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January 5th, 2017

I have an odd relationship with social media.

I want to believe that social media and the internet has all the potential that was first promised when it came out. To bring the people of the world together. To share ideas and knowledge. To be the great equalizer, giving everyone an equal say.

Of course, it's not that at all. At it's best social media is way to share your ideas or at least a place to put your ideas out for possible viewing. At it's worst, it's a giant echo chamber; a place to ensconce yourself firmly in groups that reinforce and applaud everything you say and reward the ridicule and belittlement of those who disagree.

In the two years I spent getting a Small Business degree and I also earned a certificate in Social Media Marketing. I've learned all the ins and outs of social media marketing, how to phrase things to get views, how to tweak keywords to get loved by Google, the best places to promote what you publish.

The problem is what really sells on social media is anger and hate and outrage and, most importantly, the right to feel superior. It frustrates me to see so many people, people I know to be good people, so easily post or like things that are full of hate and derision. I understand the appeal of preaching to the choir, of gathering a cadre of true believers and marching like Sherman until nothing remains but burnt earth and the echoes of what you're shouting. The problem is no one is ever truly changed by force -- at least never for the better.

I'm struggling to find a way to "speak love and peace" into a space that is so very far from both of those concepts. I love discussion and philosophy and the sharing of points of view and ideas, but don't know if I can deal with the amount of trolls that such an attempt would attract. I'm not sure I have the ability or temperament to meet all that negativity with positivity and love.

All I really know is, I would like to give it a try.

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