As I like to say you are either thriving or merely surviving. Knowing the difference between the two is self awareness. An important pillar of my Thrive initiative is personal responsibility that when initiated naturally has a positive and sustainable impact. Now this takes practice. One area where personal responsibility is not being applied is social media.
Maybe a little of a sensationalized headline, but we live in a sensationalized world where you need to grab one’s attention. Being flagged a killer does that. However, what I really mean by killer is not in the literal sense, but are you a killer of dreams, ideas, character and possibilities? Often opinions are levied against people we have no personal knowledge of. Most times we go on with our lives unaware of the impact of our words on social media. Do you hold yourself personally responsible for your comments? Do you just weigh in on any issue without knowing all the facts? We would always be wise to remember just because we have a platform to communicate our views does not always mean we should use it.
How did we get here? I do not profess to have all the answers but do want to be part of the solution to a situation that is being ignored and is out of control.
A key question for me is how do we get social media users to recognize the consequences of their actions? On any given hour you can review the feed and see people being torn apart by faceless assassins. If one makes a mistake its immediately open season on the culprit and it is fair game to publicly ridicule not only the person involved but those close to them in the most offensive of ways. The sad part is there is often no recourse and the impact is often devastating. What if people would step back the moment a new story emerges and recognize that we all are fallible and that judging should not become the default position. None of us are free of guilt and in that moment we should hold ourselves accountable and responsible. This would take personal responsibility but all too often it is too convenient to pile on and allow our emotions to overrun reason. However, that is where real character and leadership should kick in and suppress the most primitive of instincts to take over.
We all know someone or a friend of a friend who has felt the sting of social media. Most often attacks are made by faceless individuals. Anonymity in many instances is shielding people from knowing their identify and emboldens aggressive and at times vile behavior. Anonymity is this case is facilitating a lack of social responsibility.
The bigger question to ask is how would we all react if the shield of anonymity was pierced? What would an individual do if their views were not just publicly known but they were publicly identified? What if they could not hide behind the cloak of secrecy? From my perspective, it is important to have views but true conviction comes from having your views openly known.
So my thrive initiative is to be more socially responsible. I will never allow myself to fall into an anonymity trap. Therefore, moving forward, I will also never forward, comment or pile on any posting which the sender is anonymous. We can and should take the oxygen quickly out of any debate where the commenters are not publicly known.
I also encourage every leader in their organization to bring awareness to an issue that is spiraling out of control and and stamp out anonymous attacks. We need to take a stand and stamp out the mob mentality that all too often lives on social media platforms. What are we teaching our children and students around the world if we turn a blind eye to such actions? Again, it is too convenient to give in to our impulses. We must act now and retake civility and drive for a more socially responsible society. This action in itself would have exponential benefit.
Is it possible to expect individuals to take personal responsibilities for their thoughts, words and actions. What side do you fall on?
The final thought to leave you with, do you believe you can make a difference? Small subtle changes turn out to be big ones over time. Who knows you may save someone’s life or reputation, a strategy to promote or wellness in the workplace. We are the catalyst to initiate change. We can all make a difference. Please forward this to your network and make that difference.
As always, thanks for “listening” and I can be reached at deshague.com if you have any questions.
* Originally Posted on LinkedIn