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A Day to be #PositivelySocial

Posted on : 31-07-2012 | By : Frank Eliason | In : Business, Inspirational, Social Media



For those of us who have participated in social media for years, we have grown to respect how the space can drive change. In fact, if you are like me, you love it.  Ordinary citizens have the power to drive change in government, or in some of the biggest institutions on the planet. As a Customer Service person, I love how it is changing the status of Customer Service within organizations. As an observer of the phenomenon I know the world is changing, and I hope it is all for the better. At the same time I have been watching conversations via social media becoming more snarky and personal attacks seem to be growing. I do not think most people do this, but what has occurred is we attract people with many of our same ideals which further validate our position. Then when others question this position we go on the attack. Often times social media is referred to as a cocktail party, but when would you call someone an idiot or worse things, while at a cocktail party?  Okay some of you might, but I think most of us would be more respectful of their views, and often be open to listening.

There are numerous examples of the negativity in action, including hot topics like #NBCFail, Olympics, Penn State, Chick-Fil-a, the Presidential election, Health Care legislation, and the list goes on. I have seen so many posts on each of these topics that start with ‘If you do not agree with…you are…”  What happened to having a dialogue?  That is what social media is really about.  One of my favorite topics to follow involved a young girl named Cathryn Sloan.  There were numerous posts that called her numerous things, all because she expressed a view. For those who may not have heard of Catheryn, she is an aspiring writer trying to make a difference, not that different to many of us when we were 25.  She recently did a post on NextGen Journal titled ”Every Social Media Manager Should Be Under 25.” Needless to say this put many social media managers on edge to tell her how she knows nothing. Were we fully listening to her? Did we create an environment that would allow for a thoughtful discussion? I am not sure we did. It was very personal and the attacks were piling on. But why? People viewed her post was an attack on them.  We talk often how important it is to listen via social but I am not sure we are always doing that.  I took the time to read other posts by Cathryn and I found a theme. Like many in the Occupy Wall Street camp, as well as others in her age group, she has been frustrated by the lack of jobs. This is an important topic, that I think if we had an open dialogue we could help solve.  This too can be the power of social media.

As a person who started using social media for business with websites like Comcast Must Die, I recognize why many business leaders tend to see social media as the “snarky web.” I also have a few favorite websites like the Consumerist who have made a name for themselves by sharing some very negative conversations about business.  Although they do post positive stories as well the Consumerist is probably most recognized for their annual tournament to win the Golden Poo award. I also know the abuse that happens via social media, usually directed at businesses, but sometimes it does get directed to individuals. It has happened to me on multiple occasions, as I am sure it has to many of you that are active in the space. Sometimes it can be downright hurtful. For those of us with a Customer Service background, we know that it happens all the time through all communications means. I am sure I have been unintentionally guilty of it too, but I also know that I can strive to make a small difference, just as each of you can.

This idea has been on my mind for a number of weeks, but as I was reading up on the latest news, including many discussions on the Olympics. One of the hot topics has been about Tom Daley, the British Olympic Swimmer.  There were hopes that Tom would bring home the gold but he came in fourth place. I am sure many people rallied around him, but there was at least one who went a very different, unacceptable direction.  First this person tweeted how Tom let down his father.  Tom relayed the tweet with a message that his father passed away. There were a few other tweets culminating with ”i’m going to find you and i’m going to drown you in the pool you cocky tw*t your a nobody people like you make me sick.” You can read more of the incident here. Having dealt with similar offline, I am happy the police are looking into it, and I hope the person receives any assistance they require. I then started to read people who were upset that the police were involved because it was just a tweet. When did that get to be acceptable?

We used to think the best was ahead of us, but due to the economy, negativity from politicians (in my view this is from all sides of the political spectrum), and other shifts within society (including social media), many of us have lost that belief. It is time we as a society start bringing that back and it starts with us. I think we can easily do that by starting with a day to recognize the positive things in our life, even things companies are doing well and others around us.  I picked August 14, 6 months after Valentine’s day.  I like the #positivelysocial hashtag recommended by Cari Sultanik but if you have other ideas for naming it, please include that in the comments.

If you like the idea, please help me spread the word to others. Driving change by recognizing the positive can help send a message and have just as strong an influence as the negative. I think it is time for us to lead this!

