Will YOU Take the Social Media Challenge?
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Politics and Activism

Will YOU Take the Social Media Challenge?

Follow the golden rule.

Will YOU Take the Social Media Challenge?
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This past week has been a horror on all social media platforms. People with a wide range of varying viewpoints are at each other’s throats with harsh remarks and forceful opinions. Those with rainbow profile pictures are attacking those without, and those without are attacking those with. Races and religions are fighting over the confederate flag’s place in our nation. Right wing people are scornful against left wing people and left wing people shove against the right wing’s viewpoints.

Sadly, this situation has not been a result of the gay marriage ruling, nor because of the controversy surrounding the confederate flags. Not even because of the Paris Hilton plane crash prank.

I have grown accustomed to the negativity social media can bring. Social media is essentially a hub where people go to share pieces of their lives. While much of it can be fun and charming, people tend to mix the bad in alongside the good.

Something I have learned in my twenty-something years on this planet is that no two people will ever share exactly the same viewpoint. Whether you are Christian, Muslim, black, white, gay, straight, Democrat or Republican, no one will ever completely agree with every single thing you stand for. And you know what? That’s okay. Imagine a world where everyone agreed on everything. You wouldn’t learn anything. Why would you want to? There’s no opportunity to debate on a civil matter with another human being. In a world where everyone agrees with you, there is no growth; not in you, not in your neighbor, not in the nation and certainly not in the world.

Unfortunately, rather than recognizing the beauty in a diverse population with diverse beliefs and viewpoints, people take it as an opportunity to attack others who are not the same as them. Cue, social media.

Social media has been used for wonderful things. Significant others can now talk to their deployed loved ones over Skype instead of going a year with only so much as a three-minute phone call. Parents can keep in touch with their kids as they head off to college. News about what is going on all over the world can be shared with just a click of a button—and let’s not forget about the adorable animal videos.

However, social media can be used for hate too—a whole lot of it. I don’t mean hate in the political sense of the word, I mean that people are intentionally and aggressively trying to hurt and scare others into believing their own personal opinion—which is completely the wrong way of going about spreading your news.

I have nothing against people stating their personal standpoints, in fact, I applaud it. There’s something to be said about people who are confident in their beliefs and I find it highly respectable no matter the stance. The problem lies when these statements become extreme like condemning people to hell, name calling, using derogatory language and flat out intimidation to try to force others into your beliefs. It doesn’t prove anything, except the fact that you are an argumentative and close-minded individual. Do you believe in something? Wonderful. Stay firm in what you believe, but in the meantime, be tolerant of others. You want to prove a point? Instead of throwing stones and jumping to conclusions, you should be open to meeting people, talking with them and understanding where they come from. The life situations that people have gone through shapes who they are. Their experiences in life can help you better understand why they hold the viewpoint they do.

Imagine you grew up in the Muslim religion. From the time you were a child you were taught to practice the Muslim traditions of prayer and grew up learning the Muslim beliefs. Then one day, you meet an Atheist, someone who had grown up being taught the theories of science and evolution. Initially, when you would share your beliefs, you would find the concept of evolution strange. You would find it confusing and wouldn’t understand why in the world anyone would believe in that way. This is how it is found on social media. People who are unfamiliar with another perspective start sharing what they believe to know is true. Then someone responds who doesn’t believe that way. Soon, comments begin to turn to spit as the one tries to “out-do” and “win” the argument in an ever-growing snowball of hate. This same scenario can happen in the realm of politics, race, sexuality, gender or age.

Things shouldn’t be like this. Things would not be like this if people really took the time to learn, to communicate with people whose views don’t reflect their own. This doesn’t mean you would have to drop and forget your own beliefs. Diversity is what makes the human race beautiful. It means taking the time to truly understand others. It’s sharing and debating viewpoints in a civil and respectable manner. It’s accepting others as they are and where they are at. It’s not a matter of tolerance; it’s a matter of love.

This challenge goes out to all who possess any form of a social media account. For the next week, instead of posting and saying negative things about a person, political party, religion or any other issue post something positive about it. Maybe you reach out to the person you don’t see eye-to-eye with and just learn from them. It does not mean you have to agree with them, but it shows that you are open to understanding. Life is too short to spend it harming other people.

And, like we learned in Kindergarten, if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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