It might not occur to you that your media is filtered. And I know this information coming from nerd girl (who has built a career in digital media) may sound awkward. For it’s foibles, I still very much love the “internet of things” and connectivity, online community and true news. The problem is not the news though; it’s the filter and slant.
We know that bad news travels faster than good news. There is something innate in our need to read about bad things happening to other people. Admit it. And it’s not that you take pleasure in it (or at least I hope not), but much the way people “rubber neck” a fatal car accident on the highway, we cannot help ourselves. We want to take a look behind the curtain at things that are happening that scare, horrify and disappoint us. Bad stuff on the news is the sugar in our coffee. We want to talk about it, feel it, discuss it, and try to understand it.
I don’t know how it is for other people, but as a creative (or simply as a “Lori”) I get overwhelmed by the news. I am “Praying for New York” because I still can’t get 9/11 out of my head. We could see the smoke from Toronto, and we knew people who worked there. But if I had to go back in time and guess when my world really started to change from a terrorist or violence perspective, it was after 9/11. Historically I know that terrorists have always been there but, does it seem that it is everywhere now, and that every week we are praying for another country and city? And that is not to say that anyone who is victimized is not worthy of our compassion and prayers. They all are. This week it is Nice, France. I’ve never been but again, have friends in France and colleagues. I feel it acutely. The fear, the anger and the confusion of it, like I live there and like it happened to me.
And I don’t understand why it has to happen at all. #AllLivesMatter don’t they? Every. Single. One.
For about a year I have been following the hashtag #GoodHumans. I call it my “free therapy” every time I get myself into a place where I stop believing that there is good in the world. When I feel like hiding myself in a cabin somewhere and writing for five years, living with my chickens and dogs and on a little organic garden. I’m scared of spiders and snakes, and so I realize that this reclusive hermit dream is improbable; I’d die without Kevin and his scrambled egg breakfasts. But I feel it too; the need to create “less crazy” far away from the crazies, and unplug until all I see is good again.
I mean, if “Good” in humanity was an actual person, I know she is standing on an island waving her hands and setting bonfires to get my attention. Sometimes I am on that island with her, but many times its so far away, I can’t see it without squinting, you know? And then a certain numbness sets in where I wonder about our future, the future for our children. Will they be able to eat fish? Will they be able to live freely? Will they be able to see the sweet, kind and gentle parts of life and living that make all difficult roads worth it?
Will they be able to recognize “Good” when they see her or have faith that people are inherently good?
Your media is filtered and what gets the most coverage is not “feel good” stories of enlightenment. It’s terrorist acts, kidnappings, murder, rape, torture, politics (yeah, I lump it with the ugly bits) and stories about inhumanity. They sell. Kindness is a hard sell because for most people, it’s not nearly as interesting right? I don’t know though … I like finding stories of a woman who stopped traffic to save a kitten. Or a young man who intervened to save a woman from being assaulted at a party. The kind of man I hope both my sons grow up to be.
We look up for Angel’s. I believe they aren’t *points up* there, I think that they are walking around helping us every day. They are the voice of God in our ears when we make that decision to do something kind, or important to save or help someone else. In a world of bad media, we’re forgetting about the daily good that is all around us, and we need to give that the most attention. Be informed… but don’t let media wipe out the examples of #GoodHumans everywhere. You are one of them.
Seven Day #GoodHumans Challenge
I didn’t invent this challenge, but I did it about a year ago and now it is part of my daily routine when I consume media (it’s hard to avoid negative thoughts when it’s your job to write and research online content every day). I challenge my friends and family to do it. I think you’ll be really amazed at the result.
1. Use the hash tag to find two good stories a day. You can search on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Google+ to find stories tagged with #GoodHuman or #GoodHumans. Read them. Watch the videos somewhere quiet. It should take less than ten minutes every day.
2. Find one example in the media daily of people being exceptionally kind. In the comment section, tag it #GoodHumans. Help other people find the “good news” out there.
3. Leave me a comment on this post after you have completed the seven day challenge. Tell me how you feel, what you learned and if you have inspired anyone you know to do the same. It’s not a test or anything, I just want to see how you feel after a week of specifically looking for “good news” and shining a light on it.