Related Posts

Scott Monty’s Post “When Did We Get So Nasty”

Another Post I did on Topic for Social Media Today “Dear World”

What it Means to be #PositivelySocial (Aug 14)

Comments (43)

I love everything about this idea.

While all of us (me included) rant and bitch from time to time, it is more important to share good and positive thoughts.

I try to make sure I’m always leaning harder to the size of positive whenever possible.

Lets make this happen.

Love this Frank, it is sadly more easy to be blindly critical than it is to be thoughtfully positive. We all get caught up in it and we need all the reminders we can get. Cheers to you for putting this front and center.


I’ve had so much fun getting crazy, silly, cheery hashtags going on Twitter and threads going on FB, and taking people out of the usual routine of criticism and reaction into a few moments of joy and laughter. We’ve had affirm-offs and compliment explosions and #thebest____ . So I love this idea — in part because it’s a more serious, sincere application of positivity, and because anything mindfully good and kind is GREAT.

I think sarcasm and wit are fantastic, always will, but we often think we’re being clever when we’re just being harsh… so why not try and escape baked-in patterns for something fresh now and then?

YEAH I can finally leave my comment…

Frank you are talking about some of the very things I have been discussing behind the scenes and wondering how we can turn the conversation around.

I agree we reacted to Cathyrn. I did my best to write my comments from the perspective of why I did not agree with the assumption. Some, took it WAY too far and attacked her as a person.

I missed the tweet attacking the swimmer – how unfortunate. You are correct it is disconcerting why people feel the need to attack instead of uplift.

Yes, your idea is a good one and one I will whole heartily support it. #Positivelysocial

Another idea that surfaced after reading your thoughts was how this aligns to what was a part of our conversation last night in #Speakchat with our guest Van Brown on character analysis. I learned from him that it is not just about figuring out how to connect with each of the four types in the audience…it is about recognizing who are we, when we are in that deliver mode.

This is a good discussion – who are we when we are talking in social – going deeper than the surface “I am me” and recognizing what is being triggered in each interaction and how we show up.

Completely agree. Former Aus Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser claims we need to reinstate Civility. Social media is an obvious platform for POSITIVE change :)

I love this idea. I’d love to see us all being more positive more of the time, but it has to start somewhere and a day to focus on it seems like a jolly grand plan to me.

I was one of the people discussing this with you. Just want to clarify since 90 characters always puts things in soundbytes; I was not upset this person was visited by the police…but that this person was arrested and charged with something that I think should be protected as free speech (granted this was not in the USA but it’s a basic human right I feel).

As a social media manager do I like hearing people curse me or blast me? No of course not. I love when people are positive and I reward that personally with to the fans of the company I work for. However my point was this, many tweets could be construed as art. Many people think and rework their tweets to get maximum “impact” much like an artist may use disgusting imagery to invoke a reaction. If a person draws an image with a politician and a gun against their head does this mean they literally want to kill them? It could be construed that way, but more than likely it is only done to get a “reaction”. This sort of speech to me should be protected.

Let me get one thing straight, this of course is fuzzy and I see nothing wrong with the police investigating when threats are made. However charging someone when they may have been making a crass bad over exaggerated statement simply to invoke a response I just can’t get down with.

Guess for me it’s the slipper slope, what will stop the government from using this same law to harass and prevent people from speaking out? It’s really easy to vilify people when they make statements like this twitter user did, but sometimes we have to defend these very people to have a truly free society.

Ok rant over.

Thanks for the mention, Frank. Love this idea!

Love the idea and will promote it shamelessly!

#Positivelysocial – I am 100% behind this idea. The social web, the transparent web, the web of sharing, expressing what we think and how we feel: which means there will be memes that just won’t be positive or uplighting. We need to acknowledge that these memes will happen as there are those that prefer to operate from a snarky, cynical, unhappy, *half full* place. Then there are those of us who realize the power (influence) of positivity and the difference in a situational mood vs the long term impact of a deeply rooted spirit of positivity.

