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Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about whether or not I’m adding value when I’m online.
There is so much I love about social media and the internet in general.
I get to hear about things I’d never otherwise have known about, like this temple in India that serves free meals to up to 40,000 people a day.
Also, I’d probably never have discovered that blind cavefish hold clues to prehistoric times or that this 100-year-old-man is out-volunteering the rest of us. I mean, wow! Right?
The Not So Great Stuff
Buuuuut…there’s also stuff I don’t enjoy.
Along with learning about all these really amazing things, comes the need to wade through a quagmire of information I’d really rather not have known about.
You can ‘filter’ and ‘unfollow’ all you want, but spend time online and sooner or later you’re going to bump up against something unsavoury.
I used to share information about how badly factory-farmed animals are treated. As a vegan, I thought this was what I was supposed to be doing. I’ve since come to realise that I can’t change the world through my words (or retweets).
If anything is going to have a positive effect on the people around me it’s the way I live my life.
Recently, an ex-colleague of mine expounded on Twitter about how great she’s been feeling since she stopped eating meat. She said she’d been inspired by me.
For the record, I never forced her to watch Cowspiracy. I swear!
From now on I’m going to make a point of sharing my thoughts (or the thoughts of others) only when I think it will add value. I may not always get it right, but I figure even setting the intention is a step in the right direction.
It might mean I ending up posting less frequently, but on the other hand, maybe it’ll inspire me to look extra hard for value and in doing so, find it everywhere. You just don’t know.
5 Adding Value Commandments
‘Commandments’ is a strong word and sounds a bit prescriptive, but who cares. I’m going with it anyway. Feel free to insert whatever word you’re most comfortable with. ‘Suggestions’ comes to mind, although it seems a little wishy-washy. Or is that just me?
Share Only That Which Is Uplifting
There’s always the risk of being too Pollyanna, but you know what, if the alternative is being a Debbie Downer or worse, a Cassie Complainer, it’s not even a question. I’m going with glass half full. For all the bad stuff that’s happening in the world, there’s plenty of good stuff too. So why not share that instead?
Share Only That Which Will Make People Smile
Again, maybe a bit Pollyanna, but I’d rather share something that will make you smile (even if it’s another cat video), than something that has you recoiling in abject horror. We need to smile more. Kids smile on average 400 times a day, whereas adults barely manage 20. (Granted, they’re happier because they don’t have rent to pay, but still.)
Share Only That Which Will Restore People’s Faith in Humanity
We’re inundated with bad news that’s replayed over and over again. It’s little wonder then, that we believe the world is going to hell in a hand basket. It’s actually not. It’s just that the amazing things happening in the world right now don’t get the same airtime. I want to share more of that stuff.
Share Only That Which Is Helpful, Kind and Constructive
Something might be true, but that doesn’t mean I need to say it or share it or whatever. If I’m not being helpful, kind or constructive, I’ll rather keep my thoughts to myself and instead, go with Thumper on this one: “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.”
Share Only That Which I Believe In
The internet is overflowing with people who want to have their message heard. When the competition is that rife it’s easy to hop on someone else’s bandwagon if I think it might further my own cause. That’s not the worst idea, unless their message isn’t in keeping with my own. Then it’s a really rubbish idea.