Assume Responsibility. Before discovering the power of social media, I rarely questioned the objectivity of what I read or heard on the news. Even though I gravitated toward like-minded reporters, I didn’t worry about my perceptions being biased or contributing to divisive politics. Now, I do. In response to a series of violent conflicts between Buddhists and Muslims in Burma, “Panzagar,” or “flower speech,” was launched: www.facebook.com/panzagar. This Facebook page was designed for English-speaking advocates to support Panzagar’s efforts: www.facebook.com/supportflowerspeech
Suspend Judgment. Now that I am active on Facebook and my posts about volatile human rights situations reach thousands of “friends,” around the world, I am sobered by the responsibility of scrutinizing my sources and investigating perspectives contrary to my own; that is, challenging and refining my judgments before broadcasting them online.
Wage Peace, Not War. Before I post a news report or an image to social media, I ask myself: Will it polarize and entrench opinions, or encourage meaningful dialogue and reconciliation? Will it widen divides, or help bridge and heal them? Be on the side of peace. US-based Interfaith Youth Core has empowered thousands of young people, worldwide, to help bridge religious divides. To learn more, please visit their website: http://ifyc.org/
Maximize UN Days. On Facebook/Twitter/email, use UN-observed international days as “springboards” to increase awareness about under-publicized causes. Below is a link to the dates and descriptions of international days observed by the United Nations, including World Refugee Day, International Day of Peace and Human Rights Day.