“I don’t like being online for very long. It makes me feel awful.”
“Everyone is exhausted and overwhelmed. I don’t want to add to the noise.”
“I feel like everyone is angry and yelling online.”
“I hate how fake people are on social media.”
Are concerns like these keeping you from sharing your Big Vision online? I totally get it if they are, but the thing is, the world needs your Big Vision and you need to make it easy for them to find you. Rather than resist the online world, we need people like you to change our collective online culture so that it brings us together rather than tears us apart.
When I began working in the world of online communication 13 years ago, social media held the possibility of creating connection across the globe. It helped us to find like-minded people who shared our interests and beliefs. But somewhere along the way, the ability to connect with people who were like us began to show its shadow side. As we customized our online life to fit our unique interests and beliefs, our tolerance for people who didn’t fit into that framework decreased.
I’m not just talking about politics, although of course that is huge right now. I’ve seen it happen around any strongly held belief: religion, health, diet, how to raise your kids, even “positivity.” I’ve seen Facebook and Instagram posts that say things like, “I’m only surrounding myself with positive people.” Now we’re creating us/them dynamics based on thought patterns and personality? Oh boy.
I get why this is happening at this point in history. It’s a pretty scary time on a lot of levels. When humans feel scared they fight (online yelling) or flee (“Stay away from me negative people!”). There’s absolutely nothing wrong with having strong opinions, standing up for what you believe in, being angry, or having boundaries, but it does matter how you express these things.
Social media and other forms of online communication are not innately bad. They’ve helped to build movements, raise awareness, and connect people in all kinds of positive and productive ways, BUT because there is an impersonal glowing screen between us and the people we’re reaching with our words, images, and videos, it can also contribute to dehumanizing people who are different than us.
It’s time to move out of our online adolescence and into our online maturity. It’s time to bring more “com-“ (prefix meaning with, or together) into our collective online life. It’s time to ask ourselves when we post online, will this:
- Facilitate real communication?
- Build healthy community?
- Increase compassion?
- Benefit the common good?
It’s time to post with care.
Online communication tools are extremely powerful. They can influence our individual and collective lives. If you feel resistance towards using them, but have a Big Vision for how to help people individually, or collectively, don’t give up on them.
Use them to create change.
Use them to bring us together.
Use them to #PostwithCare❤
How do you feel about the direction our collective online culture is going?
If you’re unhappy with it, how do you think we can change it?
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Photo of Yosemite Valley by Michael Liao on Unsplash