Wednesday, August 27, 2014

No Problems Without Solutions

Have you seen the latest horrible video/image/story about ThisMan/ThatWoman/ThosePeople?

If you're on Facebook, the answer is most likely yes. Someone you follow has been "alerted" to something mean, illegal, immoral, or cruel, and they want you to see it, too.

The stories are everywhere. Just look!

Hypocrites pontificating!
Companies violating!

Bigots discriminating!
Scandals... um... scandal-ating!

I get it. These are bad things happening and your friends want you to know about them.

But why?

What's the point, exactly? What good does it do to learn about these things if you are powerless to change them?

Ah... but what if you *could* do something about them? That would change things, wouldn't it? Instead of just being a bystander and mumbling "tsk, tsk" under your breath, imagine being able to take actions to make bad situations better.

Well, all of this talk about "your friends" and the things they post isn't about other people at all. It's about me. I have been the person posting these links and ranting and raving about the bad people and the terrible things. But if I'm not doing anything else, it makes no sense to post at all.

My solution? No more posting stuff like this unless I also include a very specific, very direct call to action. If I read that a retailer is discriminating against a group of people, I will take the time to look up a corporate contact, share that address or email with my friends, and write a letter myself to the company explaining why I am bothered and what I expect them to do. If I read about legislation (proposed or enacted) that concerns me, I need to make sure that my elected officials hear from me directly. When I share the story on Facebook, I'll include a request to friends to contact their own representatives. And if I hear about something local that I think deserves more attention, I'll reach out to area news teams and encourage them to report on it.

My point is, instead of just railing against stupidity... and really, I'm preaching to the choir when I post on Facebook... I will identify specific actions that can be taken and make it easy for my friends to follow my lead.

Yes, there are problems in the world. But fixing them requires more than just me complaining about them on social media. Actions are what lead to solutions.

Oh, and if you see me forget this pledge, say something. I won't be perfect but I can always get better.

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