How to respond to the negativity on Social Media

Before the general election in America things were getting really tense on social media. Whether you like him or not, Donald Trump changed the way candidates use social media. Mr. Trump was much more active on it and engaged with people, both positively and negatively. Not necessarily as a result of Mr. Trump, but around the general election time, many people changed the way they use social media, as well. Instead of posting pictures of family, foods and good times, they were posting news articles and political positions that they supported. And, people had no problem pointing out where other people were wrong. There was a lot of negativity around social media.

As intense as social media got before the election, I really thought that after the election things would change and go back to “normal”. The sad thing was that there was now a new “normal” and things have changed on social media. Social media has become more about sharing your opinions on matters than sharing life events. Now, there is nothing necessarily wrong with that, but I don’t think that was original intention for Mark Zuckerberg or the creators of other social media outlets. We are in a new normal now for social media.

So how do you respond to all the negativity on social media these days? I believe it is to be hope. I talked about this in a podcast episode with Justin Dean recently but you can be hope and encouragement to so many people right now. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that there is a ton of negativity on all sides right now, but you can be different. You can be hope to those around you on social media by doing a few things. For instance, you can…

negativity
One of the images I created from a quote.
  1. Share inspirational quotes. I love a great quote that inspires me to be better today than I was yesterday. And the great news is that there are so many inspiring people from the past that said some pretty amazing things. Take the quote and put it on social media. If you want to get really crazy use apps like Adobe Spark, Word Swag or Canva to put them on an image and share them.
  2. Share Bible verses. A tremendous source of hope and encouragement is found in the Bible. Share those verses! You can use the Bible app or, like above, use image apps like Adobe Spark, Word Swag or Canva to create images with Bible verses to share encouraging messages to others. Get people focused on love and hope when they see your social media postings.
  3. Share encouraging stories. Unfortunately, there are times when you share a message from the Bible or a sermon that people will immediately discount it. However, there are tons of great stories that are happening around the world right now that will inspire others to do good and be good. Share those stories and use those stories to inspire and encourage other people.
  4. Unfollow people. I know this sounds bad but let’s be honest, unfollowing people is very helpful. This is NOT defriending them. This is simply clicking “unfollow” on this Facebook page so you don’t see their posts on your newsfeed. Why is “unfollowing” people a good idea? Because it will give YOU hope haha! If all you see is negativity and discouraging post from those around you, it is naturally going to drag you down. It has at times for me. So instead of having my Facebook newsfeed filled up with rants and negativity, I can now see pictures of babies, kids having fun, families doing silly stuff or people taking vacations I only wish I could take. When you unfollow someone you are still friends with them, you are just saying, “I know how you feel about this. I don’t care to have it on my newsfeed any longer. We’ll revisit this when you start posting funny pictures again”.

The last option, which I don’t really like as an option really but thought I would throw it out there is to get off of social media for a little. I know it’s not idea especially when YOU can be HOPE to others, but the reality is more and more people are feeling discouraged when they check social media. If this is you, then maybe you need to take a break and focus on other things. I can guarantee that you will have more time on your hands to focus on those closest to you.

But, if you want to respond in a very positive way to the negativity on social media these days, here are four simple things you can do to encourage and inspire others.  After all, I’m willing to bet most people joined social media to connect with old friends and new make new ones. They didn’t join to be discouraged. So be that encouragement to others where you say, “I’m going to be different. I’m going to offer hope to the world”.  And then see how, with the help of others, we can offer hope amongst all the negativity.

What do you think? Share how use are responding to the negativity on social media right now? What are you doing? Share below or on social media adding #ymsidekick to it.

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Tom Pounder

A father of 4, Tom is the Online Campus Pastor as well as Social Media Director at New Life Christian Church in Chantilly, VA. He blogs, vlogs, periscopes and podcasts regularly about student and online ministry stuff. Check out his work at YMSidekick.com and on iTunes (search YMSidekick).

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