Recently, there’s been a lot of controversy over a particular app that a lot of writers see as censorship. Something I find interesting with this (and a general trend I see across the internet) is how much power we give things we dislike or disagree with. Every time we share something we dislike, the website is getting free advertising.
Why do we share things we hate?
We like to vent about things we disagree with (rightfully so). We want to have a conversation with other people about the topic. We want to change it, turn it into something different, something better. However, every time one of our friends, followers, or fans clicks on a link, the more popular the page becomes.
More shares. More views. More money. More power. It’s a sad, but true, fact. If a news site receives fifty thousand views from one very controversial article, they are more likely to publish articles along the same vein again. “It worked last time; let’s do it again!”
Going viral means people are talking. Going viral means both good and bad publicity. For every nine people who hate X, there is one who readily welcomes X into their lives. This hypothetical 10% would have never heard of X without it going viral through negativity and controversy.
Of course that is not our intention. Our intention is to shut it down, to stop it. But if someone is able to make money by going viral, why would they stop? When it comes to change, words help make people aware, but unless someone takes action along with those words, change becomes harder to accomplish.
Instead of spreading the negative site (the one you are against/dislike), share sites that you believe in and feel good about. In regards to the most recent viral instance with writers and readers, perhaps it would have been better to share Banned Books Week, where we celebrate having the freedom to read whatever the heck we want, when we want.
You could write an article on how a banned book shaped your life. Talk about a book that was seen as controversial when you were younger and how it positively affected you. Turn the conversation into something positive, something that other people can grow from. Maybe someone else finds their new favorite read.
If we start sharing what we love, maybe we can do away with what we hate.