No, We Don't Need to Quit Social Media

A lot of energy is spent by people on social media, complaining about social media. Have you noticed this? We fight algorithms that don’t help us grow a business. We shout at one another for not living to an unwritten standard that only we define the parameters for. We read meaning into tweets simply not directed at us. We feel bruised by perfection but don’t want to feel miserable at all the reality being shared either. We detox, delete apps, take time out, make rules and lists and goodness me, don’t we all like a group message safe from prying eyes?

And yet, I adore being online.

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My Knit Squad

You know how people online have quite a thing about 'Finding Your Tribe'? Is it ok to have more than one? I mean, it's good to have a solid group that always, always have your back and that's great but there seems to be this idea that we just have one place. One group. One shot at being 'in' the crowd. It reminds me a little of the idea of meeting your soul mate. 

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Social Action For Everyone

Dawn. A high pitch scream from my daughter's room jolts me awake. Gently, I lift her from bed and coo gently in her ear. I carry her to my bed, tucking her next to me on the mattress. I stroke away the bad dream and watch as her breathing slows once more. Her brow is hot and sweaty. Tendrils of curls are stuck to her temples. I turn my attention to the notifications showing with increasing urgency on my phone. 

It's not good news. 

In those dark hours before light begins to creep into my room I work hard to organise my thoughts about our newly elected world leader. I try hard to bite down the rising panic I feel as I watch my daughter slumber, genuinely afraid for a world that continues a relentless march towards the right. These are not my family values. This is not a world I wish her to witness. 

Social Action for Everyone

I sift through my timelines and quickly see that people feel powerless and abandoned. People want someone or something to blame. They're scared and angry and I understand. I saw it here in the UK in June. There are many reasons that people in the UK voted in such an inwardly looking way, leaving us with a government that views me as homeless because I identify as a citizen of the world. It is not for me to shame someone for their voting choice though and I'm trying hard to work on my responses and understanding of why people have made the choices they have. I'm learning that not all these choices are clear cut. 

Since June I've begun taking action. Realising that I lived in an echo chamber of my own political views, I enrolled in several community projects. I wanted to take positive action in supporting some of the people I was concerned were becoming more marginalised and vulnerable. It's also hard to condemn those who voted differently to me (and that's the majority where I live) when I'm working side by side to improve our local school's inclusion programme, for example.

However, this is not about people who other than their voting choices are pretty much the same as me. This is about difference that runs far deeper than that. In one of the sessions I ran recently about inclusion, a colleague admitted that she often shies away from diversity for fear of getting it wrong. Gently, I asked what her silence communicated to people of colour, to those who did not have the same set of beliefs or sexuality that she did. Together we looked for questions she feared to ask and then we talked about where we would find the answers. It was a good lesson for me too if I'm honest. If we are asking, perhaps our children are too and more than ever, I want them to find the right answers. 

Social Action for Everyone

I have spent a lot of time thinking about how I could move forward in a way that is helpful to the biggest number of people I can be of help to. I've turned my attention to my own social media and podcast and the messages that I convey on a regular basis. I've thought hard about some of the stories I wish to tell next season. Will they be reflective of the global community I currently live in? 

I am as responsible as the next person to make this world feel like a safe home to everyone. One thing I've already learned these past few months is that by stepping outside of my bubble and listening as well as acting whenever possible, I feel less powerless. I can start with me and if I'm lucky, that ripple of change will grow. For example, I can share some of the brilliant things I've discovered online that you can be a part of today if you're feeling powerless too:

1. What to do if you witness a hate crime

2. This brilliant advice about how to be an ally if you're white came up again as it should, because it's important

3. Be clear that your place of business is a safe and accepting refuge for every community member with these transfers. 

4. The Brandjamming Campaign to Stop Funding Hate (Lego listened!)

5. Consider donating time or money to some of these causes if you're concerned about people in our communities. 

Toni Morrison Quote

It might be time to go to work and you know what? I'm ready. 

See you for Season 4?