Thanks for coming by and commenting as well as the discussion earlier. I agree arrests should only be done when necessary. The challenge in a social world is assessing the risk. I have experienced both over the years. I have ignored most but there was one (not via social media) that could not be ignored. The person needed help and I am glad they received it. Through that, I am very cautious regarding threats, especially to my family.


[...] I had started this post last night but didn't have a chance to finish it before I turned in. And then to my surprise, my colleague Frank Eliason had crafted a very similar post on his own blog ("A Day to Be #PositivelySocial"). [...]

SoPositive Day! Positivity Day! SoPositive… a few suggestions. Great idea guys! :)

Frank- I’m in. Disagreement is not mutually exclusive from courtesy.

Frank (and Scott Monty),

Thank you both for taking the high road and leading by example. Your thoughtful posts on digital and social media etiquette are appreciated and #PositivelySocial.

Bill (Dr. William J. Ward) aka DR4WARD
Social Media Professor,
S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications
Syracuse University

Well said and I’m in.

100% with you Frank. Let me know if you want to turn this into a formal movement…

Great piece Frank. As you know I tend to use my twitter for positive things and views that take me from #custserv, #youmatter, #suicideprevention, #stopcyberbullying etc… and I think this #positivelysocial as suggested by Cari is terrific!

I loved all you said about the fact that people are genuinely quick on the trigger to use Twitter to lambast others and or situations rather than create that dialogue that old school users know is the key and beauty about keeping the social in social media.

Yes, it’s an outlet. Yes it stirs up movement for action whether others agree with the author of the Tweet/Hashtag or not but there is too much negativity that accompanies them. look for me to using the #positivelysocial hash in future Tweets. Let’s see if we can give it the legs of tags such as #socialgood and take it’s place in the Hash lexicon.

Thanks again for this post friend.

I like the hashtag but would switch it up a bit to #SociallyPositive

[...] made reference to Frank Elias ons post  “Positively social” (Twitter –  #PositivelySocial [...]

Hi Frank,
Great to speak to you on Friday and I’m in! I look forward to publishing our interview podcast on the 14th to help promote #positivelysocial


[...] A Day to be #PositivelySocial For those of us who have participated in social media for years, we have grown to respect how the space can drive change. In fact, if you are like me, you love it.  Ordinary citizens have the power to… [...]

[...] A Day to be #PositivelySocial by Frank Eliason [...]

Go, Frank! Well done. I am in and happy to support. Thanks for highlighting the sunny side and for sharing your stories.

[...] For those that are not, please visit Frank Eliason and his article A day to be positively social [...]

[...] post is part of the #PositivelySocial movement that Frank Eliason proposed. I can’t wait to read the others that take part.  Pin ItBe Sociable, Share! Tweet [...]

[...] is Positively Social day. As someone who thrives best in a positive world, I have to say I love the concept of positive [...]

[...] life is even more pronounced online: it’s easier to tear things down than to build them up. Frank Eliason, SVP of Social Media for Citibank, is calling for a time out – a day to reflect … Today is #PositivelySocial and Frank has outlined some specifics of what that means here. He [...]

Support this 100%! Given that we all spend so much time sifting through the negative comments I am craving a supportive social community
I am totally on board with this.

[...] post is part of the #PostivelySocial movement proposed by a post from Frank Eliason. I’m looking forward to see how others approach the [...]

[...] New here? To the next generation. A handwritten post. This was supposed to be my #PositivelySocial post By Steven Buehler On August 15, 2012 · Add Comment Hello there! If you are new here, you might want to subscribe to the RSS feed for updates on this topic.Powered by WP Greet Box WordPress PluginI had planned to write this post yesterday as part of the #PositivelySocial blogging day proposed by Frank Eliason. [...]

[...] friends. The real danger of social media is the people who abuse it. It is no wonder some of the most respected people in social media are openly calling for an end to the nastiness with a single day of positivity in social media on [...]

[...] I had started this post last night but didn’t have a chance to finish it before I turned in. And then to my surprise, my colleague Frank Eliason had crafted a very similar post on his own blog (“A Day to Be #PositivelySocial“). [...]

[...] I had started this post last night but didn’t have a chance to finish it before I turned in. And then to my surprise, my colleague Frank Eliason had crafted a very similar post on his own blog (“A Day to Be #PositivelySocial“). [...]

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