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Discovering the Light Web

Brenna Dempsey  |  13 February 2020

It sometimes feels that social media is full of nothing but anger and vitriol. But one of our young writers has discovered there are some communities where people can still find beauty and goodness.

I have been feeling very disheartened when I spend time on social media. It can be overwhelming to see so many posts about climate change, violence happening both at home and offshore, commentary wars, injustice and other distressing content. I have been wondering what to do about this to ensure that my time spent online is more uplifting.

Recently, a friend introduced me to a Facebook group that showed me a different way to do social networking: ‘Weird Secondhand Finds That Just Need To Be Shared’. This group has more than 1.4 million members from over the world and yet it manages to be positive, safe, friendly, welcoming and incredibly wholesome.

A member of that group recently posted asking what other groups they should join that also contain wholesome and interesting
content. Within minutes there were thousands of comments with suggestions of other groups to join including: ‘heartwarming content’, ‘dogspotting’, ‘very important positivity’, ‘disapproving corgis’, ‘frogspotting’ and ‘house plant hobbyist’ among others.

Regardless of how big or small these member-led groups are, they provide a place for people with chronic illnesses to seek support, for train enthusiasts to talk about urban planning, for opshoppers to post weird finds, for pictures of dogs and cats, for selling and trading, for plant enthusiasts and pretty much anything else you could think of.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I do love a good internet debate, I often read through the comments on posts to give advice or to support people fighting the good fight. I’m one of those annoying people who regularly shares political and social justice posts.

But I do also see the importance of engaging with new people in a fun, wholesome and lighthearted way. The world can be a lonely and scary place and having these small moments and connections can be life-changing.

I’m working two jobs at the moment and despite having good time management skills I’ve found that my self-care routines have suffered – this has taken a toll on my mental and physical health. But finding these groups on Facebook has given me a way to lighten my mood during time I would normally have already spent on social media anyway; between meetings and on the train going to and from work.

Seeking out these groups, scrolling through the endless posts, commenting and tagging my friends and enjoying the simple joy these posts bring is proving to be exactly what I needed to counteract the hatred, misinformation, judgement and all-round ickiness that social media is often so full of. l

Brenna Dempsey is a member of our young writers community.

If you’re a young writer aged 15–25, join our young writers list for the opportunity to contribute articles to the magazine. Email editor@australiancatholics.com.au to join the community.

TIPS FOR NAVIGATING THE LIGHT WEB

Here’s some tips for making sure your online community is a place of light.

  1. Be kind
  2. Always post in good faith and don’t make assumptions
  3. Listen to what others have to say
  4. Be welcoming to and considerate of new members
  5. Treat members with dignity and respect
  6. Be open to new ideas and new ways of thinking
  7. Keep posts short and relevant
  8. Don’t engage with rude people, simply report them to an administrator

 

 

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