Several tragedies have happened this summer in our nation. As I read the media coverage of these events, I have noticed that many news outlets are going to social media for their stories. Whether they are printing the tweets of users with strong opinions or passing judgements on victims based on their posts (and posts of those connected to them), Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have become the primary sources for information.
I have spent quite a few hours in the car this summer. My soundtrack on these road trips has been the musical Hamilton. Listening to the powerful words of Lin-Manuel Miranda, I am reminded of a pivotal time in the founding of our nation when words had amazing power. Alexander Hamilton was known for his writings and sharing of ideas. However, if you really listen to the lyrics of the songs from Hamilton, you can learn a few things about how to use social media today.
1. "Talk less, smile more." - Although this line is attributed to Aaron Burr in the musical, it is a great lesson for all of us. Oversharing is not always a good thing. People are entitled to their opinions, but those opinions do not have to be published for the world to see. Many times it is best to keep things to yourself.
2. "I'm erasing myself from the narrative." - Eliza Hamilton sings these words after the revelation of the Maria Reynolds affair. She is referring to historians not deserving to know her feelings. Some things should be kept private. And many times you need to check your social media narrative and erase things that send the wrong message.
3. "Who tells your story?" - Throughout the show, Hamilton is obsessed with his contribution and the legacy he leaves behind. In the closing song, the company asks "Who tells your story?" And you have to wonder the legacy you are leaving behind. If your story is based solely on what you post on social media, is it a true picture of who you are, what you believe, and what you have accomplished. Does it tell your story in a truthful and honest way?
Ask yourself, "If I died today, what legacy am I leaving through my social media posts?"