post by Stephanie Nelson

A few months ago, I wrote a post about being a light to those around you. At the time, my home city was in turmoil after a man of color was shot by police. While that story is still in the news periodically here in Charlotte, there’s a host of issues it’s brought to light for me because of social media.

There’s a Facebook group I’ve been a part of since February 2011. I remember VIVIDLY being asked to join because, at the time, it was a bit exclusive. You had to know somebody to get to join. At that time, I think there were around 200-ish women in the group. Fast forward to today. There are over 4000 women in the group. Members added members added members, and the dynamics of the group have changed…a lot.

Since the time of the police shooting last year, and since the election, ladies in this group have started to share (or at least share more often) ways to support people of color and promote change in society. It’s been interesting to watch the dialogue on each post unfold. It’s been interesting to see watch the masks slip off behind what apparently some people think is anonymity, and see how folks truly feel. (Some comments are microagressions that I firmly believe a lot of white people make mistakenly, even though that’s still not right, but there are some downright racist comments coming out of these women.) And now, it’s interesting to watch how these comments are being screenshot and posted around the internet, particularly ones that are coming from business owners.

I’m DYING to know what is possessing these folks to put these thoughts in writing in a public forum! Did this group somehow have a bunch of trolls hiding in our midst, and this was the topic that brought them out? Did they get so impassioned in the moment that they didn’t think about how this could affect them and their businesses? Did they have some sort of perceived anonymity because they were behind a keyboard and not face-to-face? Did they think their personal persona couldn’t be connected to their business page? Have they not been exposed enough to social media to understand how things work?

So you tell me… What drives you to engage in conversations on social media? Do you monitor what you say and how you say it, or do you dive right in and cross the bridge of any consequences if you come to it?