It’s morning, and the sun is gently nudging you to wake up and celebrate the new day. You wrap your oversized terrycloth robe around you and navigate straight to the kitchen. There you find your “be happy” mug and make yourself the perfect cup of coffee. With coffee in hand, you grab your phone and head to your favorite chair. Staring out the window, you get lost in thought, as the sun gently warms your face. Suddenly you notice a brilliantly colored bluebird perched on top of your freshly planted pink tulips.
You immediately grab your cell phone and snap dozens of pictures. Thrilled to share your experience with the world you crop and filter your images. Finally, you add a quick quote and some well-placed hashtags and click post. While you await the flood of likes, comments, and shares you are confident you’ll receive from your photo you decide to see what is happening in other people’s lives. You begin to scroll, and suddenly you read an angry political rant. Then you scroll further, and someone is complaining about the traffic in the city, then a boyfriend who didn’t text, and a neighbor’s dog that won’t stop barking, and so on and so on. You reach to grab your coffee, but just like your cheerful disposition, it has turned cold. The sun is now hurting your eyes, and all you want to do is go back to bed. Then suddenly you see a comment notification on your picture. You click to read the comment and feel instantly irritated. Someone you’ve never met posted: “I’m allergic to pink tulips, not to mention your optimism.” You immediately feel the discomfort of walking on social media eggshells as you try to craft a response.
Dealing with these situations are at the least, awkward, and the worst exhausting. So, here are some helpful tips for treading lightly over these crunchy, unsavory words and keeping the good vibes flowing.
1. Don’t take the Bait!
Did you know the word “offense” comes from the Greek word scandalon? A scandalon is the part of a trap that holds the bait in place to lure animals to it. So, when you are tempted to be offended think of the offense as bait and don’t allow yourself to walk into someone else’s negativity trap.
2. Lighten Up!
Using humor with the right attitude can change almost any situation. For instance, in the above example if someone said, “I’m allergic to pink tulips, not to mention your optimism.” You can always reply with, “Sorry to hear that. Have you ever tried taking Claritin? It’s great for all types of allergies.”
Another option is to ignore what they said and move on. Nothing says you have to respond or take the negative baggage they are handing you. Drop it and find something else to do that will bring you joy.
3. Don’t Be “Tone Deaf.”
Have you ever wondered why someone took something you wrote the wrong way? Well, now you can analyze your own words before you hit send. By using a tone analyzer, you can predict how your message or words will be perceived. The tone analyzer can accurately detect the emotion your text, tweets, and even emails convey to your readers. Click https://tone-analyzer-demo.ng.bluemix.net/ and try it out yourself. It might save you from an argument you never intended to start.
4. We’ll that Escalated Quickly!
Cyber bullies are real, and if you encounter someone who seems to have a never-ending arsenal of negativity to hurl at you, you have two options.
o Option One: Be direct. In these circumstances, I advise my clients to have a prewritten response ready to cut and paste into a direct message. Often, we fail to recognize someone who wants to be heard and forget that a simple direct message will stop the vitriol.
Dear (Insert Name)
In my life, I actively choose to focus on the positive. It’s my life’s purpose to share love, knowledge, and information responsibly. I apologize if I have offended you in any way. It was not my intention, nor will it ever be. I wish nothing but success and blessings for everyone my platform reaches on social media or online. Please know I will be praying for you, and also for myself, so that we will both communicate more clearly in the future.
o Option Two:
If you’ve done everything you can and someone won’t stop harassing you can use the block and report option. But be aware this is often a temporary fix as many trolls have multiple profiles on these platforms.
5. BE UNSOCIAL!
In a world chock-full of likes, tags, comments, and swipes it’s hard to imagine a time when technology didn’t exist. On the one hand, these tools are wonderful and keep us all connected. We share our lives, hopes, dreams, and victories. But on the other hand, they can sometimes feel intrusive, negative, time-consuming and downright energy depriving. So lastly don’t be afraid to log off or deactivate your account every now and again. Life is beautiful, but there are times we will face challenges. In these times it’s best to save our energy for what matters. (And trust me arguing on Social Media does not fall into that category.)
If you’d like to talk or feel stuck, please don’t hesitate to reach out. And if these have helped you feel free to share.