Let's All Amplify Positive Voices

The team at Gracefully wants everyone to live more at ease. As we work to navigate the digital world, we’ll occasionally share tips for how to live more gracefully. #LiveGracefully  

By Brian Wesolowski

Are there people you follow on Twitter or Instagram who always seem to strike the right note? Are they constructive, positive and informative without veering into the all-too-easy pettiness that pollutes a lot of the internet? If you want to live more gracefully in the digital world, amplify these voices -- give them the likes, the hearts or the retweets and let your network benefit from their messages.

Any active social media user knows these platforms can be cesspools of negativity and meanness, but they don’t have to be if users start to take back control. We choose who we follow or friend, and we choose whether we engage with their posts. Apply the filter of grace to each engagement and interaction online by asking yourself, “Does this make me feel at ease?” and “Will this make others feel at ease?” This doesn’t mean you can’t share controversial thoughts or strong advocacy messages, it simply means thinking about what you are sharing and if the message is conveyed in a graceful manner.

Research shows that negative interactions on social media can lead to tangible negative feelings offline, so why be part of the problem? In a post I wrote for the Center for Democracy & Technology, I encouraged social media users to “unfollow all the mean people.” I still think this is good advice, but actively amplifying positive and inspiring voices is even more valuable to advancing grace online. All social media platforms are powered by algorithms that make decisions, at least partially, based on interaction levels with each post. The more interactions for a positive post, the more likely it is that the algorithm will lift it up to others on the network.

Beyond just liking or retweeting, also consider adding a supportive comment, letting people know why you like or support something, rather than just clicking. This demonstrates a higher level of engagement and care for the messenger.

Let’s all work together to raise up the very best through social media. We have the power to create more graceful online spaces for meaningful dialogue.