Getting Your Voice Heard

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I think it is easier today than it ever was before to share our opinion with the world. A post, a tweet, an email, a status, a blog, there are now many ways that we can instantly share how we are feeling, our opinions and our thoughts with anyone who wants to read them.

Back just twenty years ago there weren’t these opportunities that we have today to communicate with the world around us. To complain about a newspaper article you would have to write a letter and post it, now you can post a comment online underneath the article. To complain to a company about poor service you would have to phone them up or go to the business premises, now you can tweet them or message them on Facebook and get a response.

If you had an opinion about something it used to be a case of just verbalising them with your friends and family, now you can write a blog or post them on social media to start conversation. Your opinion can then quickly get exposure to millions of people you will never meet and before you know it people are talking about it.

It’s a jungle out there

The problem we have though is that because there are so many people, trying to share so many opinions, it is so easy for them to get lost in the jungle, which is the online world. Sharing your thoughts is very easy now but trying to gain an audience, I believe is harder than ever. For a thought or opinion to make a difference it needs an audience and a pretty big audience to make an impact.

When you have an audience, you then need the right people in your audience. Online there are so many automated, bot and spam accounts, you never know how many actual people are reading your words. There is a huge difference between viewing and reading. So many people just scroll through their social media newsfeeds, just scanning and not actually reading, that many people will just scroll on past what you are trying to share with the world.

Real world engagement

For your voice truly to be heard you need real world engagement, not online engagement. A like or a favourite on social media isn’t going to get your voice heard. What will get your voice heard is someone reading what you type, taking it on board and doing something about it in the real world.

Don’t think just because something you said got a bunch of retweets that it is making a difference. With social media and the Internet the term ‘5 minutes of fame’ must have been taken down to ‘a few seconds of fame.’ What trends this morning probably won’t this afternoon.

If you’ve got an opinion that you want the world to hear, don’t get complacent with it. Couple your opinion with some action and keep going with it. Make sure you are talking to the right people, not just anyone. One right person hearing your thoughts and opinions can be worth more than a million of the wrong ones.

Share what you want to share

I would encourage everyone to share what they have a burning passion to share, just make sure you are always aware of you are sharing it with. Just because we have the ability to share so easily these days lets not get lazy with it, as I think in todays world it is even harder to stand out, as with this new power at our finger tips everyone is at it.

I think social media is too much about encouraging us to have our own personal accounts and I think this just leads to more isolation. I think it is more important than ever to actually work with people and band together. It’s a big world out there online and just because you are a member it doesn’t always mean you are connected or feel connected.

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Taking pride and not shame

Over the last year I have noticed even more than before, that people are really starting to invest in themselves and are feeling strong enough to share it with the world. Things that people wouldn’t have talked about as much in the past, are now things people feel proud to share. With the rise in social media it is ‘Trolling’ that grabs the headlines but I think amongst friends, social media has been a key tool for people to feel good about themselves and get support.

In the UK we have clubs like ‘Weight Watchers’ and ‘Slimming World’ that people can join in an effort to get their weight down and get fitter.

http://www.slimmingworld.com/

http://www.weightwatchers.co.uk/index.aspx

These clubs have been around for years, but one thing I have noticed this year, is that many people are sharing on social media that they are going and after they go they are updating their social media platforms with a status or a photo of their success. These updates then tend to get a lot of likes and positive comments from people they are connected with.

Support

I think the more we can do to support people who want to improve themselves, the better. That kind word or that like may be all that person needs to start something or to keep going. Lets try and not scroll past updates about people wanting to improve themselves, lets get behind them, it takes all but a few seconds to do and could make a lifetime of difference for that person.

If someone you know is trying a new skill lets encourage those first efforts. If someone is taking a cooking class or a pottery class, lets praise their first efforts regardless of what they look or taste like. If someone you know is taking a course to help them find employment, lets take the time to motivate them to keep going when the course is getting hard and exams are looming.

If you have a friend that is starting a creative project like making music, making art or writing a blog, lets support them with viewing or listening to their project and sharing it with your friends. In these ventures the best way to help them is to help increase the size of their audience and spread the word.

The power of a kind word

Just never underestimate the power that your words and actions have on other people. That email, that text, that post can all make a difference. I have found in life that if you support others, others will support you and you will find yourself in a more supportive group of friends and acquaintances.

Sharing in the success of others is a very uplifting thing to do. Doing this can help make you feel happier and can spur you on to try and achieve things in your own life. The only way we can achieve more and to achieve better is by trying and that is the thing we need to be applauding. Lets forget about the end goal for a minute and what might happen later, as nothing will ever happen if we never try.

We need to encourage as many people as possible to try things and then once we’ve done this, we then need to encourage people to keep on trying and to try other things. If someone tries something once they might not succeed but if he or she keeps on trying they will increase their chance of success by a massive percentage.

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Combating ‘Trolling’

The best way to combat ‘Trolling’ is building people up and not breaking them down. Before anyone has the chance to say something negative about someone or what he or she is doing, get in there first with a positive comment.

It is hard not to worry about what other people are going to say when you try to do something, but you have to keep remembering why you want to do it and what you want to achieve. It is important that we don’t let the words of people that don’t want you to succeed, dictate how your life is going to play out, because if we stop trying after the first negative word we may never try again.

Always remember there is no shame in trying to improve yourself, your situation and the world around you.