Only be swayed by the truth

One thing that annoys me a lot at the moment, is how people seem to be so easily swayed and impacted by the way news companies frame news stories. You could see stories about the same event on 5 different news websites and each will be framed differently.

Framing

Framing means the way people present something. The actual event that happened doesn’t change, just a news company will write about that event in a certain way that they think will a) appeal to their audience b) grab attention and c) tie in with the political views of the news company as a whole.

It’s like the coverage of the murder of Jo Cox last week. The facts of the event were – Jo Cox went to work, was walking in public and was murdered. You can argue all day long about the motives, the reasoning’s and what led it to happen but to try and explain it away is just plain wrong. Lets start talking about events and news stories for what actually happened, lets not try and sanitize it or use it to push an agenda.

Reporting

Murder is illegal and wrong. A person being killed is sad. It is so hard for the truth to out these days in situations and that is mainly because there are so many half-truths and out right lies out there, which are being reported on as if they were facts. If something bad happened to you or I, I would want the truth to out. I wouldn’t want my death to be used to benefit a political agenda.

Scare mongering and fear in this country has been created out of nothing by the media. The way the media reports news (especially in the last few weeks) has just fuelled hatred within our society, made a society of angry people and caused division. If news were just about facts rather than opinion and agenda, society would be in a much better place than it is today.

I hope that we become wise to what the news is doing to us soon and that a campaign is started again for real news and factual news. The news has too much power in our world; it shapes the way we think and how we react to things. The news knows how much power it has; we just need to find a way to lessen the power it has over our lives.

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What do you stand for?

The majority of people on this planet have a voice and its up to each and every one of us how we use it. To me the important thing is that we all use it. Regardless of how big or small your voice, it should be used and used in the right way. Never forget that many little voices together can make a big noise.

If someone you knew were asked to say what you stood for, what do you think they would say? If you are passionate about something, do you let other people know? One way we make a difference and impact in this world is by letting others know how we feel and think. You are more powerful and influential than you think, your circle of friends and family will be affected by what you say and the way you think so make sure you do let them know what you think. Just by impacting one friend, which could then impact to their circle of friends and so on and so on.

Action

This weekend some friends of mine have organised a walk through the city of Plymouth to raise awareness of modern day slavery as part of a global effort to one day see an end of human trafficking. These guys saw injustice, were passionate about doing something to help and are making their voices heard. The great thing about this event is that it will see many people coming together in solidarity, in one voice, who will through their actions spread the news of human trafficking through their community.

As many on you who read this blog regularly will know I am passionate about improving dementia care and awareness around the world. If any of my friends were asked what I was passionate about, I hope that the main response that came back was something dementia related. The only way I am going to make sure that happens is by being bold, loud and outgoing with my thoughts and actions. I am proud to be making a stand for dementia and I would be even prouder to be recognised as someone that is making a difference in that area.

Power

Remember you don’t have to stand for what other people stand for. You don’t have to stand for what is popular but as the saying goes ‘if you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything.’ Never under estimate the power of your voice and your actions. Your voice and actions can be as loud and big as you want them to be. Don’t let anyone make you feel like your opinions don’t matter and that your voice can’t be heard.

Pride

A big way to drive traffic to a blog, is putting a link to your blog posts on your social media feeds. Last year when I started the blog I did that for every blog post, publicizing every new blog post on my Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Tumblr. This helped me attract a lot of traffic to the site, with Facebook being my biggest driver of traffic.

Last year I however stopped publicizing my blog on Facebook. I kept publicizing it on all the other platforms but not on Facebook, after I saw friends posting negative things about my blog. After reading the comments my pride was hurt and I didn’t feel confident sharing it on that platform any more, as my blog was all about trying to do something positive, so I wanted to shield myself and the blog from anything negative.

Missing out

My pride and confidence took a bit of a hit, my opinions and my blogs didn’t change but I was missing out on a huge market for my blog. My pride was hurt. I talk a lot in my blogs about stepping out and being confident, but sadly I fell short of what I blog about.

In my blog I stand for a lot of things and am outspoken because this is the way I like to live. I would rather be standing for an opinion and speaking my mind rather than standing against something or hiding my thoughts. I don’t quite 100% agree with it but I do like the quote “if you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything.” I would also rather try and fail than fail to try.

A few weeks ago I got brave and posted a link to one of my blogs on Facebook:

https://adamsibley.wordpress.com/2015/07/08/kingdom-building-not-church-building/

I was blown away by the amount of positive feedback I got and the amount of traffic that came to my blog because of the link. It built my confidence so much that I will now be putting more blog links on my Facebook. It is strange what a bunch of people clicking a like button and typing on computer keyboard can do.

