Is social media now the voice of the people or still a place to (low-key) connect?

Everywhere I turn these days, I am face-to-face with opinion, with advertising, news and media stories, joisting, cries for attention, vocalizing, hateful lashing out or the ever-mocked baby animals.

It seems social media has risen up in the era of technology to be a platform for expressing ourselves, for rallying, raising our voices and demanding to be heard. Yes, we still connect here. We have groups and hashtags and keywords that link us together, but it is still technology offering up a megaphone to those who’ll listen.

Recently, social media hasn’t been the only place we are convening as a society. We are protesting in massive numbers all across the world. We are marching, rioting, joining causes and collectively raising our hands against the things that violate us, hurt us or that we believe hurt others. And sometimes, we are doing it just to be included in something bigger than us. It doesn’t hurt us, or others – we just want to stand for something.

There is so much division around us that conversation has become tricky, virtual and in real life. No matter where I stand on an issue, my words have the potential of being misheard, misused, misunderstood. We all feel divided, violated, mistreated in some way or another, it seems.

As a professional who has always been intrigued and fascinated by how people communicate, and why they make decisions, and having chosen the marketing industry to make my living I am facing a division of my own. Social media has lost its appeal for me personally.

Has it lost you, too?

Are you wondering if it even matters for you and your business to attempt to break through the noise during this loud season?

Whether you answer yes and you are hibernating from Facebook, Twitter or the throngs of other social platforms – or you answer ‘no’ and you are still there, we are all facing the same information in our feeds and questions about what we’re doing. And no matter how many people we block, unfollow, “see less of”, turn down, turn off or unfriend – it’s still there.

“The sleeping giants have awakened,” as a friend said yesterday.

But I want to be there with you, to laugh with you, wish you congratulations, to support you, to understand and know what is happening in your life personally. So I am wrestling with my own desire to connect with all my family, long-time friends, clients, colleagues and associates, and NOT be bombarded by the division, the hate, the foul language and destruction and… and… and…

And yes. Those who do speak up are often doing that for those who don’t or won’t. Yes, there is value in peacefully and respectfully standing for what we believe. For teaching and lighting a path of awareness and understanding about what violates us and what we believe is right and what is wrong.

What violates me, you ask? Disunity.

At my core, I long for people to come together and even if they have different opinions, to love one another anyway. Not superficially. Wholly and without wanting something in return.

I long for respect and honor.

I ache for closeness and connection.

For joy and peace and patience and kindness.

I crave positive, respectful, kind, mutually uplifting, professional, non passive aggressive communication.

But everywhere I turn online, on TV, on the radio, on my phone – I see the opposite.

And I have to wonder. If I am as turned off by all of this as I am – there MUST be others.

So, from my professional standpoint, those of us who are turned off, who are making the choices to “not go there”, not participate in it, stay away from Facebook and Twitter and [fill in the blank] – are looking for encouragement, togetherness and peace from all the noise.

And those that are there, vocally standing up and rallying the troops, aren’t looking for services, products, business. We are looking for a place to be heard, to be seen, to be acknowledged.

So, a valuable lesson results…

Whatever your business plan is, whatever reason you believe your business must be on social media, whatever you are selling to the masses – do it strategically today.

Lift up inspiring conversation and be a positive force in your world of influence. Let the cream rise to the top and watch your world of business change around you.

We all have a choice. We choose what to believe, what to listen to, what to say, who to associate with, and even who we work with. We live in a country that allows us those freedoms.

If you are miserable and downtrodden, if you are disheartened and discouraged – hear this… You are not alone. I and so many others have been too. So start a conversation that brings light, hope and encouragement.

I am choosing to surround myself with those who are respectful and honorable, and who are joyful, peaceful, patient and kind. Those that choose not to slander, use vulgar language or distasteful imagery just to prove a point or to be noticed. Those that are kind and who have gentle words of life.

We all choose.

I choose who I spend time with, what I listen to and what I believe… and I believe disunity will bring death. But where there is unity, there is life – there is blessing. And where there is disunity…

Be encouraged today that you have the ability to turn off the TV and the radio, to read and research and learn for yourself before jumping on a bandwagon, and to turn off the social noise. You have the ability to encourage others, to provide better care, better service, and better products to a world that is hurting and needs to be comforted and understood.

And even if your audience slows or shortens – stay confident and go gently and joyfully. Your gentleness will be a magnet that will attract those you are meant to work with and be surrounded by.

There is light. Be the light your life needs and you will attract others like you.