How do you use social media?

Posted on April 13, 2018

How do you use social media?

I’m writing this as Mark Zuckerberg is testifying on how Facebook gave away our information, so it seems like a good time to ask you all a question that has been on my mind.

How do you use social media to further your work or advocate for your clients and positive change in your community?

I asked this question because of a comment I got on a recent LinkedIn post. Here is the post with a picture of my wife and me at the Denver March for Our Lives Rally.

My heart breaks that I spent my Saturday marching because I fear for the life of my wife & her students. I can’t understand a morality that advocates for weapons that kill thousands each year. If you value gun lobby $ over children’s lives, we’ll take you down.

I admit my language was a little harsh, but my fear and outrage go well beyond these words. I use a free service to post on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn all at once. The post got many more likes than my typical post, but I got one comment that made me stop, reflect, and ask your opinion.

The comment was “Let’s keep politics off LinkedIn.” I reached out to the person who wrote the comment both about why he thought my pose was inappropriate and to start a dialogue concerning our difference in views about guns. The interaction has continued to be respectful and informational.

I struggle a little because I understand his point of view. I do not distinguish between my activism, advocacy, and professional self. I do usually aim for a proactive, positive message, but if an organization like the NRA lobbies actively for assault rifles and bump fire stocks, then I feel justified in my directed rage!

I would love to get your opinion both on my question and on my post.

7 responses to “How do you use social media?”

  1. sara carrillo says:

    To me, the real issue is not that you posted this, but that there is a NEED to take this stance. He may have a point about Linked In but, on the other hand, all of this is an integral part of your professional life as well as your personal life, so it’s actually appropriate for that venue, too. After all, if an NRA organization wanted you to speak at one of their conferences about the ‘Trauma of being a 2nd Amendment Supporter’, they would find it very relevant to know your views!

    • Matthew Bennett says:

      Thanks Sara! You really put words to my feelings in the “NEED to take a stance.” Would love to get the call from the NRA!

  2. Pamela Schoenrock says:

    I find it unfortunate you find the choices to be gun lobby $ OR children’s lives. You see, I really think you are missing the most important thing…the root cause. I own guns AND I have children. I love my children more than my own life. This does not affect how I feel about guns. I grew up around them. My kids grew up around them. My grandfather, father, husband, sons, and numerous friends and family all hunt . While it can provide a bit of adrenaline and excitement, it is also a great family activity, develops a variety of skills (patience, thoughtfulness, eye-hand coordination, strategic thinking and respect) and puts food on the table and in the freezer.

    The point is, the gun I, or anyone else I know, own is not the problem. The problem goes much deeper. While the firearm might be the vessel chosen by some to express the deeper root cause, taking the firearm away or limiting the freedom to own one, will not change what is happening in our schools and other public venues. If it’s not a firearm, it becomes a bomb, a chemical weapon, a knife, poison, arson, drugs, you name it.

    So what, exactly, do I think is the root cause you might ask. To articulate this, I’m going to borrow the words of a teacher in Florida as she put it quite eloquently. “Until we, as a country, are willing to get serious and talk about mental health issues, lack of available care for the mental health issues, lack of discipline in the home, horrendous lack of parental support when the schools are trying to control horrible behavior at school (oh no! Not MY KID. What did YOU do to cause my kid to react that way?), lack of moral values, and yes, I’ll say it – violent video games that take away all sensitivity to ANY compassion for others’ lives – as well as reality TV that makes it commonplace for people to constantly scream up in each others’ faces and not value any other person but themselves, we will have a gun problem in school,” – Kelly Guthrie Raley

    I might also add to her observations; social media where people have the “courage” to say things to people and attack people (even strangers) in ways we would never do face-to-face and in ways I, as a parent would swiftly and clearly discipline my children for; and this includes bullying. Many have lost (or maybe never had) the ability to see others as “human” with needs and feelings rather than “objects” to further their own agendas. I would echo Ms. Raley in saying we have lost respect for human life, compassion, rules, common decency, and mostly the understanding of the role of a parent.

    Granted, the above mentioned root causes aren’t quite as politically charged as gun control and would make us look at ourselves as a society a bit deeper so I guess people, like yourself, with access to a large platform may not find them as appealing. Until we can start to really discuss root causes, though, we will not see the end of school, mall, nightclub, theatre (pick your venue) tragedies and we will continue to mourn the loss of innocent victims.

    • Matthew Bennett says:

      Pamela, thanks so much for your thoughtful response. I agree that the issues are much greater than the weapon. As frustrated as I get at the power of the gun lobby, I’m more frustrated at policymakers who bring up mental health as the “main” cause and then continue to cut mental health funding. I fail to find logic or morality in their words or actions. I’m interested, would you say you support the actions of the youth organizing these marches and political action? Thanks again for your thoughtful response, I feel having these dialogues is the only way we can find real solutions!

  3. Philip J. Malebranche says:

    The issue of mental health is being abused as a rationale for this crisis in gun violence. Some use this because it is the sequel to the hateful treatment of the mentally, and physically, impaired during World War II. Such individuals were led to the gas chambers, killed en mass. Who has presented proof of a diagnosis of a psychiatric disability of a shooter of a school. It is easy for some to blame this vulnerable group. It’s surely their intention to attack it further.

    What I suspect is that shooters are being controlled, clandestinely. They seem to come with training, to work with efficiency, a fingerprint of the Nazis. The problem is deeper, and involves those who refuse to admit that White supremacy is the psychosis, a departure from reality. There is no scientific proof of racial superiority, yet extremists wish to shape the Nation according to this worldview (Weltanschauung). The emotional defense of weapons comes from the absolute need to use force because reason will get them nowhere. They are anti-reason. There is no reason in their position, save domination and rapacity. The crimes against innocent young people is a pattern. It is evidence of a strategy that is beyond an individual’s reaction in rage. To blame mental illness is to promote the persecution of the mentally ill, who, for the most part, are vulnerable, not threats. The general public is more likely to attack someone suffering in this way, than the other way around, I would say. The evil faction in our society, like in others, also distorts information in order to seduce innocent gun-owners to make their arguments for them.

    Extremists, today, are the political progeny of twentieth century mass murderers. They seek to overturn our democracy, and will say, and do, anything to succeed. Deception, infiltration, coercion and any means necessary are among the modus operandi of these men and the women who collaborate with them. I would counsel subdued responses and reactions as we work to defend our families, towns and country. Our freedoms are at stake. The challenge for Americans is to succeed in defending the land in a way that avoids the national shame that burdened Germans after World War II. We should recognize that the evil works as a faction, a “state within a state.” We will have to meet this challenge with all of our subtle and steely assets. Peace…

  4. Patsi Maroney says:

    Good question & thoughtful responses! Personally, I’m only on LinkedIn when I’m doing “work-related” searches so I don’t consider it to be “social” media as in “I think I’ll post what’s going on in my social life”. I put my more personal thoughts & posts on Facebook. Probably just a distinction in my own mind, although it sounds like your comment-guy has that same distinction. I guess there’s no hard & fast answer…thanks for doing what you do!

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