If COVID has taught us anything, it’s that we all have friends and family who aren’t afraid to shout their opinions from the rooftops of social media.
And maybe it’s just me, but my opinion has never changed after seeing a pithy tweet, Facebook post or viral TikTok.
What about you?
How easily (or not) are you swayed?
Today, the “woke” mob and Cancel Culture have all but drowned out the opinions of anyone they disagree with.
No matter your political persuasions, if you’re going to share your opinion in the open square (namely, social media), then you’d better be sure it lines up with a single line of thinking… or else.
Because if you don’t toe the line, then your influence can be confined to one small sect of society, those who agree with you and no one else.
Of course, if you show “remorse”, changing your opinion on a dime when faced with fanatical resistance from “the other side”, you *might* be accepted back in the majority.
And it seems more and more people — especially those with the most to lose (i.e. celebrity athletes) — are bowing down at the woke alter of online bullying.
Now, that doesn’t mean everyone isn’t susceptible to changing their opinions on a whim.
After all, isn’t it “forward-thinking” to allow yourself the opportunity to change your opinion if you come across new, more verifiable information that contradicts one of your commonly-held beliefs?
In a civil society like ours (okay, maybe not as “civil” as it used to be), we’re supposed to be able to freely share and debate ideas without fear of a mob bullying us, right?
The problem is that’s just not the case these days, especially not on social media, where you can easily be censored or outright canceled for simply expressing an opinion.
Because the Big Tech powers at be seem to think we’re all mindless sponges, easily swayed by information they deem as “misleading”.
So, with this in mind, how in the world do you have an opinion without losing your influence?
Step One: Have an Opinion
It goes without saying but Cancel Culture has caused many of us to sink back into our collective shell of silence.
Because the alternative is going through the very real pain of being slandered, bullied and threatened with violence, all because your opinion doesn’t line up with theirs.
I wonder what Alexander Hamilton, Frederick Douglass, or Harriet Tubman would say about today’s toxic discourse in nearly every facet of society.
My guess is they’d ask to be sent back to their time, when perhaps they could have more influence over society.
Yet courage in the face of evil — in this case, standing up to fascists who want to silence anyone opposing them — is as necessary today as it was in 1938.
And how do you stand up in a civil way?
Have an opinion.
Step Two: Share, Don’t Shout
Perhaps one of the greatest deceptions perpetrated by social media companies on an unsuspecting public is the misclassification of the term “share”.
“Share your opinion,” they say.
In fact, Big Tech platforms perform quite the opposite function.
Because when you “share” your opinion on a social media platform, the very nature of the platform is to shout it out (they call it “broadcast”) to your network.
There’s nothing about their platforms that allow you to share your opinion.
Because sharing requires a give and take.
In normal human-to-human interactions, sharing opinions has always required a back-and-forth conversation, usually beginning with pleasantries and eventually flowing into discussions about a wide range of topics, where each of you shares thoughts that benefit the conversation as a whole.
And when you’re engaged in a conversation in person, your subconscious (at the very least) is continuously gauging one thing: Is this person in my tribe or not? How much (or how little)?
Your words, actions and body language all work together to help you survive and thrive in each and every conversation.
And that means, you really have to know who you’re talking to.
So, what’s the #1 thing we should think about before sharing (not shouting) our opinions with other people?
It’s simple, really…
Know your audience.
Step Three: Love Before Truth
You’ve probably experienced this before…
You’re in the middle of an excellent conversation with someone you deeply care about.
And at some point they hit you with The Truth.
Perhaps it’s truth about a place or a person you didn’t know before.
(And, no, we’re not talking about gossip here. Take that somewhere else!)
Maybe it’s truth about the universe.
Or about God.
Or maybe even about yourself.
In any case, even if it was painful to hear, your relationship probably survived — maybe didn’t even take a hit.
In fact, you probably walked away from that conversation loving them even more!
Because you trusted them.
You knew they were in your tribe.
And at a deeper level, you knew they loved you as a person.
So, when we’re sharing our opinions about anything, do you really want to share them with people who don’t know you, like you or trust you?
Because it won’t make a positive difference at all.
In fact, they’ll probably dislike you for shoving it in their face.
So, when sharing opinions, we want to make sure the other person first knows that we have their best interests at heart.
That we actually do love them as human beings.
Because if they don’t know that about us, they’re not going to care what we have to say.
And, unfortunately, they might even throw us to the wolves of the social media mob.
Let’s try to prevent that so we can preserve our influence.
And unless are opinions vehemently disagree with them morally, ethically, or legally, is sharing/shouting an opinion worth burning a bridge you know you’ll never want to cross again?
Or else, pretty soon, we’ll have no one left to influence.