Campaigns

When you read the word campaign, what is your first internal response?

For many, it brings a sense of negativity, triggering frustration and stress.

Wonderful campaigns do exist…ALS ice bucket challenge…breast cancer awareness…pledge drives for worthy causes. Campaigns to raise funds for schools, churches, and community organizations.

All of these can be worth our time, attention, and financial commitment.

As the presidential campaign season begins to ramp up, I’m reminded of the way unpleasantness can unfold on social media.

Issues

On August 20, 2012, I posted the following:

“Today, I contemplated quitting facebook until after the elections. The growing number of divisive posts, videos, etc. are quite disheartening. Instead, I resolve to counter the negativity by expressing thankfulness for something every day until November. Join me?”

To be honest, I was more than disheartened. I was mad and shocked at the rudeness and disrespect from all sides of numerous aisles. People from every walk of life (including those in leadership positions) were hurling derogatory remarks at others in comment sections.

At the time, I wondered how we became a society and culture of such divisiveness and disrespect? Hiding behind a computer or phone screen does not give anyone license to wound with their words.

I almost ran the other direction and gave up. Then the eternal optimist in me protested. I thought and prayed about what I could do and then determined to counter the contentious campaign with a kinder, gentler campaign that might add a little positivity to the social media circus.

The thankfulness campaign began and I asked others to post their thankfulness under the comments or just think about it on their own. Several people posted each day, many called or emailed me to say thank you for sharing something positive. This campaign continued through the presidential election and then I was finished.

Or so I thought.

A close friend experiencing tough circumstances contacted me to ask why I quit posting. I explained the original thankfulness campaign ended with the election but she told me she looked forward to seeing daily thankfulness in the midst of her pain and requested that I continue to post each day. I agreed and then asked how long she wanted me to continue the posts. She replied, “As long as it takes.” I renamed it thankfulday and have continued this daily habit ever since.

Reality

Born of frustration, this habit has grown into a daily evaluation of my heart. I started the campaign to influence a bit of social media for good. What really transpired was a shift within me.

I am so grateful for this lengthy lesson in thankfulness. It has changed how I view events and people in my life, provided a beautiful connection with a long-ago friend, and gives daily reasons to rearrange my thoughts in a more positive manner.

Together

So, here we are in another presidential campaign cycle. Harsh words have already begun to fly back and forth on a variety of platforms.

Will you join me in transforming a bit of social media into a positive and respectful place for discussion?

We can make a difference and use our campaign for good.

(Thankfulday is  posted each day – and then shared on the facebook page. We would love for you to share your thankfulness as well!)