An epidemic is spreading.
It is not COVID-19, although this disease is unpleasant, lacks an effective vaccine, can be contagious and indeed triggers the urge to vomit. It is called “wickedness”.
If you’ve been watching the news lately, social media has been proven to destroy our speech. As much as I respect the experts, I also disagree. What is demolishing it is that social media provides a platform for rude, rude and cowardly people to hide behind a veil of partial anonymity, giving them what they perceive to be permission. to broadcast without repercussions whatever they want to whomever they want. What one would never say face to face is – for them – considered acceptable in the cyber landscape. Of course, humans have harmed each other since Cain and Abel, but Cain couldn’t hide behind a cloak of technology and do it with impunity.
Make no mistake, this is not another lament for the evils of social media and technology, and how they tear the distinguished fabric of society to shreds. They are just tools, like hammers and shovels. Can we cause damage with these tools? Of course, but what is more fair is that when treated with a positive and original intention, they can unmistakably bring us together to effect positive change.
Example 1: When I was a kid in Michigan and wanted to phone parents in California, we had to wait until after 11 p.m. to get lower rates. We also trusted that no one else on our party line was using the phone at the time. Calls were rushed, each family member allowed 15 seconds to scream on the static before hanging up in less than three minutes to avoid additional costs. Today, we connect face-to-face anytime with virtually anyone, anywhere, and almost for free.
On a larger scale, when disasters strike, victims say they are “safe” on social media. Funds are quickly raised to help rebuild. The news is broadcast; families are reunited. Social media and the now ubiquitous network of communication tools have given voice to socio-political movements, affecting change for the better. Doctors can even treat remotely. None of these events could have happened without social media and technology.
Brought together in a way that was impossible before social media, kindness movements are springing up to combat the wickedness that oozes into our global culture. People come together to share compassion and kindness, far beyond the well-known “random acts” meme.
“World Kindness Day” (November 13) was created to “highlight good deeds in the community, for kindness is the common thread that unites us all”. Search for “habit of kindness” and find 18,100,000 results. “Effects of Kindness” reveals more than double that number, including a scientific study, “The Five Beneficial Effects of Kindness.” These include greater happiness, better heart health, slower aging, better relationships – and a ripple effect that makes others do the same.
Yes, there is a dark, rotten and putrid underside of the internet where sad, frustrated and scared people troll the web by spreading misfortune. But we push back with repeated little acts of kindness. It’s easy to open a door for someone behind you entering a building, or to allow another car to enter traffic in front of you. What do you say about this? Go into a cafe and drop a dollar in the tip pot; don’t even order anything. Watch the reaction. It will make you smile. Smile more often; say “hello” to strangers. Compliment a clerk – better yet, tell the store manager how satisfied you are with the clerk’s service.
I joined a movement dedicated to a benevolent act every day for the year to come. Connect with us – after all, if there ever was a time when we needed kindness and compassion, it’s now.
Scott “Q” Marcus is the CRP (Chief Recovering Perfectionist) of www.ThisTimeIMeanIt.com. He is available for coaching and / or advice. To find out more, join her motivational mailing list at www.ThisTimeIMeanIt.com/signup.