Affecting people

If I was outspoken in an outrageous non-politically correct way, I would understand the negative response but I just never thought I would get any negative feedback from trying to do something positive. I will learn however, that whatever response I get positive or negative, that responses mean I am affecting people and that is a good thing.

I think we are all very prideful people at heart, but a key thing I am looking forward to master is how to take a comment and use it to help educate me, drive me and improve me. You may not agree with everything I think or believe in, but if you don’t I would be more than interested in hearing what you think and believe in. If we all instead of reacting with negative comments, used social media and the Internet to share our own thoughts and beliefs I think the world would be a better place.

A thought and opinion has more chance of impacting the world if it is shared and if you believe in that opinion enough, what people say about it shouldn’t matter.

Get Involved

One thing I would like to encourage all my readers to do this week is ‘get involved’ in something. Most of us have many things we would like to do in our life, but sadly for most they will stay in the ‘like to do’ category forever, instead of moving in to the ‘something I tried’ category.

It is not until you try something that you will know whether you like it or could be any good at it. I would rather try something, fail at it and cross it off the ‘like to do’ category, so I could find more things that I would like to or get closer to finding the thing that I do want to do.

Getting involved makes life more fun

If there is something you like watching or listening to, I find that by getting more involved in it, makes life even more fun. It could be anything from making your own videos, making your own music, helping out at events to running a fan site.

If you want to help someone or something, get in touch with them and offer your services as a volunteer. I have a passion for football, so I got in touch with my local youth club, volunteered my services, became a coach and now a chairman. Being involved in football at the grassroots level over the years has given me an outlet to use my knowledge and experience of football. I have been able to contribute something meaningful in something I love.

Do it better

If you think you can make something better or do something different that hasn’t be done before – get involved. Don’t spend your life being an armchair critic. Criticism never changed the world, but action always does. If you get involved and contribute, more people will be willing to listen to your views and you have a better chance of actually making change. Your viewpoint from your armchair is pointless and doesn’t change anything.

Don’t get me wrong; trying new things isn’t always easy. There will be times where it makes you upset or causes you frustration, but to me that only means that you care and that you should keep going. Sometimes you can start trying to do something you want to do with your life but have to go and pursue it in another way or in another place than you first started. When you get involved and try something new, you have to find the place that is right for you. Never be afraid to change, but before you do always ask yourself if it is yourself or your environment that needs to change. Always try and position yourself where you can make the most impact.

More action – less talk

Don’t be one of these people that say, “I could do that” “I could do that better” or “I would have done that differently.” Be the one that actually does something, nobody likes someone who is all talk and no action. It is much harder to do something than it is to talk about doing something, so I will always do my best not to be negative towards people that are trying to do something.

I have impacted so many more people by getting involved in things than I have from just wanting to do things. So today I want to encourage you to get involved and give something a try.

Keep it Simple

There are many of us out there (me included) that would love to impact and change the world. There are people with big goals and lots of things they would like to achieve or change about the world in which we live. The problem is that a lot of these ambitions are so hard to achieve, that many people give up. My message today is – if you want to impact the world, start with something simple.

If you read my blog regularly you will remember my blog about the crowdfunding page, that was set up to help a football fan that was attacked after a game:

https://adamsibley.wordpress.com/2015/03/11/dont-just-read-the-news-react-to-it/

This was a simple idea, which not only ended up providing financial support for him but also worked as a platform to unite football fans and to send messages of hope. From one goal, which was to raise money, many other things were achieved. It shows you that if you focus on one thing you can still achieve more things than you intended to.

Focus

The simpler we keep things the easier they are to achieve. If you keep your project or message simple, more people will be able to get on board and identify with it. To keep your idea simple you need to really focus on what is the one most important thing you want to achieve and think about the simplest way of achieving it.

My wife and I were at an event on the weekend and we heard a man talking about research in to Parkinson’s disease. This man was interested in gaining stats and information, so he set up a programme which records people voices through a phone app in which now thousands of people have contributed. This man was interested in vocal patterns and came up with an idea that was simple and easy for people to contribute to. People were willing to give of their time to record their voices as it was a simple exercise, wasn’t time consuming and could be done from anywhere in the world.

Action

I think before you start setting up groups, charities, NGO’s and not for profit companies, it is important to put a simple project in to action first and see how it goes. The project and what you want to achieve from it should be the focus, your time at the beginning of an idea should be to test it if it works or can have an impact, before you get caught up in paper work, committees and legalities.

I would much rather do one thing amazingly well, than doing good at a lot of things. I think if you focus on one thing you increase your chances of making a difference in this world. It is important to stick to what you care about and not get sidetracked from that path, the more you get sidetracked in to other things the less likely you are to achieve your goal.

