What's Your Social Media Impact?

People often warn high school kids about social media. Those pictures you post may end up affecting which schools you get into or which jobs you get offered. It is a valid point. There is still stuff I posted online over thirty years ago that, if you know what you're looking for, you can find. This is different than some of the posts from my written journal thirty years ago that I started posting online.

About twelve years ago, I went to a group relations conference in Holland. There was one moment I particularly remember. The group consultants changed roles and became members of the group. One of them made a comment about being able to just blurt things out, without thinking about the effect their comments would have on the group.

It seems like many adults on Facebook don't post material that they will be embarrassed about when they are looking for their next job, but they still blurt things out, without thinking about the effect their posts will have. I've been thinking about this a lot since Sandy Hook.

I've tried to post more positive material; highlighting compassion, cooperation and creativity, and trying to avoid the more polarized posts. One blog post that I wrote about video games started a bit of a discussion on Facebook, and one hyper-partisan individual resorted to 'argumentum ad ridiculum'. Unfortunately, it made him look ridiculous and did nothing to move forward the discussion at hand.

Perhaps this becomes even more important if you are a public figure, as Rep. Hovey discovered this weekend.

Yet does sharing positive stories make a difference? Yesterday, I shared a post about the Orange Lions Club Annual Wine and Beer Tasting. It is a fundraiser helping the Lions combat blindness. One of the organizers thanked me for sharing it and I appreciated her kind words. Hopefully, it will get a few more people to attend the event.

Now this is not to say that all posts need to be promoting the public good. It is important to be real, to be authentic online. I've set up a Facebook List of CT State Legislators were I get a sense at what those legislators who have friended me on Facebook or have public figure pages are writing about. Sometimes, they root for football teams. Sometimes they play Farmville. Sometimes they post pictures of having dinner with friends and sometimes, they share posts that can have a positive impact on their friends and constituents..

I hope everyone tries to have at least some of their posts make a positive impact on the people around them.

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