Yesterday Stephen Amell bummed out "Arrow" fans everywhere when he decided to step away from the social media platform Twitter for a while, citing frustration over his followers' reaction to tweet he wrote about #IStandWithAhmed. (In a nutshell: he was annoyed with people who cited Texas as the reason Ahmed was profiling, calling it a different form of profiling.)
Whether you're a huge Arrow-head who's going to miss having Oliver Queen on your feed, or you're annoyed that Amell chose to duck out rather than continue the discussion, you've got to admit -- taking a break from Twitter sometimes, especially when you feel like it's stressing you out, can be really good for you in the long run.
No one knows that better than Kevin Roberts, author of the book "Cyber Junkie: Escape the Gaming and Internet Trap." In fact, he recommends that everyone step away from their Facebook walls and Tumblr dashboards every once in a while as a way to recharge and relax.
"We get so plugged into our phones, so plugged into Twitter, so plugged into Snapchat, whatever it is, that we have this expectation that something is happening every minutes of our lives," he told MTV News over the phone. "When something's not happening, we don't know what to do with ourselves. We get anxious, we feel that something's wrong, and it kind of becomes an addiction. Creativity and imagination only can come out fully when we have some time to relax, when we have some time to reflect, when we have some time to unplug."
Another problem that obsessive social media users can run into -- one that Amell's probably pretty familiar with right now -- is that it alters our "interpersonal filter," so that people have a harder time sympathizing with one another the same way they would face to face and might be more likely to make insensitive comments.
"There's something about the way that technology [affects us] when we use it excessively and when we're always plugged into a screen -- we know that there's something that disinhibits us. In other words, the normal inhibitions that we would have, our brains are kind of primed to move past those. That online universe, I think -- you don't have that physicality of being with that other person, and the brain is just working differently," Roberts said.
So what do you do when you find yourself getting too caught up in a Twitter fight, or if you're just exhausted by the amount of brain power you spend on social media? "Take your hands away from the keyboard, take your hands away from your phone, take a few breaths and relax, and realize that you're not going to change the world right now," Roberts says. "You're not going to change peoples' minds right now, and these people who are responding, they don't really know you. Just take a step back. Take some time to breathe and come back at it anew when you've re-centered yourself, when you become more mindful of who you are and what you're doing."
Roberts also suggests deciding how much time you're able to , and not leaving Twitter and other social media apps open on your phone if you have trouble with self control -- and that goes for regular people as well as celebrities.
"Internet technology and social media technology have been proven to change the ways that our brains process information and process other people, and one of the pieces of fallout that we know is that it's much easier to get emotionally triggered in the online universe than it is in face-to-face interactions," he said. "So just understand that, and just understand that part of the reason you're getting emotionally triggered and emotionally upset is because of the very nature of social media and the cyber world. That's why it's really important to take a step back from it."