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The world can be a beautiful place when we keep our eyes open, and this week’s guest wants to help us find that beauty more often.
Since Chris Anderson became the curator of the TED conference in 2002, he has developed it into a platform for disseminating ideas worth sharing. Now he wants to encourage others to help make the internet a place of positivity to replace the negativity that so often surrounds us.
Tune into the episode to learn how you can make your social media world a kinder place!
A TECH OPTIMIST’S DISAPPOINTMENT
Anderson considers himself a tech optimist. When the internet took off in the late 1990s, he saw it as a tool to bring the world together. However, the outcome has been quite different. Rather than empowering people to better understand one another, social media often amplifies negativity and sows dissension.
Social media is often destructive, “forcing us to pick sides almost, and to view other people not just with disagreement but with anger and fear and hate — and sometimes even disgust.”
Despite the overwhelming negativity of social media and the internet, Anderson is still optimistic that it could, in principle, become a force for good. There’s a lot of good online — it’s just not amplified in the same ways.
That’s why Anderson wrote “Infectious Generosity: The Ultimate Idea Worth Spreading.” His book “is an attempt to try to reclaim the internet as a force for good in the world.”
THE BENEFITS OF GENEROSITY
We often hear people say we should all be more positive and generous, but why is that? How does being generous benefit you?
When we live in a social media world that’s biased toward telling us about things that are scary or ugly, then we tend to think the worst of each other. But there are truly wonderful, kind people out there, and their stories are being told somewhere. If we can amplify those stories, then we can learn to think more positively about connecting with others.
And it turns out generosity is pretty deeply tied to happiness! “People who give are happier. It's just absolutely clear from the evidence that they're happier.”
LEADING WITH GENEROSITY
Being generous doesn’t have to mean giving everything you have to others. Anderson suggests simply looking for ways to be kind: “It doesn't mean you have to give away huge sums of money. It may not [have] anything to do with money. It may just be kind acts. You can be generous by being hospitable to people [and by] looking at people who feel unseen and giving them your attention.”
Another way you can both practice generosity and surround yourself with positivity is to look for news and media sources that show “the better side of life,” like UpWorthy or Future Crunch, two of Anderson’s favorites.
“There are so many people [sharing positive stories]. They deserve to be amplified and followed. And [when] more of us who do that, it will actually shape the algorithms that X and the other social media [platforms] use. [...] Carefully curate who you are following” to generously lift up the voices of those putting good into the world.
Check out the full episode to learn about how you can build a more positive life and how TED leads with generosity!
Many of our Motivational Mondays guests are committed to making life better for others. Check out how one guest helps create a kinder world through her work in teen mental health awareness.
Listen to this episode to learn about...
- [1:25] Anderson’s early optimism about the internet
- [2:14] How social media has become infused with negativity
- [3:47] How TED found success through generosity
- [6:42] Tangible ways to bring more generosity into your life
- [12:12] Strategies for recalibrating what the algorithms show you
- [18:39] The amazing generosity generated by the Mystery Experiment
- [21:54] Gen Z’s recognition of the power of positivity
- [25:14] The TED-Ed initiative
- [28:13] How you can be generous with more than just money
Tune into the Members Only episode to learn about TED’s global mission of good news.
Read Anderson’s new book, “Infectious Generosity: The Ultimate Idea Worth Sharing.”
Find ideas you think are worth sharing at TED.
Listen to other Motivational Mondays episodes.