Something about social media makes people feel free to be total asses. They say rude, nasty things that they’d never say face to face.
I want to second these positive vibes from Frank Eliason (click to read the full post):
For those of us who have participated in social media for years, we have grown to respect how the space can drive change. In fact, if you are like me, you love it. Ordinary citizens have the power to drive change in government, or in some of the biggest institutions on the planet. As a Customer Service person, I love how it is changing the status of Customer Service within organizations. As an observer of the phenomenon I know the world is changing, and I hope it is all for the better. At the same time I have been watching conversations via social media becoming more snarky and personal attacks seem to be growing. I do not think most people do this, but what has occurred is we attract people with many of our same ideals which further validate our position. Then when others question this position we go on the attack. Often times social media is referred to as a cocktail party, but when would you call someone an idiot or worse things, while at a cocktail party? Okay some of you might, but I think most of us would be more respectful of their views, and often be open to listening.
There are numerous examples of the negativity in action, including hot topics like #NBCFail, Olympics, Penn State, Chick-Fil-a, the Presidential election, Health Care legislation, and the list goes on. I have seen so many posts on each of these topics that start with ‘If you do not agree with…you are…” What happened to having a dialogue? That is what social media is really about. One of my favorite topics to follow involved a young girl named Cathryn Sloan. There were numerous posts that called her numerous things, all because she expressed a view. For those who may not have heard of Catheryn, she is an aspiring writer trying to make a difference, not that different to many of us when we were 25. She recently did a post on NextGen Journal titled ”Every Social Media Manager Should Be Under 25.” Needless to say this put many social media managers on edge to tell her how she knows nothing. Were we fully listening to her? Did we create an environment that would allow for a thoughtful discussion? I am not sure we did. It was very personal and the attacks were piling on. But why? People viewed her post was an attack on them. We talk often how important it is to listen via social but I am not sure we are always doing that …
… We used to think the best was ahead of us, but due to the economy, negativity from politicians (in my view this is from all sides of the political spectrum), and other shifts within society (including social media), many of us have lost that belief. It is time we as a society start bringing that back and it starts with us. I think we can easily do that by starting with a day to recognize the positive things in our life, even things companies are doing well and others around us. I picked August 14, 6 months after Valentine’s day. I like the #positivelysocial hashtag recommended by Cari Sultanik but if you have other ideas for naming it, please include that in the comments.
If you like the idea, please help me spread the word to others. Driving change by recognizing the positive can help send a message and have just as strong an influence as the negative. I think it is time for us to lead this!