man wearing Donald Trump mask standing in front of White House

I’ve not pitched a session at UKGovcamp for a few years, but I’m hoping to pitch one this year on something that’s been troubling me for a while. How does social media and digital culture affect our state of mind, and what can we practically do about it?

A note of clarification on the title: I’m not claiming Trump-like smartness here. But in some ways, he’s emblematic of the shift I’ve seen in social media globally from the friendly club it was in the era when Govcamping was born to… well, something a bit darker and more complicated, about tribes and tweetstorms, the sharing of #blessed lives and the retreat into private accounts and spaces where h8ters, future employers and our families won’t find us.

More embarrassing to admit, I’m regularly frustrated with myself at losing useful time, sleep and positive focus winding myself up about the fun others seem to be having. And as my kids (and parents) get more addicted to their screens, I still don’t feel I have the strategies to help them get the etiquette right and protect their own state of mind. As 2018 kicks off, I’ve seen a few frustrated friends decide to take a break from social media altogether.

That’s a shame. I’m still a militant optimist, and I’ve seen the tools do good for me and the world around me. So I’d like to have a session to share challenges and solutions around:

  • how do we make social media and digital tools more generally a constructive part of a life well lived, and maintain our perspective, our generosity and our good temper?
  • how do we stay productive in a world of notifications, interruptions and feeds?
  • how have people helped their colleagues and loved ones (not that they are mutually exclusive – I won’t judge…) to build social media into their personal or professional lives in ways which help them be more cheerful, curious and kind?

If you’d like to join in, please do! And if you’re not at UKGovcamp but have a story or idea to share, please let me know.

Photo by Darren Halstead on Unsplash

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