Misinformation campaigns and fake news. Ugly personal attacks and awful comments. Social media can be a cruel place.
Social media can also be a tool for positive change and a platform for creating communities of support.
That’s why OUT Maine is “upping” our social media game — our goal is to change the narrative about queer youth by posting positive, informative, and accurate content. Queer youth need more allies who are ready to add their voices of support, and who will speak up as advocates in the spaces where decisions are being made.
Queer youth need more allies, and you can help.
One of the ways you can advance OUT’s message and — even more important — build a stronger community of allies for queer youth is to share our blog posts and social media content.
The algorithms of social media are mysterious, but we know that the more you engage with our posts — likes, shares, comments, and story mentions — the more our content gets seen by other folks.
Here’s the interesting part: even negative comments boost the algorithms. Weird, right?
For the algorithm’s purposes, any engagement with our posts (likes, hearts, frowny faces, sad faces, wow faces, happy faces, etc.), and even the time you spend reading our posts, means that you’re helping our visibility.
So the trolls who leave frowny faces and negative comments on our posts? They’re helping too.
But is sharing really enough?
It’s definitely a start, and it’s a free way to help. Sure, we’ll always accept donations to help us advance our mission! But not everyone can make a financial contribution.
The power of social media means that when you share our posts, with just a few clicks you’re extending the reach of our message.
Think of OUT’s online content as a pebble dropped into the pond of good, bad, and ugly online media about queer folks. When you share one of our posts, the post travels like those ripples in the pond, with a life of its own. Who will see it? Maybe someone who really needs to.
- You share one of OUT’s posts in your Instagram stories…
It’s seen by a teacher in another state who just had a student come out to her. She’s been worrying about how to support this student and when she saw your post, she then made her way to OUT’s website and spent an hour reading and downloading some of our free resources for schools. She’s planning to share them with the guidance staff and administration at her school, and has some ideas for how to support her student. The next step could be starting a GSTA.
- You commented on our Facebook post about the low percentage of queer-identifying kids in Maine who feel like they matter…
Because you’re friends on Facebook, one of your exercise friends sees your comment on the post in his newsfeed and it stops him midscroll. He’s been known to make some troubling comments about “the gays.” As a parent, these numbers are concerning. He’s thinking about his own kids, one of whom has been bullied for her disability and struggles with depression. He’s seen first-hand the impact of identity-based bullying. We don’t know if his comments will stop, but this post made him stop and think.
- You shared an Instagram post in your stories because you love OUT’s new podcast…
Your local state representative sees your story, clicks on the link and finds their way to Spotify where they give a listen to our latest episode about parenting a trans child. They loved the episode, and then checked out our website to learn more about what we do — including our work with the Maine Department of Education, Department of Justice, and Department of Health and Human Services.
- You know a lot of parents in your community, so you share OUT’s Facebook announcements about our programs for kids, parents, and families…
Your lesbian great aunt from Ohio — who’s very savvy on the socials! — sees one of these posts and can’t believe her eyes! This is lightyears ahead of what life was like for her as a questioning, and then gay (but closeted), young person. She puts a heart on your post, comments with many heart emojis and exclamation marks, then hops over to our website to make a contribution.
Not as tech savvy as your great aunt? It’s OK, we’ve got some simple steps for you!
First — follow us on Facebook and Instagram.
Second — when you see one of our posts (on either or both platforms!), like/love/wow them, add a comment, and then go ahead and share.
- Facebook: Underneath each post, you’ll see the like button (like/love/wow, etc), the speech bubble for leaving comments, and an arrow.
- Use the arrow to share our post to your page. This means your friends and networks will see the post from you in their feeds.
- When you share our content, consider adding a personal note to your followers, about why OUT’s mission echoes your own values.
- Instagram: Share our posts to your story. Right next to the “heart” that you just clicked when you liked our Instagram post, there’s a speech bubble for adding a comment. To the right of that, you’ll see an icon that looks like a paper airplane. This is the share button.
- When you click the paper airplane, it will show you a list of your followers that you could share the post to individually, and at the very top, you’ll see “Add post to your story.”
- Selecting “Add post to your story” makes our post visible to your followers for a limited time period of one day. (Which still helps!)
- When you share a post to your story, you can also add a personal message or a link to OUT’s website or blog.
Liking or commenting is great — sharing’s even better.
Whether it’s a blog post, or an Instagram or Facebook post, when you share OUT’s content with the social and professional networks or organizations you’re affiliated with, you’re helping to change the narrative. You’re informing your communities about queer issues and the issues queer youth are facing.
In 2 minutes or less your armchair advocacy and engagement with OUT’s content can have a real-world impact on queer folks in Maine… and beyond.