Happy New Year, Dear Readers!
Just like every year, this year at Hometown News has started by taking stock of 2019, considering what has added value and what has detracted from it. More than ever, we have found ourselves busy in the endless stream of social media.
As a voice in local media, we see the ways that connections nourish communities: connecting us to one another’s stories, connecting customers with businesses and services, and connecting neighbours and friends. However, we also see how some connections can leave us feeling empty, dissatisfied; from behind their screens people can be cruel or arrogant and fake. And it can be hard to scroll past everyone’s shiny happy highlight reel while existing in your own unedited everyday life. The contrast can be depressing, and there is so much to compare with: hundreds of friends sharing their very best moments all at once.
Offline, in-person interactions are much gentler; when friends invite you into their home you go to enjoy being together, not to stare at one carefully-curated part of their lives.
This isn’t to denounce social media: it is a wonderful way to connect with distant loved ones, stay informed about local life and community matters, and chat with friends. However, it can easily become a major distraction, keeping us from our living our lives instead of adding value to them.
As the publisher of HTN, I talk to many people and discovered that we are not alone. I have learned the importance of logging into social media with purpose, do what is necessary, and then log out. Unfollow people who bring you down, whether by their unkindness or pretension or anything else. Keep your personal social media pages filled with what brings you joy. It might be helpful to think about social media as a mental-health junk food; it can be fun, but if it is not filling us up with good things, then perhaps it needs to be a “sometime” treat and not on our plate three meals a day.
As we evaluate the past year and move forward into 2020, we want to thank you, Readers, for choosing to make Hometown News a part of your life; our hope is always to add value and connection to our community, the community we love. Best wishes for a very healthy and happy New Year from all of us at Hometown News. ~ Patricia