Social media has changed the world. In so many ways, it makes things better. In so many ways, it makes things worse.
What’s better? We all have so many opportunities to stay in touch with our support systems…family and friends. We have access to information like never before. Nonprofits like A Better Way are able to make our services known to those in need at much less expense than in pre-social media days. We can post educational information, describe our services, keep people up-to-date, fundraise, recruit volunteers and fill positions, all without prohibitive financial cost.
What is worse? Too many people post things that are simply not true, and too many people are quick to believe what they read, without giving consideration to the source. Spreading false information only does harm, and there is a lot of that happening on social media…it’s just so easy.
At various times, and especially in recent weeks, A Better Way has been the subject of untrue information being posted. It seems the best we can do is wait it out. In many cases, we are prohibited from posting a response. Even if we did, the bad seed has already been planted.
What I ask is that people stop impulsively reacting to posts as if they are the truth, when they have no direct experience or evidence to support what they are propagating. When you share, post, tweet, or use any method to repeat potentially untrue information, you are doing what we called gossiping in “the old days”. It does no good whatsoever, and it is just as wrong today as it ever was, regardless of the method.
Together, we can turn this around if we truly want to do it. Continue to use social media to stay in touch with those who bring goodness to your life. Expand your knowledge by following reputable sources. Encourage and support others, those you know and those you do not. Give people a reason to laugh or smile. AND…stop believing everything you see posted. Stop reposting when you clearly have no depth of knowledge regarding the authenticity of the original post. Refuse to resort to name-calling and negativity. Work to overcome your addiction to social media, and use it only for good.
If we all decide to change it, it will be changed. Social media can once again become a tool of connection, encouragement, education and support. It can be fun again.