Are You Thankful for Positive Social Media? 5

Positivity wins in social mediaPeople respond to positivity. The Dalai Lama, confirmed by science, notes that people are more inclined to be open to others who are smiling. And our own mood rises measurably when we choose to smile.

I’ve learned some tough lessons in this regard in the past couple of weeks. My last couple of posts here were cast in negative terms — I asked people if they were “mud in the social media waters” and whether it was time for them to “grow up socially,” and I received some appropriate reactions. I could have cast those in positive terms. Through a completely different set of personal experiences, I’ve been seeing some astonishing acts of callousness in social media, especially in comment culture. I have to admit that as I analyze it, I can find some of the same behaviors in myself. We can all be better in cultivating positivity.

I saw this in action while working for a fundraising organization. Traditionally, charity appeals have been about guilt–they would say, How can you stand to let this suffering continue? They implied, What kind of a person are you? This organization I worked for turned it around and said, We know you have lots of ways to get involved. How can we be the organization that helps you do it the way you want to? And it was successful as a result–it appealed to the best in people. Every trace of guilt and pressure that could be found was removed from it. It wasn’t perfect, but it was aimed in the right direction.

You win more flies with honey, if you’d prefer a colloqualialism. People buy positive feelings.

So how do we do it? How do we keep it upbeat and positive? Here are some thoughts:

  • Resolve to be positive. Practice being positive–set aside some time in your budget to do good deeds (comment on someone’s blog, promote some links, etc.).
  • Frame your output in terms of solutions. Don’t concentrate on the problem–concentrate on the answer.
  • Say how. Acknowledge what’s wrong, but give me advice on how to fix it.
  • Tell some jokes. Burst your own bubble once in a while. One of my new friends, Nick Layman, is a genius at this. I have yet to find anything he couldn’t make into a funny video idea. Funny, but not hurtful.
  • Don’t be Pollyanna. People can smell false optimism a mile way. Being positive is hard work. You have to work to find it.
  • Surround yourself with positive people. (Thanks, Mark.)
  • Remember that everything you say may be read by the actual human being about whom you’re writing. A person who is someone’s son or daughter.
  • Don’t work on public-facing material when you know you’re tired or cranky. It will show. (Guilty.)
  • Give thanks. Be free with your praise. It costs you nothing.

So, as we pause in the United States to give thanks, how do you like to stay positive? What are your favorite examples of positivity in social media?

And please let me take this opportunity to thank you for reading. It is hugely appreciated.

[Flickr photo by Nazer K.]


Will Reichard

Will Reichard has an MBA from the University of Mexico and is CEO of CrossCut Communications, LLC, a full-service marketing and communications company with a digital edge. His forte is messaging. From working as an editor at a Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper to articulating the selling points of an innovative customer focused nonprofit fundraising organization, he consistently helps to give voice to challenging but mission-critical ideas. He writes a blog on social media, public relations, marketing and technology and was recently invited to be a panelist on personal branding at the prestigious Crittenden National Conference. He is also an award-winning writer who has been published in outlets including Innovation: America’s Journal of Technology Commercialization and National Mortgage Professional Magazine.

About William Reichard

Will Reichard, MBA, President, has a broad background in social media, strategic communications and marketing, public relations, development, fundraising and business management. His forte is messaging. From working as an editor with a Pulitzer Prize-winning daily newspaper to helping establish capacity in an early-phase public relations company aimed at middle-market businesses to articulating the selling points of an innovative customer-focused nonprofit fundraising organization (United Way of Central New Mexico), Reichard consistently helps to give shape to challenging but mission-critical ideas. He is an award-winning writer who has been published in outlets including Innovation: America’s Journal of Technology Commercialization. Most recently, he has consulted for a wide range of clients through his company, CrossCut Communications, and has become a sought-after speaker and adviser on the field of social media and business, a role in which he enjoys applying his bachelor’s degree in cultural anthropology. He writes a blog on social media, public relations, marketing and technology and was recently invited to be a panelist on personal branding at the prestigious Crittenden National Conference. He has additional interests in change management, social theory, issues of diversity, and management of technology. He graduated magna cum laude in anthropology and recently completed an executive-level master’s of business administration with a 4.0 gpa, both through the University of New Mexico. He is a member of Beta Gamma Sigma. Reichard belongs to Social Media Club and the New Mexico Tech Council, is a member of the Albuquerque Independent Business Alliance, and belongs to the Business New Mexico network. He is involved in a variety of community efforts, including serving as president of Albuquerque Net Impact Professional and the board of the YMCA of Central New Mexico. He is particularly proud of his membership in the Rotary Club of Albuquerque del Sol. Available for speaking opportunities.