Author And Speaker Bob Goff Has A New Plan For How To Use Social Media: Encouraging Others


What if social media was a way to enrich the lives of other people?

What if it became a force of good, especially during a pandemic?

What if the upcoming political season wasn’t all about the jabs and putdowns, the character assassinations, and the utter disregard for basic human dignities?

Using social media platforms as a way to connect and encourage others and make sure we’re all connecting — as opposed to using the platforms to criticize others and post our own stuff constantly — makes perfect sense.

Of course, even having to suggest this option seems strange.

Recently, I spoke with popular author and speaker Bob Goff about this topic. I’ve read all of his books, but his most recent is called Dream Big: Know What You Want, Why You Want It, and What You’re Going to Do About It.

In the recent book, Goff mentions the idea of using social media not merely as a way to scroll through the feeds of others and see what they are doing. He suggested “exploring and expanding” beyond that and pursuing a bigger ambition.

I decided to ask him for more details about what he meant because what I took from that is a little hard to explain. We know from multiple studies on social media that people tend to compare themselves to others constantly. That new shirt a friend is wearing, that new set of golf clubs (purchased while on vacation in sunny Arizona), that beautiful family.

What’s happening to us is not good. The comparison leads to actual, clinical depression. I’m very careful when I check my own social feeds these days because I’m never sure who is going to rage against society and make me the fill-in representative.

Yet, what I want to do is become more like the person Bob Goff is describing — someone who creates positive change, who expands and explores and encourages, who is not tearing down and destroying.

“It’s about restoring humanity — what we don’t need is more information, so take the time to find people in need,” he says, agreeing with me about how to improve social media interactions. “It doesn’t make me a hero or a victim, it makes me a participant. Don’t tell people what to do, tell people who they are becoming. Maybe you should tell them they are strong and courageous or give them a gentle word.”

The main point here: What if social media was about building and not attacking each other? What if we started looking for ways to encourage each other more often?

I wrote about this topic recently and quoted the activist Greta Thunberg about how she just wanted to do something (anything!) to take some small steps forward. I liked that. On social media, we can all make small steps away from the criticism and attacks and move into a new area where the platforms become a force for social change, where every platform is a way to connect digitally and make sure no one is lost.

My challenge to you is — will you start today? Try sending three encouraging messages to someone on social and see what happens. You might be surprised.

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