Ever since I launched We The Change, I have spent hundreds of hours in various social networking communities (Digg, Propeller, Stumble) and have become somewhat dismayed by how much non-productive, fear-inducing and senseless content gets promoted and which ultimately becomes “popular”!
I guess I was hoping to find that social networking realms were areas where people were choosing to spread more positive and uplifting news. We all know that traditional media outlets are not built for this purpose. “Fear sells”, and even though I disagree with the premise I understand it from a business perspective.
But places like Digg have been created by the people, for the people…and there is no overriding financial incentive to spreading nonsense and fear. Let me give you an example. At the time of the first draft of this article, these are the top 5 articles appearing on Digg’s homepage:
10 bizarre behaviors of parasites
My Daughter’s Life [25 PICS]
Vinyl Toys: Invasion of the Color Snatchers
Two AI Pioneers. Two Bizarre Suicides. What Really Happened?
Belly Dancer Hilarious Accident!
Not exactly the most inspiring and useful content. I understand that it is unrealistic to think ALL news stories should be meaningful and with-purpose, and my intention is not to “preach” the necessity to change your social networking voting patterns…at least not right away. But shouldn’t someone ask the question: How has it become SO normal for purpose-less content to dominate ALL the airwaves?
Not to say that there aren’t tons of people out there promoting positive articles, occurrences and movements…because there ARE and I have had the pleasure to meet hundreds of you! However, too much of the “good stuff” still seems to get buried under a whole lot of nonsense.
With that in mind here are 10 simple actions you can ingratiate to start changing your surfing habits, and transform yourself into an online contributor who is part of the solution:
1. Vote and comment on stories that you think would be genuinely helpful to other people.
2. Vote and comment on stories that have a meaningful and purposeful message; especially those which suggest positive happenings and change!
3. Start becoming aware of all the “fear-producing” stories that permeate web culture…try your best not to partake and spread these stories around.
4. Make friends with bloggers, social networkers, and readers who have really interesting and positive things to bring to the table.
5. Find a cause, or causes, that mean something to you and spend your online-time contributing to them.
6. Become aware of all gossip content you spread, and ask yourself: “what am I really accomplishing here by spreading these types of stories”.
7. Start noticing how addictive gossip and fear-producing stories can be.
8. Start noticing if boredom is a factor, and if you are simply “wasting time” when online. If so, figure out what genuinely excites you and do it!
9. Begin realizing that the internet can be an ultra-powerful tool for initiating positive change on a global scale.
10. Also realize that the internet’s “darker side” can be an extremely limiting tool in your life, and its addictive callings waste your valuable time.
You may get angry by these statements and feel offended by the topic I am bringing up. Maybe some of you will disagree with me and tell me that the internet is the impetus for much more positive change in the world then I am mentioning here, and not simply the means for negative and pointless drivel. I agree with you…to an extent.
At the time of the second draft of this article, here are the top 5 articles on Digg:
On A Scale Of 1 To 10 Eva Mendes Is A 12 – French TV Video
Top 5 Creepiest Pop Culture Foreshadowings of 9/11
We’re supplying electricity to Gaza under Qassam
WOW: Guitar Hero makes a billion
Oliver Stone to Direct George W. Bush Biopic
You getting my drift yet? Negative news permeates our culture. We may not be able to do anything about it concerning traditional media, but we sure can in social networking platforms. I urge you, start checking on the homepage of Digg, Propeller and the rest periodically…and remember that THESE are the stories that a majority of people see!
Can we use this great “web of interconnectedness” better? Absolutely. We just have to TRY…and the first step in trying is becoming more
aware of what we spread around.
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