140 characters But 1 strong Statement

I weeded through the Twittersphere for positive and/or impactful insights on empathy.

Photo of Jennifer Gaspar- Santos
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Click to view the Outcome: https://twitter.com/i/moments/825494396149780480?from_editor=true


So, when I seek inspiration, I turn to social media which I have a love/hate relationship with. I love that you can have such a instant connection with someone fairly quickly, whether it be through 140 characters, a 30 second video or a beautiful or empowering image. It can be both destructive and uplifting at the same time.


And I think social media has opened up avenues for empathy. So I brainstormed hash tags on empathy and arrived at 59 different types of hash tags. You can find that brainstorm here.

From the 59 I brainstormed, I then searched over a dozen of them (bolded on my doc) and needed a place to house them all, so I used Twitter's  Moments Feature and created it here, called Insights on Empathy: https://twitter.com/i/moments/825494396149780480?from_editor=true

This social media deep dive captured the voices of folks talking about empathy, wishing they had more empathy, how they taught empathy, how they aquired empathy, mostly for folks of the disenfranchised or less represented.

 Most interesting was this contradictory use of empathy as a hash tag. Folks would use empathy as a hashtag but would post quite the opposite--I saw a lot of empathy posts regarding Hillary Clinton which were hurtful and not at all compassionate. 


[Optional] Synthesize a little! What's one take away or insight to leave people with?

As a composer, when you are limited by the number of characters you can use to connect with someone, it is imperative that people... especially our world leaders, think intentionally before they post. Social media can set waves that can both destroy and uplift us as a community.

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Photo of Ellen

Jennifer,
Thank you for your post. I love your process of turning to social media for inspiration around this. Very interesting to hear about the inconsistencies you found in your hashtag search(es) around empathy.
 "Most interesting was this contradictory use of empathy as a hash tag. Folks would use empathy as a hashtag but would post quite the opposite--I saw a lot of empathy posts regarding Hillary Clinton which were hurtful and not at all compassionate."
How do we handle these inconsistencies? Do we need to? How might we support people in decreasing their own viewpoints and biases to really understand what it's like to stand in someone else's shoes?

Photo of Jennifer

Those are good questions. As educators, I would hope those questions are built into our design process when we create our curriculum. There are so many opportunities for us as teachers to build in ways students can develop skills to 1. identify their own biases 2. identify bias in what they consume online 3. respond or "handle" those biases or inconsistencies in a way that doesn't create more tension but creates a mutual understanding. I think the first step to decreasing bias is to the ability to first recognize it. Part of me believes that folks lack self awareness are first to get tangled up in their bias. The other part of me knows there are folks out their that recognize their bias and don't care to change. The latter being harder to address. What if folks don't care enough to empathize with others? With recent decisions made in the government, I only hope we do what we can to raise a new generation of leaders who care.

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