By ERIKA MUNTER
Our words matter, much more than we realize. Every social media post and comment we make is an action that ripples online and offline. Being mindful and intentional about our social posts and comments contributes to improving the social and political environment we experience every day. Take the Better Angels Social Media pledge if you’re ready to do your part to improve civil discourse and reduce polarization.
Through workshops and trainings, Better Angels is helping citizens across America shape and experience constructive civil discourse. We’re practicing better ways to communicate to reduce the polarization that is ruining relationships and hamstringing our democracy. We’ve heard time and again from both sides of the aisle that “we’re better than this.” We’re better than finger pointing, we’re better than name calling, we’re better than misdirected angry rants, we’re better than condescending one-upping.
Based on the tried and true communication guidelines used in our workshops, we developed this Better Angels Social Media Pledge.
Pledge to follow these guidelines on social media. Pledge to do your part promote civil discourse. Pledge to reduce polarization in America.
1. I will post with a goal of clarifying my point of view, and not attacking the other side.
I will focus on expressing the values, facts and experiences that have shaped my view, not attacking the other side.
2. I will be civil and respectful.
I won’t say things or use a tone that I wouldn’t use in a face-to-face conversation in a public setting. I won’t call people names or use labels (idiots, snowflakes, etc.) I will treat people as individuals, not stereotypes representing entire group. I won’t use a condescending tone. I won’t escalate unconstructive and hurtful dialogue. I will try to keep the conversation going, not to shut it down. When needed, I’ll take it “offline.”
3. I won’t make blanket statements or over generalize.
I will use facts and examples to explain my position. I won’t make blanket “always/never statements.” I will qualify my statements and view points to leave room to explore topics more fully (sometimes, in my experience, in this case, etc.).
4. I won’t try to convert people to my “side,” I will encourage understanding and learning. (habits 2,3)
I will acknowledge common ground and common values on both sides when I see it. I will ask honest (not loaded) questions. (Not questions that incriminate)
5. I will keep an open mind.
I won’t over simplify or fall into automatic “all or nothing” conclusions. I recognize most issues are very complicated, and good solutions require deep understanding and nuanced thinking. I know that an open mind is never 100% certain about everything. I will acknowledge my doubt, to myself and others, and engage with the goal of exploring different ways to see an issue or find a solution.
Add your name to take the pledge: