It's been a tumultuous week.
Hell, it's been a tumultuous year.
From the endless memes, the absurd “Dirty Dancing” remix of the debate, to the crashing of both Reddit and the Canadian immigration website-- this election existed very much online. And social media is designed to provide a platform for discourse and the exchange of ideas. The American election is a ripe topic for a rousing debate and people did not shy away from expressing themselves online during the campaign. And now that the results are in, they’re still not shying away.
As an influencer and active member of the social media community you likely came to a fork in the road where you had to decide whether you: a) wanted to keep your mouth shut and pretend like nothing was going on and everything was normal, or b) speak your truth and use your platform to convey the messages that you feel deeply passionate about. Either way, your personal brand is at stake. Openly align with one party, and you are sure to lose followers as well as elicit some unsavory comments from those on the other side of party lines. Fail to say anything, and some of your followers may be disappointed that you didn’t use your influential voice at this crucial moment in history.
We need to be realistic about what we can acheieve on social media.
Our very own Sarah (@primalbites and @sarah.lifts) chose to remain apolitical on her branded channels, mostly because in the heat of it all, she was just exhausted. And she doesn’t regret it. She has come to the conclusion that while social media has broadened our perspectives like never before and has allowed us the opportunity to interact with people of increasingly diverse backgrounds, it is not an effective forum for productive dialogue between people of different political and social beliefs and values. It is an increasingly hostile environment in which comment threads become shouting matches between people who don’t hear each other. And in other instances, Facebook feeds become echo chambers of like-minded people who refuse to acknowledge a greater reality, where angry rants and shared articles are preached to a choir. And this goes for any and all sides of political and social disagreements.
Social can be such a force for good. When chatrooms started, isolated people around the world started finding their tribes. Think about it-- there’s a subreddit for everything now. It’s a miraculous tool to bring people together. But as “digital natives” we’re all aware of the surprising cruelty emboldened behind the anonymity of a keyboard. But we believe that we can use social media to affect positive change moving forward -- by creating real-world opportunities for community engagement.
So the question now is how can social help us move forward?
We’ve seen so many messages of peace and understanding in the last few days. One of Ami’s friends posted this message Wednesday: “If anyone needs to not be alone right now, text me. I'll make you a grilled cheese and we can talk about our feelings❤️”
Locally we’ve seen a “Light and Love Vigil” event pop up on Facebook along with a slew of other events and sentiments that convey the idea that now is the time to band together and work for healing.
One of our favorite Instagrammers Karen Lao found just the right words and non-divisive message to share.
Our friends at Death To Stock sent out a beautiful collection, and message, the day after the election.
We want to hear how you’re using your social power to help inspire healing and unity for your tribe. Hit us up: Snapfluence@snapfluence.com
We wish you all deep peace
Creative Community Director at Snapfluence.
There is often a pen stuck in my hair.