Using the Power of Social Media for a Higher Purpose

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As a newcomer to social media, I would look at professionals with large social followings and think to myself, “If I were them, I would use that platform to raise awareness of issues that mattered to me”. Well, I guess it’s time to practice what I preach.

The past year has been a doozy for me. As my professional life thrived, my personal life consisted of hiding in closets and trying to hide a significant injury from friends and coworkers, that included attending occupational therapy multiple times a week for a right arm injury while I was right-handed and had work to do!

As a natural introvert, it was extremely difficult for me to be honest and open with my followers. I could share all the photos in the world of my engagement, my wedding, but when it came to sharing that I was abused physically, and emotionally, I hesitated. I realized, though, that if people were supportive enough to engage with all of my happy, exciting content, then I owed it to them to be honest about all of my difficulties, as well. While we all can hope that the world is all marshmallows, we know it is not, and it’s okay to admit that sometimes.

Want to know the final straw that got me out? I was on a business trip at a professional dinner with coworkers I had literally just met. I received harassing text messages from my then-husband that I was not allowed to be at a dinner without him, even if it was strictly business. I knew I couldn’t leave, we had a lot to discuss at the dinner, and I couldn’t just walk out on my colleagues. I tried to field most of the text messages that accused me of being the devil and unfaithful for being at a dinner without him, but I could not keep the tears from welling up, especially when I realized he was on his way to a casino to gamble while condemning me for being out at a business dinner.

A coworker noticed the tears, and had the nerve to ask me what was wrong, instead of just brushing it under the rug like so many people before him. The best part was, he didn’t stop when I tried to water down the situation. He kept asking questions and digging until he had the full story of everything I had endured over the past year. At the end, he was open and told me that he went through a divorce, and he was okay, and it was actually so much better on the other side. He said his ex-spouse was a manipulator, and while she never physically abused him, she emotionally abused him in exactly the same ways my then-spouse was. He addressed my fear of never being able to date again after going through a divorce, and said that he felt the same way before he went through his divorce, but was surprised and pleased to find it was effortless to date afterwards. He stressed over and over again that he had all of the same fears as me prior to his divorce, but had an immediate breath of fresh air and relief once he was divorced. He said his life was a million times better on the other side.

Wow.

While all of my friends and family struggled to steal me away from my abusive situation, it was that stranger’s one moment of honesty, that rescued me.

A week later, I packed up all of my things and left, within six hours.

While I could go on and on in detail, that is not the point of this post. The point is that social influencers have a responsibility to use their influence for the greater good, and it’s time that we realize that and act on it. It’s easy to sit by and let others be transparent and talk about their hardships, but it’s critical that we speak up about our own journeys and understand the powerful influence of social media that we are fortunate to have.

I challenge all of you to think of your own story you have to tell, whether it is your brand’s story, or your personal story. Be transparent, be unashamed and be honest. Tell your story authentically, and you will be astounded by how many people you touch.

It literally only takes one person, and think of how many people you touch as a brand and/or as a social influencer. What story are you going to tell that is going to change someone’s life? What’s your mission going to be? I know mine is going to be to #StopAbuse.

-Marji J. Sherman

15 thoughts on “Using the Power of Social Media for a Higher Purpose

  1. Using the Power of Social Media to “out” a man you once loved and married in front of God is a little much, right? Stay classy.

    1. A ‘man’ treats a woman with honour, respect and love. The only way she should be hiding in a closet from a ‘man’ should be for a fun-filled, innocent game of hide-and-seek. A marriage shouldn’t be a relationship of control and intimidation. But you are right, anonymous, a ‘man’ who treats a woman in the way Marji has described doesn’t deserve to be “out” – he deserves to be “in” … as “in jail.”
      Honesty is classy, Marji. I told on Twitter and will repeat it here – your courage is to be admired. Change one life by sharing your story and you’ve accomplished more than anonymous commentators can ever imagine.

