Your social media habits may be hurting Alabama’s economy. Here’s how you can fix it.
(Video above: The Daily Vee features a clip from Birmingham, Alabama)
As I was scrolling through my Facebook News Feed recently, a post caught my eye.
It was a video update by Gary Vaynerchuk, who had recently been in Alabama as a keynote speaker at the inaugural SlossTech festival. Gary Vee, as he’s known, documents nearly every moment of his day and frequently posts entrepreneur-focused videos that rack up millions of views. This one had the headline “Southern Hospitality,” so I clicked on it knowing there was a good chance it included footage from his time in Birmingham.
And what he said in the video really hit home (you can watch the video above):
What’s happening right now is that the small minority of people that are mad and angry and hateful and dark are much louder than the big percentage of us that are happy and excited and feel great. And because of the way technology works, they are much louder than they’ve ever been before… Please take on the sense of responsibility that if you’ve got good, and you feel good, then you start sharing that content as well. Because the world needs more of it.
This is something I have thought about a great deal in recent years — as the CEO of an online news outlet and terrestrial radio network, sure — but really more so as an Alabamian.
Our state is often beaten down by the national media.
“Look at them down there; they’re racist, backwards, stupid rednecks.”
On top of that, Alabama sports website and liberal political blog al.com is sadly more likely to pile on and echo that perception than they are to push back against it.
Of course, those of us who live here know the real Alabama. And we know that for all our shortcomings, it is nothing like that the way it is portrayed by most of the media.
But do our social media posts reflect that?
Unfortunately, many psychological studies suggest humans are hardwired to consume and share bad news more than good news.
Psychology Today explains:
Many studies have shown that we care more about the threat of bad things than we do about the prospect of good things. Our negative brain tripwires are far more sensitive than our positive triggers. We tend to get more fearful than happy. And each time we experience fear we turn on our stress hormones… From a neuro-scientific and probability perspectives, we are hard-wired to look for the dramatic and negative, and when we find it, we share it.
And this can have a profoundly negative impact on our state — emotionally, socially, and even economically.
More from Psychology Today:
At the worst, continual bad news can even stimulate a state of depression, and people who concentrate on all the bad news work themselves up emotionally and become much more likely to make unwise decisions, like selling all their investments at a huge loss or halting their consumer spending entirely. Even people who don’t watch television or read newspapers are getting hit with nuggets of negativity through social networking and informal conversations.
In other words, constantly touting bad news about Alabama — the “here we go again” mentality, as I call it — while not just as passionately promoting the good can literally hurt our economy, not just our attitudes.
But there is also some good news from Psychology Today:
Smiles are contagious, especially on social media.
Fortunately for us, there are countless Alabamians out there doing amazing things — from starring in famous Broadway musicals and designing some of the world’s most beautiful houses, to unearthing the archeological mysteries of the world and developing technology so cool it’s being used in Hollywood spy movies.
With all of this in mind, as much as we’d like to boot all of Alabama’s pathetic politicians out of office, consistently sharing positive stories about our state could actually be the single most impactful thing we could do together to improve our quality of life and even boost our economy.
So let’s get out there and share some Alabama smiles on social media, folks.
And if you’re looking for a place to start, here are some suggestions from just the past few weeks:
• The next star of the Broadway hit ‘Hamilton’ is a Bama grad
• Alabamian starts a movement by simply holding a ‘Pray for Peace’ sign on a street corner
• This Alabama architect’s Instagram account will make HGTV lovers drool
• ‘I just want to change at least one life every day’ — Meet Alabama’s most beloved police officer
• There’s nothing like getting a ‘War Eagle’ from the crew of nuclear submarine
• Alabama remains peaceful as racially-charged violence sweeps the nation. Here’s why.
• Alabamians just launched a Top Secret U.S. spy satellite into space
• ‘Bourne’ to feature futuristic Alabama-made technology that could help secure borders
• SALUTE: Former Alabama college student is now guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
• Alabamians are now building Polaris’s incredible Batmobile-like ‘Slingshot’
• ‘Seven magic words’ might just make you want to move to Birmingham (Video)
• BAMA BOOM: UA is the fastest growing flagship university in America
• How an Alabamian who grew up singing gospel music became a rock star at 50
• Two Alabama chefs-turned-entrepreneurs are revolutionizing the way families eat
• Alabamian wants the world to know the courageous cops who saved his life after he was shot
• Alabamians behind NASA’s stunning mission to discover ‘secrets’ locked inside Jupiter
• Remembering the Alabama MoH recipient Eisenhower hailed as one of America’s most fearless warriors
• Touching Alabama story shows why Chick-fil-A was just named America’s favorite fast food
• Former Bama star declares giving his life to Jesus the ‘best decision’ he’s ever made (Video)
• BACK TO BACK CHAMPS: Alabama-based Regions ranked America’s most reputable bank, again