One of the reasons I have always LOVED social media, is because I get to watch how people communicate, across all the topics I care about (and those I don’t), in every corner of our world, 24/7 if I want to. I have always found the insight into humanity fascinating.
Of course, it’s not always pretty to witness what’s being discussed, but I’ve learnt to be dispassionate when I need to be – I can watch without feeling, I am merely an observer.
This is a mental health thing for me. If I can protect myself from emotions, I can be open to opposing points of view and better understand differences in opinions.
One thing I know for sure, getting caught up in rage is far too easy these days, especially when you observe the talent of those who know how to push our buttons. There is deep skill there.
Be like Andrea, be dispassionate ?.
To be dispassionate means not being influenced by strong emotions, so you can be rationale and impartial.
It’s definitely not easy.
The COVID-19 pandemic is offering a different glimpse into humanity at this time, and while the deniers, trolls and Bots continue to try to infiltrate our psyche, they are not as successful in dividing us as they have been in the past. Oh they get through, but a theory I’ve been pondering for some time is playing out in this crisis.
We can drown it out
And that theory is this: within any physical society, we have all sorts of people. Good, bad, racist, ignorant, intelligent, funny, naïve, religious, spiritual, angry, hilarious, not-so-smart, outrageous and more.
However, on social media, we have never achieved the balance of the human diaspora like we have in the physical world, which is why I believe it can be an uncomfortable place for many.
Right now, in the midst of this pandemic, more of us are communicating digitally than is typical, and we have been drowning out the negative voices – to an extent. This means (back to my theory) if enough of humanity participate on social media with meaning, love, kindness, support AND acceptance about the very truth before our eyes, there are – quite simply – too many of us speaking up for the negative voices to achieve their previously dominant position.
This is something we must hold onto after this crisis is over.
Negative Vs positive
I understand ALL of the negatives about social media, but I have always believed in, and focused on, its magnificent potential. I am constantly trying to open people’s eyes to the positive power and influence it can have in our society. We just need enough of us participating in meaningful ways to reach that potential.
Social media has been consistently hijacked by those who seek to divide us. If we can take that back, it will give us what we need to collectively drive the change needed in the world – right now, and beyond.
I invite you to join me, in every way.
Be a beacon on these platforms.
Own your voice.
Use our collective power to make the world the beautiful place we know it can be.
And most importantly, always be kind.
We’re all talking now
So here we are today, the world is in lock down and people are communicating everywhere. What are we seeing? Here’s a few characters I’m seeing. Any to add?
- The jokers and entertainers – starting with my favourites – the funny ones in our midst. They are brilliant. They break through our days and make us smile, even when we might be caught up in deep fear or worry! All praise to the jokers. We need you in the months ahead. Jokers know that raising spirits is an important contribution to humanity. Thank you. Keep it up.
- The leaders – a crisis will always bring leaders to the fore. They are not necessarily leaders of countries or companies (although some are doing great, other’s not so much) they are leaders in their communities – taking care of those who need it, coordinating, raising funds, and being awesome humans. Other’s lead with words and inspiration. Every crisis brings out leaders.
- The frightened – many are expressing deep fear right now. Before, social media might not have been a big part of their life, or it’s only ever been a place for light entertainment. This community is more active now and they are scared, with some fully expressing their fears. This group often share misinformation – not intentionally – because they are trying make sense of what is going on, and they’re looking for knowledge to help them address their fears. They are also looking for connection.
- The onliners – a very large part of my social community is moving their work online and they’re doing it fast and loud. I admire their quick thinking and fast moves, because I know they are looking to secure their future. Focus on what you can control, right? I can’t even think like this yet, and I know many feel the same, as we attempt to come to terms with a new reality. So to the onliners, I salute you, and you’ll be well placed when everyone is ready, but not everyone will be ready for a while to come.
- The communicators – this group are typically the sharers of knowledge across multiple topics in good times (yes I’m one), and we’re laser focused on the issue at hand in bad times. This group is in sharing mode, and because we have more time to read, watch and digest information, we are also sharing more information – because we want to help our community understand the issues and what we can do.
- The stir crazy – this group will grow as more and more enter into quarantine and isolation – especially as time goes on. The stir crazy – who tend to be very social naturally – will look for opportunities to reach out, share life, share reality, and just share! As time goes on, expect less make-up, less grooming, less poise, because it is sharing their truth which is more important at this time.
- The tone deaf – we always have tone deaf amongst us, and they are never far away. While examples of the ultra-wealthy and celebrities abound, the average tone deaf person isn’t typically strong on the emotional intelligence front, at the best of times. They often interact on social media out of tune with how the rest of the world is feeling and can be quite jarring at the moment, depending where you are in the world.
- The still working as normal – regardless of any crisis, there are always those who continue to work as normal. This doesn’t mean they’re actually working as normal, but the way they share and contribute online looks like they are. Look out for their top 10 tips on how to do something you have absolutely no interest in doing at the moment! This can be jarring if you’re the next person.
- The absorbers – this group are in the thick of the knowledge being circulated. They are attempting to understand the problem and coming to terms with the timeline of impact. They are very introspective, because they need to be while working it all out – usually in their head. The absorbers are best left alone, without distraction until they get to the bottom of this crisis.
- The spiritual – many are digging deep into the spiritual message of this time. They are rising to a higher level, and applying all that they have learnt to this crisis. While those who have never done the spiritual work might find it strange, it is a powerful experience playing out all over social media. There is much to be learnt about humanity in this time. Don’t ignore them.
- The positive pants – bless these people. Positive in every sense and a blessing in our world through good and bad times. They are not jokers or entertainers – although they can be – these people always have a genuine love of life and want to share that with the world. All praise the #PositivePants.
