When you sit down to the keyboard, it’s easy to forget that there are human beings on the other end of what you type. These unseen people are reading, sharing, and taking stock of what you say and how you say it. You post to a friend, your friend shares, his or her friend shares and off your thoughts and words go to both friends and strangers without you even trying. You don’t really know who your audience is or how widely your words will be seen.
When you think about what you say on social media in terms of who might be seeing it, it should drive home the point that people will react to what you say. If you have trouble imagining this, think about your reaction when you see a friend’s post on Facebook. How does it make you feel? Does it make you wonder why you are following this person? Does it make you angry or feel uncomfortable? Do the posts turn your otherwise positive mood negative? You get the point. What to see on social media does affect the way you feel. If it affects you, then the same will be true of others.
As discouraging as all the negative things you see online may be, there is a simple step you can take to combat it. Simply put, be kind. That’s right. Trying a little kindness will go a long way to setting a good example for those online and make you feel better about your online activity.
Whether it is a friends post that makes your blood boil or something you see posted by someone you don’t know, try to be compassionate. Think twice before you click on a reaction button or type out a reply. Skip the urge to share or repost a message that doesn’t relay a positive sentiment and give the poster the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps he or she is unaware of how it sounds.
If you really want to be proactive about online kindness, join an online initiative that is working to spread the word about how to make social media a kinder gentler place. A good example of this type of initiative is the #sociallykindproject. The goal of the project is to start a conversation about social media and how it can be a positive experience. Simple steps, such as thinking about what you type before you hit enter can go a long way toward helping make social media a better place.
I can't think of a better way to consistently #BeAwesome than to practice kindness everywhere you go.
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Hollie Clere of The Social Media Advisor is a “#BeAwesome” Developer, Social Media, Brand Builder, Content Manager, Trainer and Author in LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Blog, Google+,YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram and the tools to manage them.
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