Social media has so much potential to be a powerful platform for change—if people would actually stop and listen versus simply absorbing the surface level information that flitters into their feeds.
I recently shared an article on social media that was about the political state of our country. It’s important to me that I become more involved, more vocal, and more active about where I stand on important issues. It’s important for so many more reasons than I have time to go into in this message. But the point? I was reading, and then I shared something that felt important.
Can you guess what happened?
Followed by another comment.
Which lead to the beginning of an argument.
I deleted the comments.
Not because I don’t think these conversations are important to be having with each other (I do), but because the comments weren’t productive. The issue wasn’t that “I’m right” and the other person is “wrong and horrible,” it’s that the other person didn’t even read the article I shared.
She simply reacted to a headline and a pulled quote. Making condescending and unproductive remarks. Which instigated the beginnings of an argument. An argument that had nowhere to go. Because it started on hollow ground.
Focus on the content if you want to engage in the conversation.
Don’t just read the headline or the paragraph that someone highlighted. Don’t even just read what they have to say about it. Read the actual content. Absorb the information, even if it doesn’t align with your beliefs, and feel into what’s true for you. Then engage in a productive conversation.
I know these times are hard and scary. I know that we’re angry and there’s a lot of hate flying around. I know that what’s happening seems unbelievable and insurmountable at times. But if we want to actually have an impact—actually create changes that are important and needed—we have to be willing to engage productively. We have to look beyond the surface layer that shows up in our feeds.
Headlines often misrepresent the content. They’re designed to make you click or share.
Stop just clicking and sharing.
Stop just reacting to the marketing.
Stop perpetuating things that aren’t even true.
Stop mindlessly engaging without all the information.
Want to “be the change”?
Start focusing on the content.
Start doing your research.
Start checking your sources.
Start asking productive questions.
Start being thoughtful in how you engage.
I’m not saying to stop having the conversations or to stop sharing what you feel compelled to share. I’m simply requesting that we all be more intentional with what we put out and how we engage. That we’re more purposeful with our words and how we use these channels.
Author: Stephenie Zamora
Images: courtesy of author, Wiki
Volunteer Editor: Josie Myers/Editor: Travis May