Bad news is everywhere these days. It’s there when you switch on the television. It’s there when you glance at the newspaper headlines and most insidiously, it’s there when you open your social media platform of choice.
The thing is, there’s just as much, if not more, good news out there. It’s just getting lost in the fray of negativity. We can change that though, if we all make an effort to be more positive online.
Studies have found that sharing happy news is good for you and everyone you know. It makes sense, so why don’t we do it more? The reason humans are more inclined to seek out bad news dates back to our cave-dwelling days. Back then our survival depended on us being able to sniff out danger.
Nowadays, the chances of running into a saber-toothed tiger are slim. However, the message has yet to reach our brains. At least, that’s what the evolutionary psychologists and neuroscientists have found.
I’m sure there’s plenty of truth in that, but I’m equally convinced that the media are to blame. By dishing up helping after helping of disasters, scandal, terrorism, crime and the like, it’s little wonder we’re primed to seek negativity out.
The guys at Buffer —the popular social media management platform— found that positivity can have an impact on social media marketing. According to them, positive updates breed positive updates. For me, that’s reason enough to toss negativity out the window.
Switching to a more positive mindset might be a little tricky in the beginning, but bringing out your inner optimist doesn’t have to be hard. According to Buffer, learning how to think more positively is a simple four-step process.
How to Be More Positive Online
So, how can you be more positive online? It’s pretty easy, actually. All you have to do share and interact with the good news you come across. As for bad news? Sure, there will be occasions when you feel compelled to share something that’s technically bad news e.g. Hurricane Harvey.
But consider this before you do. Is it helpful? Will it make a difference? If it’s just images depicting the devastation caused by the disaster, think twice. However, if you’re sharing a way for people to help or get involved, then by all means go ahead and spread the word.
It’s common sense really. If you think it will add value, make someone smile, motivate, inspire or generally have a positive effect, it makes sense to share it. However, if you’re having fun at someone else’s expense, it’s probably best to rethink your motives.
How to Make a Difference Online
You don’t have to transform yourself into Pollyanna. Just channel your inner-superhero and be a better human. Instead of finding what’s wrong with the world, look for what’s right. We’re so quick to cause a ruckus when something goes wrong, yet we seldom stop to highlight great service.
I’m not saying you should never complain, but there’s a difference between constructive feedback and having a moan just for the sake of it. Also, we need to take into account, and make leeway for, the possibility that sometimes it’s just an honest mistake. It happens, we all make them.
10 Ideas to Get You Going
- When you receive good service mention it on social media and make sure to tag the person or company.
- Write a recommendation for a friend, colleague or even your boss on LinkedIn. Don’t wait for them to ask, just go ahead and write something.
- Leave positive reviews on Amazon, iTunes, Yelp or Tripadvisor. We’ve all read an amazing book, listened to a brilliant podcast or eaten a memorable meal. Let’s take a moment to hat tip the person behind the experience.
- Make a list of NPOs close to your heart and share what they’re doing on social media.
- Support and spread the word of businesses doing good and turning a profit, such as Tom’s Shoes and Warby Parker.
- Share curated lists like 11 Fairtrade & Ethical Fashion Brands or 17 Companies that are Actually Making a Difference.
- Curate your own a list of helpful or inspiring blog posts or websites and share them online.
- Introduce people. Not in a matchmaking way, but rather to help them. If you know your colleague is working her towards becoming debt-free, you could introduce her to Melanie Lockert of Dear Debt.
- Interact with the positive stuff on social media. You don’t have to share every great thing you come across, but you can like it or comment on it.
- Mike Dooley —the guy behind Notes from the Universe—started an initiative called Raise the Vibe. The intention is simply to uplift and inspire. Join the Facebook group to hook up with like-minded people and share your own positive findings.
If you’re still stuck for inspiration just turn to the all-knowing Google for help. I used the search term ‘good news’ and found the Good News Network. Searching for ‘make a difference’ landed me 7 Key behaviors of people who make a positive difference in the world.
Our brains might be stuck in the Paleolithic era right now, but that doesn’t mean they have to stay there forever. By making a habit of hanging out on websites that share only good news, we can learn to find positivity in everyday life.