Investing

Investing time at the beginning to really think your ideas through is key. If you can invest time to make your ideas as simple as possible, you start on the right foot. From then on it is up to you to make sure you keep to your plans and always keep things simple, this will save you from being overwhelmed, giving up or taking longer to achieve what you want to achieve.

Promotion

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

When I think about my blog and my current book project, that old philosophical question above always comes to my mind.

I started this blog and my book because I wanted to create and share high quality content with the world, which would impact and influence it in some way. The further I get in to these projects, the more I feel that creating the content is only a very small part of the battle. In a world, which is over-saturated with content, getting people to view your content, over others is a very hard battle.

Wishing content was king

When you start off on projects like this, you have no reputation and it is only by sticking at it that you can build a reputation. Reputation is what leads many people to your work and without it convincing people to view your content is very hard. You can have the greatest content, a great life-changing message but that has no bearing on how many views it will get, which I find sad. I wish people searched out blogs, articles and books based on the content, not on who has written them or who recommends them.

I believe there are millions of gems hidden all over the internet but just haven’t be viewed yet. I don’t think quality of content should be judged on the amount of views it has had, but if you goal is to impact the world then the number of views is hugely important.

Writing in hope

When you create content for the Internet you can normally see how many people have viewed it but you will never know how many people it actually impacted. Some people may read your content and forget about it in a heartbeat, but some will have a reaction to it and it may change their way of thinking. I think as a writer online you keep writing in the continual hope that you are affecting someone somewhere with the words you write.

Knowing that writing the content for my blog and book was only part of the battle, I have been working hard in recent months to promote both. It is important to remember that if you don’t promote your work then who will? I wish the world was more organic and I hate self-promoting with a passion, but if I want to keep to the reasons why I started both projects in the first place, I have to do it.

A snowball

I see self-promotion as a snowball. I tweet, email and post about things in my blog and book, in the hope that the people I connect with will be impacted by it and then promote it to their friends. I’m the one gathering the first few snowflakes in my hand but come a few months, I hope there will be a group of us pushing a gigantic snowball down a hill.

Writing something online and expecting people to read it is the equivalent of just talking at someone and not having a conversation. When we promote our work we can help build that conversation and it is that conversation that helps give our content meaning and attention.

International Support

Most weeks I will check the stats for the blog to see what people are reading and what subjects have really engaged them. The one section of stats that I absolutely love though is the one where I can see the countries that my visitors are coming from.

At the moment it seems like each week I check my stats there are new countries represented. It would be amazing if one day the stats showed that someone in every country on the planet had viewed this blog. That’s the thing I love about the internet, how when you post something at any time of day someone, somewhere can click a link or type in a web address and read your work.

A Connected World

We live in a world now where you don’t even need to go to a country or place to have a positive impact on it, which I think is super cool. A world where you can change the world in your sleep. We are a more connected world than we have ever been before and the possibilities to share in each other’s life are there for us to take.

I am appreciative of every view this website gets and I thank each and everyone of you for taking the time out to read my blog, regardless of what country you come from, but it does always touch me when people whose first language isn’t English take the time to read.

I wish I was fluent in a second language and had the ability to converse with people of other nationalities in their language and read information from their countries. I am also pretty sure that there are many bi-lingual and multi-lingual people out there who’s English is far superior to mine, which puts me to shame really.

A Thirst for Knowledge

I am though so glad that there is this thirst for information and knowledge that people aren’t letting language be a barrier to obtaining it. I wish I could translate this blog properly and have it available in multiple languages to make it easier for people to read, as I think that would open up some important and big audiences.

More than ever I think many of us now understand how important the events in other countries are and how they impact us all. The world is also a more open and accessible space these days, so I think we should be encouraged to learn and understand other languages. I think the English speaking world has it much easier than most other countries when it comes to conversing with the world due to the number of English speakers, but I think it is important that we don’t get lazy with it and that we appreciate the position it affords us.

Shared Experience

I wish I could be there sitting with one of the viewers of this blog from another country when they read it and talk about it with them. I would love to know what they think about what I am saying and how their opinion or viewpoint might differ to mine because of their background or culture.

No one person can experience everything or know everything. This is why I am so keen to use the Internet to share my thoughts and experiences, but to do it in a way where I can connect with others and learn from them as well. I don’t think there are many people out there that you can’t learn something from.

To the people who have not let language be a barrier to their development, dreams, opportunities and thirst for knowledge, I salute you. In life there are so many things that can stop people from achieving what they were put on earth to achieve, so for those that push through them I will be forever impressed.

Don’t let language or anything be a barrier to success in your life. If there is something you want to achieve, its time to go out there and achieve the things you need to achieve to make it happen. If you want to change the world in a positive way don’t let anything stop you.