Sharing is caring

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My son tells me this often. I’m not sure exactly where he picked it up from but I’m think it’s from his Mama Kathy. I have some vague recollection of candy or chocolate being involved. Of the many lovely things the two of them share, one is a sweet tooth.

In any event, this phrase is bouncing around in my mind a lot lately. I have long felt that digital social media is a powerfully democratizing force. I purchased my first domain name while teaching at the George Washington University in order to keep my and my students content free from control or oversight. These new tools make it possible to share so much information in so many ways—both for good and for ill.

Just one recent example of this is the amazing work on the blog Humans of New York. Already a wonderful project, it brings both a voice and a face to so many that don’t have either. The recent viral success of a fundraising campaing illustrates in an easily measured way the positive impact people can do when these new tools are put to work towards a positive goal. Sharing, particularly when we do so to create a space for others, to recognize otherness, can be a powerfully selfless act.

Today I gave an interview and both I and the interviewer shared deeply personal and traumatic tales of our past. I again felt that positive, powerful force that comes from sharing with others. When we are able to give a voice or a face to the suffering in the world—be it our own or the suffering of others—someone out there will, if even only momentarily, feel a little less alone in this world.

For me, feeling less aone and isolated was the first step in freeing myself and my son from a unhealthy and abusive environment. It has been a long and slow road. Even as I write this, it is difficult to do so, let alone to share it widely. Yet, as time goes on I see the value, for myself and for others, in sharing. I endeavor to give a voice to something—pain or joy—and someone out there may pass by, read it, and for one moment feel a little less alone, a little more confident in themselves, a little more empowered to stand up and say, “no,” to abuse, to exclusion, to injustice.

So often social media is criticized for the over abundance of self-indulgent content and I can certainly empathize with feeligns of dissapointment at how we choose to make use of these powerful modes of communication. Yet, we have more power than ever to feed the good, draw attention to the selfless, and turn our awareness toward a greater good. I think that’s a pretty wonderful thing. So, here’s to less fear and more to listening to the wisdom of my son and his Mama Kathy: sharing is caring.

Aliya WeiseComment