    2. Spoken like an abuser or someone that’s still living with abuse. Victims of abuse that manage to wrangle free need not remain bound to the “secret keeping” behavior that held them prisoner and allowed the abuser to operate undetected. Abuse thrives in the dark. Coming into the light is part of the healing process. Surviving and thriving…now that’s classy!

    3. As the survivor of domestic violence I applaud her ‘outing’ him. Domestic violence has no class, no race, no socio-economics, but the victims that are better educated, higher income earners are the ones that will generally hide their stories in fear of being judged by our peers. We need to stand up and ‘out’ our abusers to let other women know and understand that this violence can happen to anyone anywhere and it is OK to get help.
      As to outing him in front of God…I think God already knew.

    4. I understand how Anonymous can’t relate to Marji’s courage, because anonymous isn’t even courageous enough to post his (or her) real name. It’s attitudes like yours that keep people quiet and in horrific abusive relationships because people like you will chastise them for coming forward. I hope “GOD” forgives you.

  2. The deeply personal story encountered in the article is used to underpin and drive home the authors core point about openness and honesty in our use of Social Media.
    In addition, the author encourages the use of ‘positivity’ in messages delivered by influencers who use this medium.
    The above demands a set of ethics which many of course will possess as part of their basic character set (born with, or developed over time)
    However, Social Media forums are essentially built on the premis that they are open domains. With this access comes the risk that (at the extreme) some will make comments that just shouldn’t be broadcast/published (but who are we to judge).
    Then again, one hopes less savoury or negative comments/opinion and input will be more than balanced by lucid, sensible, honest, clear, and intelligent debate and opinion. Would that this were always the case.
    Inevitably, the use of Social Media (tools and capability) gives also rise to discussion about the application of regulation, law, rules, frameworks, active curation, and the application of membership criteria and access rights.
    Back to the article, where the author encourages authenticity, openness, honesty in our dealings in and around Social Media. In that way, our identities and brands (if we have businesses) will engage others with trust on both sides, and of course we all win.
    If however we use these avenues and tools with less than a good heart, as opposed to this failure just being an occasional oversight or mistake – because we are human – then our personal and professional brands deserve the results we get.
    If we really do seek to be social influencers (whatever that may mean to us), using available Social Media tools, then honesty and positivity are reasonably good places to begin the journey.

  3. I’m sorryI feel all the sadness you feel it, and if it got me
    Life is hard. Events were not our choices.
    You do not know much, but I read something from you on social networking , I feel strong
    Very strong
    In social networks, I’m trying to find honest friends with me.
    Help me succeed.
    Do not give up.
    BR

  4. There are some holes in this story. If it was such a dangerous situation, why did you hide in the closet and never call the police? There is no record of domestic abuse. And who filed for divorce? Can anyone really be surprised that this happens (if it really did) when you elope in the middle of the night with a surgeon that you’ve dated for a handful of months? I think the real message is less #stopabuse and more #stopgolddigging

  5. I guess you made it. Congratulations. You can be very proud of your courage. I am a natural extrovert but I know that calling the police can be a problem and if it is just for the reason that you don’t want to look weak.

  6. Thank you, Marji! I heard a report on Bill Moyers that Women are now less than half of the human population for the first time in history…domestic violence and murder is the turning point of this terrifying circumstance. Not wars. Too many Women, Mothers and Daughters are buried while their murderers walk free, and too many Women, Mothers and Daughters are imprisoned with harsh terms for protecting themselves, their children and family members….and some of us are still living the story of abuse without voices. Thank you, Marji….for showing what Courage looks like. #StopAbuse!

  7. I am extremely impressed together with your writing skills as neatly as with the format for your weblog.
    Is that this a paid subject or did you modify it your self?
    Either way keep up the nice high quality writing, it’s rare to see
    a nice weblog like this one these days..

  8. Thanks for sharing your story and encouraging others to also. I’m not really sure how to do it, but I’m willing to. I wish you all the best as you move forward.

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