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Where’s the Love in Social Media ?

This year social media sites have seen an influx of negativity beyond all reason. Some is over the election, but also over the news around the world of violence and hate speech.

It’s created a content crisis for social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, where hate speech and fake news is rampant. This has led to reforms in the rules on these networks to try to stem the tide and identify fake news as well as hate speech. Social media sites upped their moderation policies, but sometimes even that backfired.

A tool called Hoaxy popped up recently to help track fake news stories on Twitter, and it’s pretty shocking to search just about anything to find wild tales have been shared hundreds or even thousands of times. Some are true, but the pack mentality against “the other side” fuels spreading these posts without consideration. Then things escalate and get ugly.

Social media is about being social

Social media sites offer us an amazing opportunity to learn from people from different walks of life, cultures and belief systems with an open mind. A mind that is open to understanding and has empathy for others around the world, and being kind to those we may not fully understand. We may not always agree, but if we respond with negativity we’re driving the conversation down a rabbit hole it may not recover from.

Let’s try kindness

Next time you’re triggered by someone’s social media post, stop. Be thoughtful about your response.It’s easy, perhaps lazy, to pop off a witty retort, but are you fueling negativity? That’s only going to result in more negativity reflected back at you.

  • Take a breath and notice how the post makes you feel.
  • Think about the answer you want to dash off.
  • Is it something you’ll regret later?
  • Exercise your ability to take the high road to be kind, even in a difficult situation.

Other people face the same challenges and want the same things for themselves as we do. They want to be happy, healthy and feel safe, just like we do. The practice of “loving kindness”, also known as “Metta”, is one of the foundations of mindfulness practice. Metta practice is a sincere wish for the welfare and genuine happiness of all beings, without exception. Some say that feels frivolous, or “woo woo”, but the effect of practicing Metta can be dramatic. Read More

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