Creating an oasis online, one "are" at a time
I should probably start with a confession: I spend a lot of time online.
Not much of a shocker, though, is it? My guess is you do too.
Much of it is for my work life (I manage social media accounts, design and manage websites and when I research for writing I do much of it online as well).
But I shop online, stay connected with family and friends online, and watch and read most of my news online. Thank you Amazon, Facebook + Google, and Youtube, respectively.
Did you know that the average American spends 24 hours online a week? 
A growing number of teens spend 9 hours - yes, you read that right - 9 hours every day on social media. 
I think the internet of things is amazing, especially how easily accessible information is. As a writer and creative it's a time to thrive!
But the online world comes with much negativity: haters and trolls, mean tweets and the proliferation of fake news. It's hard not to look away from the dumpster fire of rage rhetoric that is the US political discourse, isn't it?
If you don't go online mentally prepared or grounded, the onslaught of click bait, the beautiful photos of other peoples' lives, and the apoplectic tone of news coverage can leave you on edge, envious, and distraught.
And so often we enter the online stream without any thought, passively clicking, swiping and scrolling--we want to float and relax, but we get pummelled by a torrent.
More and more studies show that mental health is significantly impacted by our online habits and choices:
People who limited their social media use to 30 minutes felt significantly better after the three-week period, reporting reduced depression and loneliness, especially those who came into the study with higher levels of depression.
~ from Forbes.com
I've noticed, personally, that by limiting my time on twitter to specific times of the week and by using a third party software to manage and upload content to social media, I have a lot more mental and creative focus.
However, beyond limiting my typical online behaviour in the 'off hours' (i.e. paying less attention to all the US pundits on twitter that I'm drawn to), I've been looking for something more: content that inspires, uplifts and counters the negative narrative we so often encounter.
That's why in 2019 I've stepped into a new online project called the 8ares.com. An online oasis of good news.
I'm really excited about it and look forward to sharing more of the backstory in future posts. What I've discovered is there's so much good news online and sites dedicated to it.
8ares.com is a place to link to some of that great content. I view it as a Drudge-style site aimed at linking to content that is up-lifting.
I hope you'll check it out, and even bookmark it and visit it as I update it throughout the week. To start, you can view the mainpage here and the goal and purpose of the site.