Peaceniks do it. Charity workers do it. Those who dedicate their lives to community do it. “Social” media-ites and community journalist junkies do it too.
They promote hatred and negativity and undermine their own beliefs on a daily basis.
Bad news spreads fast, and now that we are all able to tweet terror attacks, share photos of dismembered babies on Facebook, or reveal corruption on our blogs – the barrage of bad news is overwhelming. We blame main stream media for pushing a damaging, negative agenda – but we are just as much to blame. This is our responsibility now – we chose whether to share or delete. Be careful what you say, and how you say it and ask yourself whether the “information” you are sharing will help the cause that moves you. This is not about being unrealistic – it’s about balance.
If you tweet bad in order to shock people into action – I question the effectiveness. Shock is not always the best incentive for change, and sometimes your actions may generate hopelessness or worse still hatred or revenge. “The world needs to know” is noble, but can be naive. Our voices thrown together can distort. And the perception of a situation may become based on vulgarities rather than actualities. Have a quick search on your phone or PC under the words “Iraq, Pakistan or Somalia” and tell me how much light and hope there is on a single page. Does this reflect the 99.9% of the populations in these countries that strive for peace and have goodness in their hearts?
As a mother I know that to raise my children on fear and negativity would be unhealthy. If you genuinely want to heal something (like a community in conflict) – there is nothing better than shining a bright spotlight on the good and being fair and balanced about the challenges. Tabloid doesn’t nurture.
So before you share bad – at the very least think also about sharing good. Seek out dramatic examples of cooperation and kindness (see this Gaza blog). Teach yourself where cohesion exists as much as where conflict exists. Know as much about interfaith marriages and unions as you do wars. Spread word of the brave and the kind as much as you do about the mean and the murderous. Share news of empowered women – not just about the abused.
So Inspire. And put the “social” back into social media.
Check out @thegoodbalance on Twitter