100 days of kindness

The first 100 days of a presidency are meaningful. The president elect announces, “In my first 100 days…” and everyone watches to see if he follows through. The first 100 days can set the tone for the rest of his term. That’s why I want to challenge everyone to 100 days of kindness.

President-elect Trump has spoken proudly about his dislike of foreigners and Muslims. He has denigrated women and mocked people with disabilities. His tone has made it okay for white supremacists and misogynists to harass people of color and women. Even people who don’t think of themselves as racist now believe it’s fine to tell racists jokes in public. Lashing out at your neighbor is allowed.

But I believe we can set a new tone simply by being as vocal about kindness as Trump is about hate. Trump has embraced social media as his platform of intolerance. We need to take it away and turn it into a platform of kindness.All you have to do is report kindness on social media with the hash tag #100daysofkindness. Share a kind word with the world. Take a picture of an act of kindness and post it. Not to show off how “good” you are, but to drown out some of the hate speech filling the internet. This isn’t about making you look better to your friends, it’s about spreading generosity and compassion.

You don’t have to share anything on social media, though. Just commit to being especially kind to others for the first 100 days of the Trump presidency. If thousands of people did that, imagine what could be achieved. While Trump continues to insult and denigrate, we could completely ignore him simply by being kind to a stranger. Go ahead and bellow, Mr. Trump. No one is listening.

#100daysofkindness. Imagine the possibilities

If you like Trump I won’t be your friend anymore, and other extremist ideas.

Polarization doesn’t just effect politics, it also effects friendships.

Recently I’ve seen a lot of chatter on Facebook and Twitter about unfriending/unfollowing people who like Donald Trump. Many people I know have said “A fan of Trump is no friend of mine.” This disturbs me.

I dislike Trump. I would love it if he would stop opening his mouth and saying ridiculous things that make people worship him. And I’m fearful of the hatred his words have fueled. Targeting an entire religion and ethnic group with mistrust and fear is dangerous. Anyone remember WW2? It’s a cliche to compare people to Hitler, but there is a frightening historical similarity between the United States of today and Germany of the 1930’s. People are looking for a savior, someone to “make America great again.” It was the same in Germany in 1929.

Donald Trump and his followers scare me. However, I will not turn my back on a friend or acquaintance who admires him. I will not feed the polarization that threatens my country. Instead, I will try to understand why my friend likes Trump. I will try to engage in conversation, keep communication open, reach out and combat fear and stigma one connection at a time.

“But if you talk to that person, aren’t you supporting them, and in so doing, supporting Trump?” you ask.

No. I do not like, trust, admire or even consider Donald Trump a human being. He represents everything I loath in my country: ignorant wealth. But if I refuse to engage with someone who thinks Donald Trump is the greatest thing since frozen orange juice, how am I different from any extremist in America? Extremists cling to their own world view and hate what they don’t understand. I refuse to hate people.

Even Donald Trump.

No time for social media because I’m writing

I hear it all the time: to sell books writers must be online marketing themselves. We need blogs updated four times a week. Active Twitter accounts and Facebook pages. Pinterest clip boards filled with images of scenery from our books. And now Instagram because people under 40 want to see us writing, not just read our Tweets.

How exactly are we supposed to get any writing done?

If I spend all that time looking for interesting things to post on my “page”, when will I finish writing a page in my book?

I’m sorry, but my life is not so interesting I think I should fill up the net with images of my toenails or what I ate for dinner. No one’s life is. But we writers will make things up to have something to share online. If only I could come up with that one clever Tweet that goes viral and suddenly I’m a star on line for a day. That one clever comment everyone will repost. My blog will get a bump and I’ll sell more books. It’s like winning the lottery.

If I spend creative energy thinking up funny sayings or hunting for inspirational quotes (which I do, I hate to say) then that is creative energy not spent writing.

Where is the balance? How do we write and still find someone to read it. Writing for yourself is no fun. Writing for thousands is thrilling. Or so I hear. Maybe if people like what I’ve written here in this blog they’ll share it and my blog will be featured all over Facebook. It’s worth a try.

Time to work on my book.

Why I like social media

Wait a minute… didn’t I write the internet has trapped us in perpetual adolescence? 

Yes, but let me explain why I also like the internet and social media.

Social media is detrimental when it makes us feel insecure and left out. When we judge our worth by the number of “likes” we get, then we are stuck in perpetual adolescence. How can we grow and thrive when we compare ourselves to the girl with 10,000 Twitter followers? And how can we develop our own voice when we’re being bombarded by manipulative adds and so called “opinion makers”?

If you step back from the desire for popularity, social media becomes a powerful tool for self expression and ideas. Look at the Arab Spring. So much of that movement was fueled by tweets. Facebook is filled with artists and writers who have fascinating things to say. There are thousands of blogs that share stories of hope, inspiration, creativity, and information. When social media is used as a way to express ideas and a place to connect with other people, it becomes beautiful.

I live in a rural community far from many of my closest friends. My child is medically fragile and deals with disabilities, so we are cut off from the typical activities most families get to do. Because of social media, I feel closer to my friends and I have met wonderful families all over the world who deal with the same issues my child copes with. There have been terrible nights when fear and sadness overwhelm me and I have reached out through Facebook for support. Even at midnight, there is always someone there to help. Loneliness is lessoned. I’m grateful for that.

Also, I met the newest Medusa’s Muse author, Shannon Drury, through blogging. We published a book together and are now marketing that book together, even though we’ve never actually met in person. Without social media, The Radical Housewife wouldn’t have been published.

That’s the key. Making and sustaining relationships. When the internet is used to connect people and ideas it’s magic. When it is used only to sell things and gain popularity, it’s noise.

That being said, it is awful nice when someone buys my books. Thank you.

How does the internet help you? What can we do to make social media empowering and less popularity driven?

The internet has trapped us all in perpetual adolescence

Can anyone really explain the point of all this online chatter? I know we are here sharing our thoughts and ideas, but to what end? To sell books? Show off? Share wisdom? Or are we all just shouting “look at me, look at me” over and over like a desperate teenager?

Lately, I’ve been questioning the need for social media. There is so much competition for “follows” and “likes” it makes me feel like I’m back in high school. I’m the dweeb in the back of the room (which is what I was at 15) desperately wishing I had what the cool kids had. What was the secret? Clothes? Money? Beauty? Here I am, all grown up and wondering why more people on Twitter don’t think I’m clever.

The internet has trapped us all in perpetual adolescence.

What’s the answer? To sell books, I need social media. How else will anyone discover my authors or my own writing? Without a big marketing budget I rely on word of mouth, especially internet word of mouth. But now we’re back to a popularity contest. The more followers I have, the more people hear about the books I publish through Medusa’s Muse. The more I talk about my classes, the more people sign up for them. I’m back to age 16 hoping someone asks me to the Spring dance.

With so much constant chatter I wonder if anyone pays attention to social media anymore.   Advertisers have discovered people ignore their pop up adds now because we’ve become immune to them. There are too many people trying to sell too much shit all the time.

What’s the answer? Is there any way to win this popularity contest?

WordPress Discovery Tour

This site is under construction.

Right now I’m on the WordPress discovery tour, exploring other sites, learning how to use the dashboard, and figuring out what type of template and tools I need to use.

Hi. My name is Terena and I am a publisher, playwright, and instructor. I teach workshops on planning your own unique publishing path. With so many opportunities and options for getting your work into print (and that includes electronically), how do you know which option is right for you?

Once I figure out this new blog world, I will post info from my workshops, and share my ideas on writing, publishing, books, and everything else I find fascinating.

In the mean time, please take a moment and help me understand what makes a great blog.