Whether or not you realise it, or you accept it, you are a broadcaster. All of us are, and have influence. Social media being what it is, there's always someone watching. I've started unfollowing people who just post random motivational quotes because, in many cases, it doesn't seem terribly well thought through. I'll give you an example. This was posted on LinkedIn a few days ago:
"Hunger is the first element of self-discipline. If you can control what you eat and drink, you can control everything else".
I don't agree with that message. This was my response:
"I'm sorry, but this is a dangerous message to spread. The need for control is the basis for diseases like anorexia and bulimia, and it's what keeps people bound. I did a photo series on women who struggle with their relationship with food. I think that's why I'm so sensitive to this kind of messaging. Young girls are so impressionable, most already believe they're not thin or beautiful enough. You're welcome to have a look if you'd like: http://www.heatwavestoryagency.com/my-body-battle
Most people will just scroll past and carry on. I'm sure the person who posted it didn't mean any harm. Unfortunately, 42 people liked that post, and there will undoubtedly be some shares. I wonder if those 42 people stopped to think that this message can be harmful to someone who is impressionable? Probably not. It's just so easy to 'like' and share an image, without keeping the consequences in mind.
Do you stop to think about the effect your online voice has on those who read your posts? If you haven't yet, I'd encourage you to. Social media is fast food, there isn't much substance to be found anymore. Wouldn't it be wonderful to be a voice of substance amongst the detritus that's out there?
In the same vein, let me tell you a quick story. I've been photographing people for many years. I've always found the comments people make when they step in front of the camera telling. People, especially women, often comment on their looks. I've heard it all, but it's normally a variation of "will you make me look thinner?", "can you hide my double chin?" or something along those lines. A while ago, I photographed executives at a corporate company. A woman walked in, and I remember being struck by her beauty. She was truly gorgeous. What she said next floored me. She said: "I hate having my photo taken, it looks like I've had a stroke when I smile".
Let that sink in.
This beautiful woman has no idea that she is beautiful; but worse, she speaks to herself in a way you would never speak to someone else. Imagine going up to a friend and saying "you look like you've had a stroke when you smile". Would you do that? Of course not!! But this is how she speaks to herself, and how we often speak to ourselves. How often do we stop to take note of our self-talk? Now that I'm aware of this, I often catch myself thinking something awful, and speaking to myself in a similar way. It doesn't even need to be as vicious as this, but anything negative sits, it brews. Instead of it being a passing thought, it can quickly take root and transform into something truly harmful if we don't stop it in its tracks.
Thank you for indulging me, and forgive me for being a little serious today. I encourage you to think about the way you speak to yourself, and the message you send online. We can all make a difference in our own unique way.
Until next time, Marinda
PS: E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like me to write an article or blog post for your business. I'm here to help you find your voice.