Social media has the power to bring people from across the globe together. But all too often, instead of being used for vibrant discussion it’s used for angry rhetoric and tribalism.

Social media can be a great tool for advancing freedom if you use it correctly. Here are some tips on how to be effective with your posts and tweets.

Remember the Golden Rule

When it comes to winning hearts and minds on social media, the Golden Rule is essential: Do to others as you would have them do to you. When you’re writing a post, comment or response, stop and think how you would feel if you were on the other end.

Read the post out loud and imagine someone saying it to you in a conversation. If you think it feels hurtful, rework it. Being antagonistic or mean will just make the other person dig in and refuse to change their minds. Positive, thoughtful communication fosters productive discussions instead of screaming matches.

Keep it Short

Few people are going to read a wall-of-text rant, especially if they don’t know anything about the topic. Be clear and concise, not wordy and verbose. Try to spark people’s interest so they want to learn more about the topic rather than doing an upfront data dump.

Fight Fake News

Between rumors, myths, and lies, there is a lot of fake news on social media today, and unfortunately, too many activists fall for them. When misinformation spreads like wildfire, it ruins our credibility.

Before clicking “share” on a graphic or factoid, do some research first. Fake news can be easy to spot once you know how to look for it. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. And if someone shares fake news on your timeline or in a social media group you belong to, gently correct them.

Ask Thoughtful Questions 

Instead of confronting someone head-on, the best approach is to ask a genuine, thoughtful question or two. Getting someone to think carefully about an incorrect statement or belief can be the best way to change their mind.

Know When to Let Go

If things are getting heated or you’re not making any headway, it’s time to cut bait and move on. Don’t waste your time fighting with someone who’s never going to change their mind.

To learn more about effective social media and grassroots activism, check out one of the GLA trainings coming up near you or sign up for our email list.