Though it might be hard to remember sometimes, social media is about much more than news, ads, and branded content. Its original purpose, back when it began 14 or 15 years ago, was to connect people and bring them together—and throughout the past year of quarantining and social distancing, we’ve witnessed that more than ever. At its best, social media is a space where people can share stories, listen to the experiences of others, and build communities.
But, as we all know too well, social media has also shown a much darker side. In just the past 12 months, we’ve seen advertising boycotts, a presidential election, and the politicization of a global pandemic all contribute to social media’s toxicity and divisiveness. Combine that with the fact that the “compare and despair” effect of social media has been proven to cause mental health issues, and it’s no surprise that 41 percent of Gen Z social media users say that social media makes them feel sad, anxious, or depressed. As a parent of teenagers, I’ve witnessed things like cyberbullying, online threats of violence, and social media obsession firsthand.
Social media has made it easier than ever to spread hate. But it’s just as easy to spread joy.
My company, Likeable, has a mission to create a more likeable world. And, as a social media agency, we’ve been doing that for over a decade by helping brands create smart, fast, and likeable social content. But we knew that there was a lot more we could do, both as an organization and as individuals—because social media is about much more than algorithms and ad spend.
So, in 2019, we launched #BeLikeableDay: a global movement dedicated to making social media a more positive environment through collective acts of kindness online. So far, #BeLikeableDay has reached almost 90 million people across traditional and social media, with participation from 45 countries around the world. And we’re thrilled to be doing it again this year for the third year in a row!
Every year, on February 26th, we ask everyone around the world to take a few minutes out of their day to post at least one nice thing on social media. If you’re interested in joining the movement, click here to sign the pledge—and spread the word by sharing this post with people you care about. Oh, and if you need some ideas for what you can do to spread kindness online on #BeLikeableDay, here you go:
1. Pay a friend a compliment. It’s so easy to feel self-conscious and insecure on social media, where everyone is perfect (or at least tries to be). Give someone a confidence boost with a simple compliment or message of encouragement.
2. Promote someone else’s work. All of those posts sharing “some personal news” are well and good, but what if we took a break from the self-promotion to sing someone else’s praises instead? Whose work has spoken to you recently? Post about it.
3. Give an unsolicited recommendation. Who are the top three people you’ve loved working with the most during your career? Make their day and publish a recommendation on LinkedIn that explains why anyone else would be lucky to work with them as well.
4. Spread the word about your favorite charity organization. Everyone has a cause they feel strongly about. Take a few minutes to share the story of why you support that cause and shout out your favorite charity organization that supports it too.
5. Share gratitude for people in your life. In a sea of memes and political commentary, break through with a message of positivity by expressing gratitude for five people in your life. Not only will you make them feel great, but you’ll feel better too.
Will you join us this Friday in leaving social media better than we found it?