I still remember that sinking feeling when I first got attacked on social media. I had a made an error and it was a controversial subject and nowadays I might not be surprised at the remarks. But I was new to twitter. And still pretty new to the online world. And these people didn’t know me! How could they say such horrible things?
It was a great chance to remind myself where my self worth comes from, but it still shook me up a little bit.
Our words have power. Did you know more than 50% of girls think negativity they see online damages their confidence?*
I remember when Dove first launched their #SpeakBeautiful campaign on social media and I loved it. I loved how the brand was taking a stand for positivity in a space that had so much potential for inspiration, but was often filled with pettiness and cruelty.
Social media gets a bad rap, but I am so grateful for the support and connections I get online. When we first moved away from college, I found great comfort in the community I had online. Then the fairly isolating transition to motherhood was so much smoother because of friends (online + long distance) that I could keep in touch with.
In short, you guys are awesome – but not everything online is. Here are a few tips for keeping your online space a positive one (for yourself + others):
1. Post positive things: You set the tone on your instagram, your twitter, or your facebook. Posting negative things may get you a few people trying to cheer you up, but it won’t be as powerful as you choosing to look for the positive things to share.
1.5 Business tip: Are you building a brand or online business? Studies show that positive messages are shared/retweeted/pined more frequently that negative messages. Plus, positive messages creates positive brand association. So, instead of commiserating with your audience and complaining about the rain, find a rainbow and share that instead (metaphorically ;).
2. Engage with other people’s positive posts: When someone shares something happy, inspiring, uplifting, or funny, comment on it, like it, or share it. Choosing to engage with primarily positive content enforces the happy over the sad.
3. Ditch the downer: You know that person always complaining online? They’re bringing you down. It’s one thing for a friend (or an instafriend you don’t actually know) to be having a bad day every once in awhile, but it’s another to hear about his or her problems every other second.
4. Surround yourself with happy: I seek out people online that add smiles to my day. Sometimes it’s in the funny stories they share or maybe it is just in the bright pictures that fill up their instagram feed. You can’t control what people share online but you can control what you spend your time on social media looking at.
5. Reflect + Take a break: As awesome as things online can be, the virtual world doesn’t quite compare to giving a friend a hug or curling up with your significant other after a long day. Remember where your self worth comes from (hint: it isn’t rooted in what someone who doesn’t know you says about you online) and be intentional about unplugging when you need it (and maybe when you don’t).
^P.S. Dove’s #speakbeautifully bracelet is available exclusively at Target – it comes free when you pick up three of your favorite Dove products, but the best part is that every time you type, you’ll look down and be reminded to put a positive message out there. You can enter to win your own bracelet by heading over to twitter and spreading the positivity. Just tweet something positive using the hashtag #speakbeautifully and tag me for a chance to win!
*2016 Dove Study, learn more on Dove.com/Selfesteem