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Rural Alberta program director Gruff Gushnowski emphasizes the importance of maintaining mental health online

By on October 30, 2023

Social media can be a good resource for professionals in any media outlet. Gruff Gushnowski, program director of Rural Alberta, shares his experience throughout the 30 years of his career, his relationship with social media and highlights the importance of maintaining mental health while using it.

Q: How do you use social media personally?

A: I use social media for information, entertainment, and mostly sports. I enjoy my social media because I do what I want, and I can find easily what I’m looking for. But there is something that I don’t like, I don’t dive into any bullying or any online negativity. If it happens, I’ll mute people, I’ll block people, or I’ll mute comments. I also try to stay away from politics. That’s not what I’m going to do. I know some people do, but this is not for me. I like seeing cute cats and dogs, my social media experience is positive.

Q: How do you use social media professionally?

A: It’s a lot different. It’s more posting. We try to keep the information updated, but with the changes with Meta here in Canada, the information that we used to put out mostly is not possible anymore because we don’t want to run out of our Facebook pages and get blocked. What we do now is post community events or any kind of Entertainment.

Q: What challenges do you face using social media?

A: The Meta news is a huge challenge, especially for our radio stations. Our listeners relied on us to pass information online, and we are not doing that anymore because we don’t want our Facebook pages to get shut down. Also, the big amount of negativity is a big challenge. We cannot monitor every time we put a post up, it would take all day. And many people like to go on Facebook and post bad things. The biggest challenge for us outside the Meta is just monitoring to make sure bad messages are not there.

Q: What are the benefits of using social media?

A: Interaction, entertainment, and inspiration. I like it because it’s a chance to interact with people you don’t see regularly. I feel that I can be involved in my friends and family’s lives even though I am not involved physically.

Q: What are the disadvantages of using social media from your point of view?

A: There is very little accountability on social media. People can spread any rumor or lie, and they automatically start attacking other people. For me, the spreading of hate, the spreading of misinformation, and the lying are the worst things in social media. People can post whatever they want, and you cannot prove who they are, so there is no accountability.

Q: How do you feel using social media interferes with your work?

A: Social media can be very mentally exhausting. When someone is behind another name, they send messages saying, ‘Gruff, you are terrible, get off the air!’ It’s horrible. We are humans, and of course, it affects us. That’s the negative part of social media, and it can be hard on mental health.

Q: How do you explain the importance of using social media as a media professional nowadays?

A: Especially in Radio or TV, it all depends on what you try to achieve with your brand. For example, in the K-97 morning show, people are not coming to your page or to your post looking for political analysis or anything like that, they are coming to your page for entertainment. You can still be that political person if that’s the part of the brand you’re trying to achieve. My character in the radio is close to my real-life persona, and that’s how I want to perceive my social media accounts. It’s important that whatever the brand wants to portray themselves as you want the social media like that.

Gushnowski also has his podcast called ‘Nothing to Hide’ and everyone is invited to listen to it.



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