Dr. Doug Swanson’s Perception of Mindfulness and Social Media

By Gelsey Anica, Mackenzie Koch, and Lesly Ramirez

Dr. Doug Swanson is an accredited public relations practitioner and Professor of Communications at California State University, Fullerton. He came to public relations through journalism, working in radio, newspaper, and television. After receiving his doctorate, Dr. Swanson began his career in public relations as a writer, strategist, and event planner. He credits his abilities in writing to his long history in journalism. After working in public relations at a firm, he then accepted his role as a public relations professor.

Read more: Dr. Doug Swanson’s Perception of Mindfulness and Social Media

Dr. Swanson was drawn to the topic of mindfulness because of prior research that had been done in other professions as well as the benefits it can bring to people in the workplace. He says mindfulness can “greatly help reduce stress and anxiety in the workplace, and it can help people work together better.” Although it is studied and practiced in many other professions, such as the medical field, Dr. Swanson found that mindfulness is “rarely if ever, studied, discussed, or given any attention to in the communications disciplines”, even though it is a “very stressful field”. This discovery is what led him to study mindfulness in the field of communications, among both professionals and University students.

Dr. Swanson was drawn to the topic of mindfulness because of prior research that had been done in other professions as well as the benefits it can bring to people in the workplace. He says mindfulness can “greatly help reduce stress and anxiety in the workplace, and it can help people work together better.” Although it is studied and practiced in many other professions, such as the medical field, Dr. Swanson found that mindfulness is “rarely if ever, studied, discussed, or given any attention to in the communications disciplines”, even though it is a “very stressful field”. This discovery is what led him to study mindfulness in the field of communications, among both professionals and University students.

Mindfulness Defined and Workplace Relevance Explained by PR Professionals and PR Students

Data by Doug Swanson

Dr. Swanson expresses the importance of taking things one at a time and being flexible when it comes to mindfulness in order to maintain a smooth running work environment. The importance of this is because the best way rational decisions are made is when things are taken calmly and thought through. Swanson greatly emphasizes the importance of students not getting completely wrapped up in the stress their classes may bring, and reminds them that they do have a life outside of school and it is perfectly okay to take a break from school responsibilities.

Furthermore, Swanson has seen exceptional benefits and advantages when mindfulness is incorporated into his own workplace and with his own students as well. Swanson has now created his own mindfulness class, COMM 466T, Mindfulness and Media in PR. This class has the object of teaching students how to practice mindfulness as communication professionals. Swanson shares the anxiety and stress that a workplace can bring and this class helps in learning how to stay productive yet maintain peace of mind. Consuming media also requires the skill of mindfulness. Swanson highlights how easy it is to get consumed and frightened by the news we read, especially today where news can be altered in so many ways on social media. His solution is not to turn a blind eye to the news and ignore what is going on in the world but instead learn how to absorb this information and not let it affect us negatively. After taking this class, Swanson notes that students found a way to destress and become mindful on their own, which will help them in the long run professionally.

Source: The Economist

According to Dr. Swanson, the goal of social media is to make money through advertisements, and content is made purposefully alluring to draw people in and keep them continuously hooked and scrolling. This is why consumers must stay mindful of what they are seeing and how often they are seeing it. Student and professional success can be put at risk if the consumer is not mindful of how much media they are consuming on a daily basis. Consumers should not be so involved in social media that their physical and virtual worlds blur and become one. 

“I am not going to be so plugged in that this becomes my reality. I have to unplug and not be consumed by this.” 

Dr. Doug Swanson

Dr. Swanson expresses that public relations professionals have a hard time disconnecting from work. Those who are working in public relations have to stay alert to what is happening on social media, but it is important to develop a boundary between consuming media for work and for themselves. They have to know when they should know that work is done and have to set it aside. It is finding the balance between work and personal life and when to say when browsing social media is enough. 

The goal of public relations is prediction and control. Not to mention the ambiguity that comes with public relations. That is why Dr. Swanson recommends practicing mindfulness when going into any communication job, as well as setting up healthy habits as a student so that they can take these techniques into their professional careers. 

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