We need to stop fuelling the negative side of social media
How can we change our own perception of social media? Let’s try to make social media more inspiring. One post at a time.
Chances are that if you search for ‘social media’ you’ll find posts about fake news, trolls, hacks, election scandals and hate attacks.
Social media has earned a controversial reputation, that’s for sure. There are many things that need to change.
There is an increasing number of studies that show how it can have a negative impact on our health. There are even more studies that show how people are losing trust in social media.
The question is, what do we actually do for all these? As with everything that we don’t like, why don’t we try to make it better?
It is estimated that there are almost 3.9 billion Internet users. What if half of them were posting more positive messages?
What if millions of people were posting at least ONE positive message in one day?
Our digital world would be completely different.
We are surrounded by negative news and fake stories. Whether we realise it or not, these posts affect us even without realising it.
There’s a different feeling and reaction when we log in to see a stressful or negative story on our news feeds comparing to a positive one. And I’m talking about genuinely positive and inspiring stories not just images of fake happiness.
When you see trolls taking over a post, you feel the urge to reply. When you see a viral story, you have more chances to share it if your friends do. When someone is posting a happy photo from the beach, we feel the need to like this.
But we tend to forget that social media is not an alternative reality. It should be treated as another part of our own lives, rather than an artificial life.
Fake happiness sells
That’s what we tend to do wrong. We think that happiness “sells” on social media and we end up constructing a fake social identity that we only share happy and news that makes us boast about our achievements.
What we actually need though is genuinely inspiring stories. From a random act of kindness on the way to work to a nice message that made your day.
We tend to highlight the grand moments of our lives on social when we forget how small things can make a difference.
And it’s liberating to celebrate the tiniest moment that made you happy. It inspires more people to post similar messages. And luckily, such posts still get great engagement.
That’s how we end up in a genuinely inspiring news feed of people being open, more positive and more authentic.
Why #ReclaimSocial resonates with so many people
We came up with the campaign of #ReclaimSocial at Lightful in December 2017.
We wanted to launch a campaign that aligned with our values and our belief that social media can be really inspiring. We just tend to forget highlighting such moments.
The message was simple, “there’s too much negativity out there, let’s #ReclaimSocial for good.”
On February 6 of 2018, #ReclaimSocial reached 10 million people and gave us a refreshing glimpse of positivity.
People were sharing all kinds of inspiring messages saying that they can finally find the encouragement to talk about important things.
But one day is not enough. That’s why we’re turning this campaign into an annual reminder that social media can be more positive.
#ReclaimSocial in 2019
It’s very exciting people tweeting about positive campaigns that inspire them or how nonprofits make an impact with their work. Publishers may think that these stories don’t make a great headline, but we actually need more of these posts.
They are genuinely inspiring and they help us see a different side of social media where people come together agreeing that not everything is negative.
This year we’re focusing on positive messaging. And we’d love to see as many positive messages as possible during the day.
Let’s stop fuelling the negative side of social media. Let’s #ReclaimSocial for good.
If you want to see a different side of social media, just keep an eye on #ReclaimSocial on February 6.
How to improve your social media experience
As with every change, it’s easy to say that you can’t change the world on your own. But what if we all started monitoring our online habits to improve them?
- Be more mindful: Focus on your digital wellbeing and mental health. Analyse your online habits and eliminate what’s stressing you.
- Treat online conversations as your real-life ones: Many people use their online “anonymity” (if it’s still treated as such) to talk in a different way than they would in their everyday lives. If we all started applying this, social media would be really different.
- Be more cautious: A fun quiz test that needs to access your data is not that “innocent” anymore. The same occurs with the email that is supposedly coming from your bank and is asking you to reply with your bank’s login details.
- Focus on what matters: It’s easy to jump on a conversation with trolls or angry people to try to change their minds. Although it’s a good idea to get involved in a healthy conversation, you don’t want to get too involved. The same occurs with those people you may be following on Instagram and make you feel bad about your life or your body. Let’s focus on what matters.
- Filter information: Fake news is everywhere. And we can’t always tell if it’s accurate. We can still filter information though before we share it.
- Be more positive: There is too much negativity on social media. There is also an abundance of fake happiness. What if we started changing this narrative with genuinely positive stories that can make our days?
Now you may be wondering, will these things make everything perfect? Definitely not. But we can try to improve our online experience to be more mindful and resilient.
I truly believe that social media can be more inspiring. And it’s exciting to see that the message of #ReclaimSocial resonates with many people that we’re talking to on a day to day basis.
One step a time. One glimpse of positivity. One small win to celebrate.