Social media is by far and large the most popular and accessible way we consume news, share our opinion, and try to change the world we live in. It can be inspiring to see people get passionate about various causes. On the flip side, it can be overwhelming and seemingly hopeless. We’ve all thought, “if I share this article will anyone read it?” Or, “will changing my profile picture, really help make a difference?” We worry that we will come off as argumentative if we state our opinion, or annoying if we post something more thought provoking than a sports clip or a “take me back to my luxury vacation” photo. What if literally no one likes, shares, or comments on our attempt to stir the newsfeed pot and we just look like an opinionated loser that nobody supports?
That thought process ends now. We should all aim to use social media as a way to make a positive change in the world.
1.The chance of someone else sharing what you post increases by 100% if you actually muster up the courage to share it.
Monkey can’t do if the monkey can’t see. As someone with slightly “against the grain” (pun intended) views on what we should eat as a society (vegan alert), there have been times where I’ve been nervous about posting things my carnivorous friends will scoff at. But if just one person shares my post with their social circle, that makes all the difference. Fun fact: The average American has about 350 friends on Facebook. Assuming there is minimal overlap, that’s a brand spanking new audience of 350+ people who are now exposed (algorithm permitting) to this beaming message of hope or change. Gotta love multiplication.
2. Awareness is the first step to becoming passionate about an issue.
This calls for a case study. Let’s take the great Ice Bucket Challenge of 2014. So cold, much water. People got fired up about little stunt, and rightfully so. There will always be situations where people participate in things on social media for sheer attention or acceptance. But I’ll tell you what. After that, awareness for ALS was higher than it was before. And people donated. It is physically impossible to care about something if you haven’t experienced or heard of it before. Nothing says “awareness” like the ice-cold reality of brain freeze.
3. Debate is how we work out our differences and find common ground.
Now, if you have 350+ friends on Facebook, odds are you will have some differences when it comes to morals or political beliefs. One of the best parts about human relationships is that, despite growing up in different places and having different life experiences, we can come together and learn things from each other. But because we are so different, we don’t always agree. And then we argue; because we believe our views to be true and don’t want our friends to walk around thinking something that is just plain wrong, bless their little heart. Here is the good news about debating on social media: these people are actually your friends, family, and/or co-workers. They care what you have to say. They may not agree, but they will still listen and be more open to new ideas simply because it is coming from a known source.
4. Opinions can be silent, but deadly.
We’ve all had that moment where we see an article in our newsfeed, read it, take it all in, and for whatever reason do not leave any evidence or acknowledgement to the owner of said post. Now, this could have happened for a number of reasons. We could see it first thing in the morning and simply forget to comment. We could be embarrassed to show support. We could not want our ex to think we are stalking their page, much less agreeing with anything they have to say. However, we can still have our opinions about that video we just watched on water conservation, for example. And then we can turn those opinions into actions. Because really, who know a single almond took that many gallons of water to produce?
So what have you got to lose? Get out there and share.