- The data sharers – go on over to Facebook and watch how many are doing online surveys – your colour, your sexy name, your…. Fill in the blanks. My friends, I know boredom and senselessness is kicking in, but every time you do this, you are sharing your data with Facebook, or the App owner of the survey. Remember Cambridge Analytica? Please do not do this! Just don’t.
- The deniers – I am used to deniers, because I’ve been fighting the climate crisis for years, which means I have experience contending with this crew. Regardless of my wish for it to be different, the deniers are prevalent in our midst – all the way to the highest levels of government and society. And yet, as country after country gets hit by the COVID-19 tsunami, they are still not silent, and they will kill people, because that is what happens when we ignore the very truth before our eyes.
- The religious – yes when moments like this happen, a surge of godliness is sure to follow – whether asking for god to intervene and save us all, or because god is angry with us for screwing it all up, or because god offers comfort to people in a crisis. I am not religious, but have no issue with people seeking comfort.
- The blamers – we couldn’t possibly go through a crisis like this without having someone to blame, right? And this community is active, pointing fingers, because they need this to make sense of where we are. The blame conversation will go on for many years to come, but I’m not convinced it serves us now. We’ve got a pandemic to deal with after all!!
- The visual storytellers – it’s a wonderful time for visual storytelling, as we all connect digitally across the globe. Many are sharing the mundane and beauty of life in isolation – children being home schooled, cats, dogs, etc.. – we’re all in the same boat now, if a little more privileged depending on where we live. I, too, am doing this, because keeping a record of this time is something I want to do for my boys. It’s memory making time.
- The conspiracy theorists – oh they are always around and I have to admit, I do like conspiracy theorists. I know there is some truth in the dark depths, just not in all dark depths. Like the deniers, I am not sure sharing conspiracy theories is particularly useful at this time, but many minds are delving into this area and this situation is providing an opportunity to explore.
- The tag 50 people – a new participator is emerging and they’re tagging 50 people (max number of tags) and asking you to share photos of yourself, record covers that influenced you, books, etc… It’s a way to pass the day and it’s a lovely thing to share, but by your 10th tag, well you ain’t feeling like participating any more. I got to be honest though, I’ve never participated – crisis or not.
- The private sharer – my phone is full of the same videos, the same memes and the same jokes, because so many people are sharing them privately. Some definitely should be shared privately, and many are doing this to keep spirits up in their communities, but every community I’m in is doing the exact same thing!! Can we move it online and reach everyone at the same time? That which should not be shared publicly can stay in private groups…..
- The climate fighters – now this is a group that has gone pretty quiet – for now. They know the world is not open to this conversation at the moment, even though it will soon be time to start again. We’ve got a new world to build on the other side of this, and the climate fighters know that significant change in how we run the world must be part of that.
There’s 20 characters of this time, help me build this out with a title and a short snippet below? Let’s see what we can do together?
But before that, let’s talk empathy
The reason I put this list together – which is purely based on observations of my community around the world – is this. People are responding negatively to how others are participating on social media.
And I just want to say to everyone
Don’t respond negatively.
If you think someone is oversharing, being a moron, being stupid, saying something you don’t like… just MOVE ON!! Find something you do like.
We are all expressing our truth in our own way, and whether you like it or not, it is unfair to lash out at people right now, just because it doesn’t resonate with how you feel. It doesn’t work for you? Move on.
The social media environment has been a hostile place for a decade. Some experience this hostility more than others, but right now, we’re all in this together, and we have a wonderful opportunity to be kind.
A unique opportunity to transform ourselves
One of the messages coming through loud and clear during this crisis, is we have an opportunity to transform humanity. To elevate ourselves. To become better people and a better world out the other side of this pandemic – whenever that happens.
However, if we continue to attack each other, deride and ridicule each other, hate each other, and close off from any other way of thinking, other than what is deeply entrenched in our minds already… well guess what? We’re not going to be able to achieve that.
In fact, life will be worse afterwards, and that’s why I wrote this post. Now is an opportunity to come together, be kinder, more patient, and gentler on those who think differently to us.
We also need to develop self-restraint. If nasty thoughts come into our heads and we feel like posting them? Well maybe it’s time to rein ourselves in, huh?
I would love it if we all asked ourselves the only question that matters – am I making the world a better place? Or am I contributing to its darkness?
Let’s use this crisis to finally stop all of this horrible nonsense we’ve witnessed and endured on social media for years. Let’s stop the hatred and division.
If there is one thing this pandemic has showed us, it is this: the division across our world has made this crisis far more lethal than it needed to be, and we must come back together as a united race, so we can work together to end this crisis and overcome a world in pain, after which we must stay united to rebuild our world and the economy.
And for those of us not sitting in fear, we need to:
- Acknowledge that many are in fear, and do our best to help and reassure them – if we have the capacity within us to do it
- Share information that will help those in fear understand the situation, so that they can let go of the fear a little bit
- Not belittle anyone who expresses their fear publicly, because that will make it worse. Everyone expresses fear in different ways, time to tune into that
- Understand that people expressing anger can also be expressing fear, so let’s be more gentle than normal during this time
People will do and say weird things, and we have an opportunity to dig into our emotional intelligence and empathy to say: go for it! I understand this is what you need to do right now. I won’t judge you, and I hope my social presence alongside you will be a soothing balm for your soul.
That’s our job right now. To be kind and gentle with each other, regardless of any behaviour we see. Oh sure, pick people up for sharing information you think is unhelpful to the situation, but do it gently. It is a time to be gentle. There is enough pain.
What do you think? Any “types” to add to the list.
With love and kindness
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I believe it’s time for all of us to embrace our voice and embrace the future. We do this by working and living ‘out loud’ with meaning, intention, integrity and by being true to ourselves. If you own your voice, you will own your future.
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