Even though I’m in the public eye, I’m a very discreet person. So, when I go on social media, I ask myself one question: What do I want to share of myself?
Without fail, I end up sharing the most positive parts of my life–things that I feel I’ve made massive improvements on, or experiences with my family that will, maybe, inspire other families. Social media also provides an avenue to allow more positivity into my own life. When my husband took my last name, so many men came out and confessed that that’s what they did in their own lives. We were deeply moved by their reaction, and I felt really so happy that I was shedding a light on a group of men that are constantly overlooked. So by my husband and I sharing this experience, it gave them validation and we felt like we had made a meaningful difference in their lives.
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Of course, social media, as we all know, has a dark side. Cyberbullying is a growing epidemic (I’ve experienced my fair share). But no matter what happens, or what the reaction may be, I am not going to stop sharing. That’s not to say that I haven’t learned a thing or two along the way. I am working to reshape the way I want to say things, and I know how important it is to choose your words wisely. The truth is, we’re living in a soundbite era. People aren’t interested in the conversation of something, they just want the headline of it. So that means that I just have to be a little wiser in the way I express myself.
We’re may be living in a modern era, but this is a timeless trope: Bad news sells. We want to hear that people are doing badly and we crave this vicious news cycle; it’s very dysfunctional. We have to become curators of the kind of information that we are intaking and what we’re putting out there, too.
There’s an unprecedented amount of information, and we have unprecedented access. We have enough material out there to compel us to remain in our homes and be closed to people, possibilities, and, most important, to the possibility of change. And that’s why staying positive is absolutely necessary. For all the vitriol we see online, we’re also more directly connected to the world. We are able to see how big the world is, how wonderful it is, and how it’s evolving. In those moments, I feel certain that we’re headed in the right direction. In the end, I’d rather feel that I’m a part of the group that’s trying to make the difference, trying to view it differently, and trying to remain half full versus half empty.
As told to Jessie Heyman