Know Peace Online: Know Your Goal
Six guideposts to a better world online. This week’s guidepost: #KnowYourGoal
Why do we share information on social media? In today’s digital world it’s easy to distribute and exchange content but not as easy to know precisely why we do it. Before sending off a post, a useful exercise for each of us is to quickly ask ourselves a few questions to pinpoint what we hope to accomplish by sharing. What’s the goal in this situation?
Are we contributing information that we believe others should understand? Perhaps we just want to amuse friends or make them laugh. Does the post we are about to share reflect a significant position or a point of view? Do we feel strongly about the post and hope to convince others to feel same way? Are we looking for individuals who share an interest? If we are forwarding, have we read the entire piece so we know everything about what we are sending? These types of questions can help us clarify what we hope to accomplish and, perhaps more importantly, think about whether the content might be misconstrued?
Over the past 25 years our citizenship responsibilities have expanded into a dense and dynamic virtual world, one that is always in a hurry. We have learned that the ease of communication and sharing enables us to have fun, learn more, and easily connect with others. Social media speed activities up even more, expanding our circles of communication.
Yet it is this speed that can keep us from clearly considering why we distribute information to others and whether what we are about to send is appropriate. Many of us have learned that once something is quickly or mistakenly posted, it may never be completely deleted, and sometimes these mistakes bring on severe consequences. At the very least our posting errors can cause hurt feelings or even anger.
Thus taking a few moments ask ourselves why we are sending out information and quickly clarifying our intentions will help us focus more on our goal and alert us to slow down and take more time to consider whether the information even needs to be widely shared.
Share your thoughts using the hashtag #knowpeaceonline and to sign up to learn more visit our campaign website at knowpeace.online.
Marti Weston is a member of the board at UCC Media Justice and a long-time online educator and blogger, currently at AsOurParentsAge.net. To learn more about the United Church of Christ’s media justice ministry, visit www.uccmediajustice.org.