Use Your Voice on Social Media: Not Only for Cecil the Lion

People across the globe have read with heartbreak this week about the illegal hunting and killing of Cecil the LionWe learned about the consequences that this hunter’s single action will have on the ecosystem of that entire pride, and especially on the many, many sons of Cecil who will now be killed by the next alpha male.

Although I’m not an activist, like so many this week I rallied. I read the news reports and was so outraged by it all that I Googled the now infamous dentist Walter Palmer and then took to social media to help spread the word and give my opinion, for what it was worth.

When We Unite, the World Becomes Smaller

Because of Cecil, millions have united overnight as citizens of the world, sharing outrage and pleading with lawmakers in Zimbabwe to stop issuing permits of that nature to hunters.  We judged and commented on the dentist because he kills solely to take home a souvenir head.

Did you know that his office’s website (which crashed yesterday due to high traffic!) lists one of his hobbies as wildlife photography? The truth is though that even if he had published the most EPIC collection of wildlife photos that none of us would be talking about this guy, would we? In fact, it normally takes outrage, true triumph, or (sadly) scandal to rally most of us to raise our voice on social media as one…me included.

Yet when we’ve come together in the past, the result of our ONE unified voice increases awareness of issues, pushes governments to act, helps find bad guys, raises funds for those in need and so much more:

  • It took the hashtag campaign #bringbackourgirls to raise a global voice of awareness over one incident, that is really a daily problem in Nigeria.
  • When marriage equality triumphed in the USA last month, hundreds of brands + 26 million Facebook user pics were changed to the colours of the rainbow to celebrate that historic ruling.
  • The most memorable for me was the movement for the victim of the Delhi gang rape
  • , probably because I was living in India and witnessed the outpour first-hand. That single act brought forth immediate changes in legislature (although it will be a long time before women are considered equal in India and the culture of rape drastically changes).
  • I’d like to say that 1 church or 1 school or 1 movie theatre shooting has been enough to help bring forth gun control change in the USA but sadly they seem to occur almost weekly back where I’m from now.

Sorry, I strayed…(blogger soap box syndrome!).  But hopefully you see my point and how each of us can make a difference for a cause that touches us.

“Be the Change You Wish to See in the World”

I love the above quote by Mahatma Gandhi about being a good person and walking the walk in one’s own life.  Hopefully someone planning a hunting trip like the trophy DDS is touched by Cecil’s story and is moved enough to set them down a new path so this doesn’t happen again.

Personal knowledge is power and plays such a big role in influencing the things we do and the actions we take on any given day. Some people absorb information and learn right from wrong at home, others learn it on the road of life or from someone of influence, or even from something they read or watch. For that reason, it’s every citizen of the world’s responsibility to stand up and be heard when we care about an issue, see an injustice taking place or are bothered by something when no one else around you is (I stole that last bit from the book and subsequent film The Help, which was what sparked the lead white character to write a book from the perspective of black domestic helpers in 1960s Mississippi.  It’s a wonderful book and film, check out the trailer HERE).

Speak out or simply USE YOUR VOICE on social media to be a positive influence in our great big world. You never know what might resonate with someone to make a positive difference their life.

One thing I do know for sure is you don’t have to be an activist to make a difference. It only takes a single grain of sand to make a pearl or to tip a scale…and YOU ARE that grain of sand.  

TIP: please always use your voice responsibly and from a positive place, even if you disagree. There is nothing worse than people who hide behind anonymity or TROLL to push their point of view forward. Last night my first gut reaction led me to Tweet ‘#CecilTheLion killed by this American dentist! Sad he won’t rot in prison in Zimbabwe’, which isn’t terrible but certainly not clever. Later I cooled down and on Facebook posted ‘#‎CecilTheLion killed by this American dentist! In Zimbabwe the landowner and tour operator will face charges but the killer himself … nothing.’, which was arguably a better and stronger statement. So maybe learn from my mistake and cool down first if something’s got your goat before taking to social media 🙂

{Originally posted 29 July 2015 on LinkedIn Pulse}

XOXO Angela

© 2015, Angela Carson and Angela-Carson.com. All rights reserved. Do not copy and reproduce text or images without permission.

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Angela Carson

At 21 I left uni, jumped into my Jeep Wrangler, and drove from my native California to live an adventure in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. I've explored 32 countries on 4 continents, residing in 7 of them (currently Kuala Lumpur is my home). By day I'm a digital nomad and by night I'm a passionate storyteller. I even have a private pilot's license and was shot at once by bandits!
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