Recently there was quite an uproar on social media. That is nothing unusual. However, this was quickly followed by an uproar over the uproar, a counter-uproar if you will, and that was quite unusual. I am, of course, referring to the Great Starbuck’s Holiday Coffee Cup Debacle of 2015.
Not long ago, I wrote about protecting our buttons; the way I see it, we all just got our buttons pushed, myself included.
We have become a society that looks for offense, that expects it. The truth is, what you look for, you find. Add to this the social pressure of a social media reactions and – voila! – a full blown viral outrage.
How did this happen?
One person – just one! – posted a video expressing his distress over the Starbucks cups. However, media outlets got wind of the video and ran with it, declaring that Christians were up in arms.
They forgot to mention it was just one Christian who was outraged.
Voices crying that Christians were upset were quickly drowned out. So many Christians (and others) chimed in, declaring not only their lack of outrage but also how trivial they found the situation that now I can’t find anything else on Facebook or Twitter. It was a viral counter-attack.
This is a case that had no serious repercussions, except Starbucks got a lot of free publicity. However, I find reactions to genuine concerns and tragedies equally unbalanced.
As a much more serious example, we need only consider this past weekend’s social media blitz.
While the terrorist attacks in Paris were horrific and deserving of attention and outrage, there was such an overwhelming flood of posts on social media, inducing Facebook to create a profile picture badge to show support for France. This obliterated the response to any other tragedy, including earthquakes and suicide bombings in other countries.
How do I know about these other tragedies? There was, again, a counter response bringing attention back to other parts of the world.
Do you see the pattern?
How Can We Protect Our Buttons?
In The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth, John Maxwell talks about the Law of Awareness – You must know yourself to grow yourself. Do you want to grow in the area of keeping a peaceful mind (and newsfeed)? Then start to become more aware of what pushes your buttons and how you react when your buttons are pushed. Be mindful when your buttons are pushed and intentionally choose a different reaction.
Yes, we can choose our reactions!
Each time you choose not to react or overreact to the provocative and inflammatory content online, it becomes easier to keep calm the next time. It is a process.
If you would like to learn more about the Law of Awareness, join me for a 3-session mastermind group in December (2015) on the first three Laws of Growth. You can find details at A Taste of Growth.
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