Don’t Tweet Through the Pain

Why you spiral on social media, and what to do instead

Angela Lashbrook
Published in
8 min readApr 1, 2020


Photo by Tayler Smith. Prop Styling by Caroline Dorn

In Microprocessing, columnist Angela Lashbrook aims to improve your relationship with technology every week. Microprocessing goes deep on the little things that define your online life today to give you a better tomorrow.

WWhen I first started social distancing, the amount of time I spent on social media was revolting. My phone’s battery struggled to keep up with the hours I spent refreshing Instagram, staring blankly at images of people’s new bread habits or pleas from restaurants for help. Twitter’s black hole superpowers became biblical in force as I reloaded and read, reloaded and read. I can’t believe I got any work done at all.

It seems like everyone else is experiencing the same thing. In countries affected by coronavirus, Facebook use is up 50%, while in Italy, it’s up 70%. Twitter, meanwhile, has seen a 23% increase in traffic. What else is there to do, while we’re stuck inside? We’re bored, stressed out, anxious — any amalgam of bad feelings you can think of, really.

But this relentless refreshing is not helping you. It’s not helping me. It’s a needless distraction that is making work days bleed into evenings, and it’s creating needless stress. There are things you can do, though, to temporarily shut out the constant clamor of online voices, headlines, and fears, to focus on your work so you can get it done and then, ideally, turn it off entirely. While these tips are immediately applicable to life during this pandemic, they should also serve you well in the future: They speak to the power our social networks have over our minds and may help you engage in a healthier way moving forward.

Some of them may seem easy, but if your social media habit is as deeply ingrained as mine, they’ll take some effort. But I can tell you this: I have implemented several of these tips myself and have genuinely seen success. I’m still scared — this is a scary situation. I’m still stressed out. But I feel genuinely less high-strung and panicked, and I can sleep. With a real resolve to limit your social media time and get through your work day, you can, too.

Social media is not a good friend during a



Angela Lashbrook

I’m a columnist for OneZero, where I write about the intersection of health & tech. Also seen at Elemental, The Atlantic, VICE, and Vox. Brooklyn, NY.