An Activist
A couple of years ago I spent a lot of time at home caring for an infant. Thus, I spent too much time on my phone being bombarded by the uglyness of the internet. Needless to say, I felt powerless. There were so many causes but so little that I, a stay-at-home mom, could do. Or so I thought. Until I somehow stumbled upon two really awesome sites:
Both of these organizations make activism as easy as clicking a button. Sign up for their email lists and they’ll alert you of causes that need action en mass. The links they send sometimes ask for donations, but most often lead to an explanation of the crisis at hand followed by a pre-written, pre-addressed message to world leaders, requesting their action. All you have to do is hit send.
2. Email Your Congressman
This is of course related to point 1. If you sign up with amnesty.org, they make emailing your congressman so simple, you don’t even have to look up his email address. But if you don’t want Amnesty’s emails, this is an alternative. Pissed off about the refugee ban? DAPL? Women’s rights? Use this link to find out who your representative is, how to contact him, and to let him know what matters to you. It’s more effective than blasting your rage all over Facebook.
Education makes the world a better place, right? Knowledge is power, right? So better yourself, empower yourself. It’s not as time consuming as you might think. And it’s free on coursera.org. I’m sure there are other similar sites, but coursera.org is the one that I’ve used. They have hundreds of courses designed by top professors from some of the best universities in the world. A few that caught my eye were:
- Understanding Violence (Emory University)
- Moral Foundations of Politics (Yale University)
- America Through Foreign Eyes (Rice University)
And so, so many more.
Education is never a waste. There are no negative effects of being educated, especially if that education is free. Expand your understanding. Make the world a better place by starting with YOU.
4. Become a Philanthropist
A few weeks ago I wrote a post about giving. Sometimes it’s easy to think we don’t have enough to go around. There are apps that prove otherwise. Did you know you can donate to charity by exercising? By sharing photos? By skipping a cup of coffee? This link lists six apps that make charity a daily activity. Some require only a couple of dollars and are tax deductible, others require no money at all.
5. Get Inspired
“Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.”
It’s easy to get Facebook Vision—seeing the world through the frustration and hopelessness of the tragedies shared on social media. It can make everything look bleak. Yes, these tragedies are real and shouldn’t be ignored, but aren’t goodness, beauty, and hope just as real? Don’t they deserve just as much attention? Make time for the good. Share the beautiful. Increase hope. I recommend starting with stevemccurry.com for an honest look at the world’s raw beauty.
6. Make Friends
I’m not talking about adding another person to your list. I’m talking about refugees. They’re not just poor souls on the other side of the world. They’re here, and they need friends. Ray and I had the opportunity this week to meet some amazing people who arrived just before the ban took effect. We talked and laughed and drank coffee in their livingroom. They said they felt welcomed here in America. It was beautiful and simple. Want to know how you can be a friend? This link has contact info for resettlement agencies all over the US.
7. Reach Out
Why do we write emotional status updates? Why do we inform all our contacts of our mundane, daily activities? Why does Facebook even exist? Because we want to know and be known. But sadly, our attempts at connection are often shots in the dark. Maybe someone will read, like, or even comment. That’s fine. But what about a personal message? A sincere reaction using words (not emojis) that just might become a meaningful conversation? Be real, reach out. Instead of scrolling your news feed, send a message to an old friend. What are they up to, besides the highs and lows that they selectively share? Can you empathise, commiserate, celebrate? I’ve got no links for this one. It’s up to you.
There is so much life to live. I’m refusing to let Facebook steal it away. I’m limiting myself to checking in once a day, to stay connected, but keeping in mind what real connection is…Being a friend. Engaging the world around me. Using the power that I do have to cause change, even if it is small.
“I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.” Maya Angelou
Isn’t that the truth?
Now you know better. Do better.