You need to have hobbies outside of social media. And think of it like this: the more hobbies you have, the more you can post about it on Instagram, making your posts look more dynamic. So it’s actually a double win: you’re gaining new skills that will boost your confidence, while also making your online profile more interesting. No more car selfies! Go out there and do fun things!
I had the pleasure of interviewing Danielle Radin, digital correspondent for NBC San Diego, author, inventor, ergonomist, ethologist and social media guru.
I grew up in Hermosa Beach, a beach town in Los Angeles County. My father is a contracts attorney and corporate executive and my mother is a jewelry designer. I have a younger sister named Jenna who edits all my books. I got my start in journalism when I was fifteen. I would search online for jobs writing local news features and music reviews. As I got older, I became more interested in using a camera, shooting and editing. I quickly realized that broadcast news was one of the only ways to tell local stories to a wide audience that impacts the community. That’s when I realized I wanted to become a broadcast reporter. After taking on a traditional TV journalist role for three years, I switched over to the digital sphere. Now I report on-air, online, on mobile and on social media!
I think a lot of people would be surprised to learn that I cold applied to NBC 7 through the company website without knowing a single person who worked at the station. I talked to HR professionals for months in LA before I ever spoke to my current bosses in San Diego. It’s always better to know someone who can help you at the place you are applying to work, but sometimes you just have to go for it!
My current role is the first and only of its kind in all of NBC, so we are really working to shape the job so that we can stay ahead of the ever-changing wave that is digital journalism. Who knows what it will look like in a few years from now. Hopefully, we’ll be at the forefront of whatever it is.
As a social media reporter, I probably spend more than the average amount of time looking at a screen per day, to be honest. It’s a tough balance, especially if you have to be on a phone or computer for your job. And it really can affect your mental health. We joke about things like FOMO, the fear of missing out, when we see our friends posting a picture of a place we weren’t invited to. But some people, especially the younger generation, are deeply affected by this kind of rejection. These are real emotions that can especially affect kids who are struggling to fit in at school.
There’s also an ergonomic factor to it. I was just talking to someone who has a pinched nerve in their upper neck that gives her horrible migraines. This is due to looking down at a cell phone too much. That’s why it is important to stretch your neck once for every hour you’re looking down at your phone. Rotating your neck in a circle a few times can help immensely. Staring at a computer screen for too long can make your eyesight worse. Eye doctors recommend for every hour you look at a screen, look away at something far in the distance for 10 seconds. This will protect you from the eye strain that screens cause.
Cybersecurity experts I’ve interviewed for stories tell me robocalls are the biggest scam problem in San Diego right now, and I suspect that is the case in many cities across the United States. If you get 20 or more spam calls a day, register with the FTC’s Do Not Call Registry by googling it and putting your phone number and email in. It takes less than a minute to sign up.
Checking your phone is inevitable, but what are you doing in the small windows of time that you’re not looking at technology? Are you stressing about an email you received or a tweet you need to send? Are you constantly thinking about your next Instagram post or wondering what Snapchat you’ll send next? Try not to think about social media unless you’re on it.
When you are not on it, practice mindful meditation. Think about a nonsensical word over and over in your head and try to only focus on the word for 10 minutes. It will clear your thoughts and make you feel in the moment. You can even buy devices that help you stay in the mindful, like these biomedical earrings.
If it is hard for you to wake up in the morning, I would actually suggest looking at a screen to make it easier. Doctors warn that you should not look at your computer to watch Netflix or read an article before you go to sleep because the light from the screen keeps your brain awake. Well, it can also wake your brain up when you need it. I know it sounds counterintuitive to tell you to look at the screen, but use technology to your advantage when you can.
Don’t assume you know what kind of life a person leads or how the person feels based on social media. It would be like assuming everything people say in a job interviews encapsulates their whole lives. Social media is the persona we put out to other people: it’s like saying you had a good weekend to a coworker at the water cooler when in fact the weekend was terrible.
Often times, people post restaurants they’re supposedly at to Instagram story and Snapchat story when in reality they went there a week ago and they’re in bed. They just want to make it look like they are doing something on a Saturday night. You never have any idea what the true person is dealing with behind the profile. Just be as positive as you can on social media. There’s no reason to have jealousy or negative feelings towards someone’s persona they are putting out there. Be kind, not just online but to everyone you meet. We all go through things every day. We’re all doing the best we can.
I already have inventions I’ve created to help harness mindfulness and relieve the anxiety of living in this technology-driven world. I plan to continue to invent things like this to help people who are stressed out by technology. Fight the harms of technology with better technology!