Are You Social Media Mindful?
It seems like everyday there is another tragedy – from France’s extended state of emergency to the collapse of yet another construction crane in New York City. Countless people choose to weigh-in. With so much devastation surrounding us, it is my belief that there is no room for meaningless negativity on social media.
As children we were often reminded, “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” This rule is something we should have carried into our adult lives. When you’re mad at your boss, you don’t scream in his face. You’re more likely to express your frustrations to someone you trust behind closed doors or find another outlet to expel your emotions (yoga, running, painting, screaming into a pillow…). We don’t yell at our bosses, because we don’t want to be fired. So why have we decided to turn social media into an open-book diary?
Something to Remember:
Your social media posts can be seen by everyone. Sure, your profile may be set to “private” and you’re not “friends” with your boss, but maybe one of your friends is dating someone who is a distant relative to your boss. Your friend went to her boyfriend’s family reunion and left her phone behind. Guess who now has that phone. In your boss’s effort to find the owner of the device left at his house, he turns it on, and the first thing to pop up is your post on social media ranting about how awful he is. What happens next?
Another possibility is that you posted about the recent shooting in Dallas. You post some pretty ugly things, but you have every right to publish your extreme distaste of the police. What you don’t realize is that one of those officers killed in Dallas was actually the godfather of one of your “friends.” He volunteered countless hours to the inner-city big brother program and to making sure families of all races had enough food to eat. He was extremely close with his goddaughter, serving as the father she never had, since hers passed away when she was a baby. Your post about how the police deserved what was coming to them was the first thing she saw when she opened up her social media feed.
I made up both of those stories. My point is, everyone can see what you post, and you have no idea how your post might affect someone. In lieu of the recent tragedies, here are a few tips about posting mindfully.
Come back to that golden rule we all grew up hearing: if you don’t have something nice to [post], don’t [post] anything at all. The best way to cultivate a more positive news feed is simply by posting positively. Post with a smile, figuratively or with an emoji. Personally, I like to post pictures of my cats, but maybe you aced your presentation at work today, and that is AWESOME!
In Times of Despair
Something is happening in the world and someone has been affected by it. If you follow Bad Yogi closely, you may have felt a strong sense of fear and urgency for Erin and Adrien during the recent attack in Nice, France. I know I did. In moments like this, it is hard to post positively. It’s also hard to turn a blind eye to an event that has put the people you care about in danger. When you post, there are a couple things you may way to keep in mind:
- Keep it short –
i.e. “Praying for those affected by the attack in Nice.” (You could even include a credible link describing the event with more updates and details)
- Speak your mind, but add a positive twist.
When you post about an event, it may seem hard to post with a positive underlying message. Stating your genuine concern backed with love is enough. The reason you are posting is because it has affected you somehow and you are hoping for change. Take a positive turn by including a simple call-to-action (“Let someone know you love them today, because you never know what tomorrow may bring,” etc.).
DO NOT Post About Things You Don’t Know About
Not really into politics? Don’t post about how candidate X will make the worst president in history. All you are doing is inviting a social media style MMA match to happen. If you have a positive opinion about candidate Y, that’s great! Point blank – if you’re going to post about something, make sure you are informed by credible sources.
The awareness that arises through paying attention on purpose in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.
As yogis we strive to be mindful in all we do. Make sure to also be mindful when you post.
JennyJuly 22, 2016 at 7:20 am
I have this conversation multiple times a week with my kids. “Do not put anything negative out there,” “Do not like anyone else’s negative posts,” etc. Sometimes they find someone’s negative post or comment funny and I have to remind and show them just how negative or hurtful it really is. My goal is to help them understand that being the positive, funny person will make more of a difference in this world then the negative, mean person.
Megan ReddixJuly 22, 2016 at 8:13 am
Absolutely! It’s especially difficult with the main-stream humor is all about deprecation and violence. People want to be apart of that, but there are ways to be loving when you make a joke. Take Erin’s political yoga photos for example. They’re hilarious, but in no way are the photos hurtful or even judgmental. Erin takes FACTS, moments in the political race that everyone is familiar with, and puts a yoga twist on them to lighten up the mood. On the other hand, posting a photo of a pig with a joke about police is not funny. There is a fine line between fact and opinion. Most of the time, especially as children and teens, we don’t even realize when we have crossed that line.
AmandaJuly 22, 2016 at 9:13 am
YES! Thank you! I just wrote some similar thoughts on this. We do absolutely nothing to create positive change when we post negative stuff, angry rants, and “I can’t believe it!” (Really? Because it has happened four times this week.) It feeds the collective rage and frustration. Why need feed the collective joy? Stay positive! Spread light! It’s easy to feel helpless in these times, but we’re not. Who knows who you might reach by smiling, being kind, or sharing something funny or positive? It might make all the difference. We’re never helpless.
Megan ReddixJuly 22, 2016 at 10:56 am
Exactly! My thought is, social media was created to connect with others and to share all the wonderful things. Instead social media is ruining relationships and causing angst. Behind our computer screens we feel invincible. Things we normally would keep to ourselves or share only with a trust individual behind closed doors are now being posted all over the internet for the world to see. This ugly habit needs to stop! I am all about raising awareness and sharing information, but there are absolutely positive ways to go about that, instead of hateful rants and sharing spam instead of credible, researched information.
Becky WenzelJuly 23, 2016 at 2:36 pm
Most of the time I won’t even post things re: politics, religion, world events, etc, because of the negative comments those subjects inevitably seem to draw. I have taken to putting a disclaimer in my posts when I feel the need to share something of an even slightly controversial nature. “I am posting this on my page because I thought it was [interesting, funny, something to consider, etc.] and this is MY page. If you do not like it or have something negative to say about it, don’t. At least not here, on MY page. I was not looking for a fight or even a spirited debate, so please don’t try to start one with me. Thanks for reading!” -Most of the time it seems to cut down of the mean comments. Sometimes, not so much.. I recently had to actually threaten an old highschool classmate with blocking him from my page! Over a silly video!
Megan ReddixJuly 25, 2016 at 8:54 am
I totally know what you’re talking about. At times, if I feel quite strongly about something and I feel the article I have read or video I have seen is interesting and worth sharing, I will put a disclaimer (“I felt struck by this video/article/whatever and felt it was good to share. I, in no way, expect you to agree with what I am posting, and welcome friendly conversation. Enjoy!”). I very rarely get negative comments, mostly people posting why they disagree or agree with the material, which I actually love! It sparks creative and intelligent thinking. I also ALWAYS remove negative comments and have blocked people. If I am uncomfortable with something someone else has posted, I have two options, give them a call and let them know I appreciate their opinion and freedom of speech, however explain why the post was hurtful (most of the time they don’t realize how hurtful a post can be) OR I simply just block them. Everyone has a right to post what they want, and if that is a picture of them half naked, I will simply just block the post from my newsfeed.