Use Your Powers For Good: Fighting Online Negativity

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With a week of depressing news and a never-ending supply of online haters, it seems like negativity is just part of the Internet game. We blog creation ninjas and social media experts are told we should just learn to get it over it or go work in another field. But is that the only solution? Can our brand’s positivity thwart the mountain of nastiness that exists online? 

“The world has gotten too mean for me, it’s just too bitchy. All the websites and all the blogging and all the people giving their opinion and their hatred… it’s all so mean-spirited, it’s all so critical,” says actress Mary Louise Parker who says online negativity is a big reason why she’s considering giving up acting altogether. “It’s sport for people, it’s fun to get on at night and unleash their own self-loathing by attacking someone else who they think has a happier life — or something, I dunno,” she said in an interview with news.com.au.

Looking at our newsfeeds on Monday morning after the Trayvon Martin verdict, it’s hard to argue with Parker’s logic. It felt as if nobody had anything positive to say, so they decided to spew their crap online. 

Yet we in content marketing land might have a solution. Every good blogger and SEO nerd knows that a constant flow of new and dynamic content creates more links to our brand and helps boost our Google rankings. So when you think about it, there’s no reason that this branded content can’t add something positive to the online conversation. In other words, create posts that mean something. (Spammy, robot-written posts, by the way, fall under the category of Internet garbage, too.) Teach your readers a new skill. Give them a clever solution to a common problem. Inspire them with art, quotes, design, humor and memorable writing. After depressing events, challenge your brand to push out positive social media posts to brighten your followers’ depressing newsfeeds. Your brand can stand out for offering something brilliant, hilarious or unusual (and not for being an Internet dumpster). Maybe choosing to create fun-to-read and fascinating posts won’t save the world — they certainly won’t cure the Internet of hateritis. But it can’t hurt either.

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