In my continuing discussion around the need to listen to social media, I continue to be so touched by what many of us are not listening for…. social media to do something right.

With this and in a world so quick to judge and make statements based on our own frozen perceptions, what do you do when you see something so moving from the youth of the nation?

This week in my hometown, a young 14 year old girl named Maddie passed away from her fight with cancer. (See story here)

Maddie attended my old high school.

In hearing a story on the local news station at noon while I worked today, they spoke with local students about Maddie. One of them was so touched by what she was seeing on Twitter about #PurpleTuesday and #RIPMaddie.

What was so inspiring was that students from all over the Metro were honoring her.

In this, where appropriate, how can we speak into this? Now of course, in many of these examples, I would say it was only appropriate for a woman to engage these young teenage girls by telling them how sorry we are for their loss and that we are moved at their show of support. Being appropriate in these cases is just wisdom.

For guys, are there young men showing their support? What can we do to use the #hashtag to show our support?

Too often, all I hear about is how the youth are using these social media tools for nothing but bad stuff. In this, our response is always to look away or scold. In my previous posts, I countered that line of thinking with seeking to see beyond the post to ask questions like… are you okay?

But what happens when they use these tools to comfort one another while honoring a fallen friend? This is good, right? Well, let’s encourage that. Let’s encourage them.

When you listen to social media, are you responding through the lens of your frozen perception? Or, are you responding because something moves you?

Not sure about you, but my response today will be to find some purple to honor Maddie and then give my own 14 year old daughter a huge hug and tell her I love her.

The humanization of social media is there for us all to see… if we are willing.

God bless Maddie’s family and friends and may she rest in peace.

Other posts from the Listening to Social Media series:

  1. Listening to Social Media: Why we must improve
  2. Listening to Social Media 2: Her last 144 tweets
  3. Listening to Social Media 3: Cheering Them On #1D
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