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What It Means to be #PositivelySocial (Aug 14)

Posted on : 06-08-2012 | By : Frank Eliason | In : Inspirational, Leadership, Social Media

Tags: ,

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Have you seen this video by Adam M. Smith? If you are involved in social media you probably have because it has been a hot topic of conversation.  This is where #PositivelySocial meets the offline world.  In the video Mr. Smith is going through a Chick-fil-a drive through with the sole goal of recording himself sharing his thoughts regarding Chick-fil-a while obtaining his free water.  First I want to offer kudos to the employee who handled herself beautifully.  I am sorry that Mr. Smith has lost his job over the video but I do not think we should treat people, especially employees like this one, in a manner that has been considered by many as disrespectful. In my view those who are choosing to boycott the chain are certainly within their right and that is a #PositivelySocial way of trying to drive change.  I also respect anyone who lives up to their religious beliefs in everything they do.  I am respectful of all religions around the world. At times there may be differences between what I believe and other religions or individuals but I have to respect the rights people have to those beliefs.  I love hearing about differences so I can learn from them, and deepen my own understanding.  It does not mean I will agree with them but I will always respect the individuals and their rights.

Being #PositivelySocial does not mean you do not have opinions, because we all do.  It is all about how you decide to express those beliefs to those around you.  In my view the #positivelysocial beliefs are:

  1. Respect Others – This to me is the number one issue.  We all are passionate about our beliefs and often we express them in a manner that is closed to others, or sometimes downright cruel to others.  I think the video associated to this post is a perfect example regarding respect and why it is so important. Treat people the way you would want to be treated, sounds simple but not always happening. We can help lead by example.
  2. Welcoming Dialogue on the Topic – The greatest aspect of social is the fact that everything is open for discussion, so when posting, be open to the conversation, in fact welcome it!  Recently the situation involving Penn State caused a lot of discussion.  Within social media this dialogue was highly divided, especially within my Facebook newsfeed.  Since I grew up in Pennsylvania, I had many friends talking about the decisions by the University and the NCAA.  There were defenders of Joe Paterno, and those who completely offended by the reports of his participation.  Those offended sometimes referred to his defenders as being as guilty as Joe Paterno was made out in the reports.  I could see both sides in this issue.  As a father, I have strong beliefs on what should happen to child molesters and those who support or protect them. At the same time, I understand that Joe Paterno past away prior to the investigation into the matter by the University and his family was not able to share information on the topic.  I am sure more information will come out over time and people will come to their conclusion of guilty or innocence.
  3. Sharing Links that Live up to being #PositivelySocial - In my #PositivelySocial post over on Social Media Today, I discuss the story of  Harper Gruzins.  This 11 year old girl struggled singing the National Anthem, but the worst part was the manner in which the web turned on her.  In the post I talk about some horrible comments found on YouTube, but there were many others throughout the web. One website posted the video to help take this 11 year old down a few notched because on her “fu–ing” website she refer to herself as a singer-songwriter.  We should not share links to sites that treat people in a manner we would not want to see them treated.
  4. Take a Stand – If we were at a cocktail party and someone was being insulting to others, or unsocial in any way, someone would usually tell them to knock it off or leave. It is time we think about that as people around us are doing things that could be insulting to others.  We should also make clear to community style websites that it is important that their content be appropriate and comments or discussions are managed in a way that does not take away from the community as a whole.
  5. Truth and Facts Reign Supreme – The web is filled with innuendo, speculation, and down right errors.  The key is verifying information prior to sharing. Try to not add to inappropriate sharing (I have been guilty of this but I always strive to validate as much as I can)
  6. Share the Good Too – It is easy to share the negative.  I do it all the time, especially regarding Customer experiences.  Sharing negative experiences is sometimes very positive way of tell a brand that you do care about them.  Let’s fact facts, the opposite of love is not hate, it is apathy.  At the same time if you are always sharing the negative people may lose sight as to who you are, try to share the good too.  I have also found brands want to know what they are doing well so they can strive to do more of it.  Of course this is not just about brands, recognize each other.  That can be a powerful message to those around us all!

I have been amazed by the outpouring of support for #PositivelySocial and I would ask that you help me keep it up over the next week so we can make August 14 a #PositivelySocial day for everyone.  Tell a friend or share your thoughts via social.  Welcome open discussion on the topic! This post was inspired by many of you. I am not looking for the day to simply be about being nice, but instead about truly being social.  One of the best parts of this effort has been the way it has connected me with new found friends.  Shel Holtz who introduced me to Civilination.  The organization’s mission is to foster an online culture where every person can freely participate in a democratic, open, rational and truth-based exchange of ideas and information, without fear or threat of being the target of unwarranted abuse, harassment or lies. I love it, and look forward to getting involved with them further.Together we are changing the world! How do you define #PositivelySocial?

Thank you!

Related Posts

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

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

A Day to be #PositivelySocial (Aug 14)

UPDATE:  The Person who did the initial video has apologized in this video

A Day to be #PositivelySocial

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

Tags:

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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)