Viral TED: When does an“idea worth spreading” become activism?
TED Talks are known as bite-sized clips of “ideas worth spreading.”
But where is the line between “spreading” and idea and “oversharing?”
TMI. Oversharing. “Did they really just say that?”
Certain TED Talks have gone viral, but so have many video clips on social media. TED is one of the greatest examples of how we can use social media and the world wide web for creative good.
Social media is where we also find a lot of “healthy” overshares. That’s what a wonderful organization called WEGO Health calls…a “Health Activist.”
Health Ac•tiv•ist, noun — A blogger, tweeter, or community leader helping others navigate their health. (You can endorse me as a Health Activist here!)
I’m so honored to be nominated for a WEGO Health Activist Award. In their words, “these activist all-stars are putting 110% effort into changing the healthcare landscape and empowering the patient voice.”
I know what you’re thinking.
Social media? What on earth does that have to do with health advocacy?
More than you think.
We live in the age of “oversharing.” On social media, we can say anything and often times, we do.
But did you know that oversharing can actually be good for you?
From my own decade of medical isolation, I learned that nobody can heal in a vacuum. Being able to reach out for help and find support is what helps us realize we’re not alone. Sometimes we need to share…and overshare. It’s how we find strength in numbers.
Seven Things I Was Scared to Overshare That Ended Up Helping Other People
- What it’s like having an open wound
- Feeling conflicted about testifying against my abuser
- Dealing with undeserved shame after sexual abuse
- Getting pulled over by the cops when I tried to run for my life
- Learning to accept my ostomy
- Explaining to kids what my scars are from
- Dealing with confusing symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
None of these articles were easy to write — or share. But, after almost losing my life, I’m hoping to share the lessons trauma can teach all of us — an appreciation of the world’s everyday miracles and beautiful detours.
Why am I sharing my detour? It takes “guts” to talk — and sing — about my sexual abuse ,my anger, my guilt, how I lost hope in things ever getting better. But I share to show that things DO get better with patience, trust and resilience.
5 Ways DETOURS are Transforming Mental Health
- Why we all need to fight in the open
- Why we’re all Detourists — including you!
- Why we all deserve to be creative
- How I’m bringing together “Detourists” from all over — read their stories!
- How I’m bringing mental health to students
I share to give courage and a sense of belonging to people who are struggling with all kinds of mental health or physical challenges, but also to help build a campus that gives everyone the kind of awareness and generosity of spirit that makes that world a better place. If we all share our “detours”, we see that our detours are not detours at all. Every road leads somewhere — we just need to hang in long enough to catch the flowers along the way. The more we share our detours, the more we realize we’re not alone.
I share my story to find the upside of obstacles and “detours”, and to welcome the unexpected change in my “thought-out” life to see what opportunities may arise from that deviation in my path. I try to experience my struggles, and then transform them into something I can grow from.
Basically, all that means is, when there’s an obstacle, we are going to feel negative things — shame, frustration, sadness, anger, guilt. But the great part is that all of those emotions are just…ENERGY!
So if all those awful feelings are just energy, why don’t we just transform that energy into something positive? (Which we can do through creativity!)
Why Social Media Helps
That’s what I hope to show on social media. To me, being a WEGO Health Activist means that I can use profiles, handles, posts, tweets, pics and accounts to be open, honest and “account”-able. It took me a long time before I could find the courage to be so vulnerable with the world wide web, and some things I share are still not easy to always talk about.
You can endorse me as a Health Activist by clicking here.
So that’s why I’m an Activist — a Health Activist. I try to make “health” an active word. A “Detourist” — which I talked about in my TEDx Talk actively embraces a detour. If you embrace that unexpected path, you’re a health activist too!
Social media is here to stay — whether we like it or not. So, just like we can transform pain, fear, shame and negativity, let’s transform, reinvent and reimagine how we view the influence social media has on our world. Let’s use it to all be Health Activists.
How You Can Be a Health Activist by “Oversharing”
So next time you’re hash-tagging an Instagram pic, or scrolling your Facebook feed, think about one positive message you can share.
Maybe it’s an inspirational quote. Maybe it’s a calming picture of the ocean. Maybe it’s openly sharing a struggle you had that day.
Or maybe it’s just reading someone else’s story and commenting, “Thank you,” “I understand,” or “I’m here for you.”
#RT that! with #NoFilter! (Like!)
How can YOU be a Health Activist today?