Have you seen that person on Social Media that is always on point? They are consistently passionate about particular issues. They are focused, speaking with clarity of thought and illustrative words. They have compelling posts on Facebook, Twitter, or on their blogs. They may have written books, consistently speak at conferences, or produce videos that give solid content. They are clear and direct, but not argumentative or “a social media troll.” Whether or not you agree with all of their points, you recognize the legitimacy of the points they are making. I am sure at least a couple people come to mind.
These are people on Social Media that have found their voice. They have combined fields they are knowledgeable and passionate about, and they are presenting perspectives that are needed and valued. They use their voice in a way that invites people to action, rather than demoralizing or silencing others who are curious, or who may disagree.
These are people who have found their voice. Here are a few steps on how you can find yours.
Combine your Education, Experience, and Energy.
In order to find our voice on Social Media, look for things that combine your education and experience. Hopefully, your degree program is focused on a field of study you are inquisitive and passionate about. Simultaneously, don’t limit “education” to your current major or what your degree was focused on, if you are an alum. Be sure to include your self-taught education, including books and resources you gravitate towards without being asked. Education is important because evidence will always strengthen your point.
While I am passionate about issues that affect the African-American community, what strengthens my perspective and my Social Media posts is my undergraduate degree in African-American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin.
Education is only part of the package. Combine it with your experience. Most people who have found their voice and are respected on Social Media have both intellectual study and lived experience. This experience can include places of employment and the different phases of life you have gone through, among other things. To quote a mentor, experience isn’t “the book you read, but the book you wrote.” You have lived in the world for whom you are writing.
Finally, central to finding your voice is answering this question. What gives you energy? What are you passionate about? What gets you up in the morning and what keeps you up late? What would you study for, without a test to motivate you? Where would you work for free? That’s where you want to focus. If it is something that gives you life, no amount of social, political, professional, or psychological pressure can hinder you. If it’s just a writing prompt that you’re not passionate about, your education and experience may lead you to produce something, but it won’t be sustainable, and arguably, it won’t be your best.
Be the Change You Wish To See
If what you see on Social Media right now disturbs you, consider finding your voice on Social Media. Are there communities being ignored? Is there an injustice not being discussed or clearly articulated? Are you increasingly frustrated with the way in which people engage on Social Media platforms—talking over each other, rather than corresponding respectfully through digital dialogue?
This is all the more reason for you to jump in! Social Media needs a biblical witness. We need Christians that can model what it means to articulate biblical responses to injustice in a manner that invites conversation, rather than ending it. We must model for people how to be respectful even in the most difficult of situations, be they physical or digital.
How different would Twitter or Facebook be if it was suddenly flooded with Christians who responded to people pouring out their hearts with, “Tell me more.” What if we sought to understand the frustrations, concerns, and even brokenness that people are presenting before we attempt to correct or challenge them? What if we modeled for digital communities examples of digital grace? Jesus invites us to make disciples of all nations. The nations are on Social Media, from different countries, and from different college campuses.
What are you seeing? What do you want to say? What needs to be said that may be overlooked?
Dive in! Find your voice.
Want to learn more? Check out Finding Allies and Finding Frenemies.
Read more about Sean on his bio page, or follow him on Twitter @seanisfearless.