Imagine by 2025 if across the world, people of every nation, every language, young and old, are online allies in a movement of non-violent engagement between people across every social media platform. Perhaps you, dear reader, will be one of a growing global ‘army of Peace Trolls’ , seeding social media the capacity to engage with destructive energy, whereby even people holding strongly opposed views will find themselves within a culture of non-violent peaceful coexistence between people.
‘Everyone has been made for some particular work, and the desire for that work has been put in every heart’. (Rumi)
THE VISION: When people form connections at the level of the heart, and know that their needs have been listened to and understood, the divisions caused by feelings subside and they can enter into constructive, mutually respectful dialogue.
THE GOAL: Social media users across the globe on differing platforms will become an ‘army of Peace Trolls’. As they honour ‘the other’, a tsunami of non-violent communication, empathy and care will spread across the globe. People feeling this will discover how they can climb out of their anger and existential despair by themselves using social media for Good.
THE OBJECTIVE: to change the climate on social media by meeting people’s hate online free of any intent to change people’s views.
- Set up 4 principles about how to hear another person and 4 principles about how to respond online to hateful comments. Since this is not in real time, you have time to compose what to say next. That way you come at your best. It’s for people who have the willingness and the capacity and want to focus on connection.
- Offer online training for people who want to do this
- Offer a platform for people to engage with each other for support
- Offer people with experience the opportunity to support those who are doing it on the ground who are new
- Preliminary ideas about principles for peacetrolling
- Listen and reflect at least 3 times before saying anything
- Your task is to understand, not to evaluate whether you agree or disagree.
- People who put out a comment offensive to others are human: they have the same needs
THE PILOT PROJECT: Invite people with experience of NVC to participate ( no training needed) in a one-month pilot group to try out whether the concept works. The core aim is to support a shift from a culture of trolling to a culture of peace and civility throughout social media through people responding empathically and open-heartedly to messages of hate and challenge. Decide on the hows, wheres and whens so participants stay within their capacity, given offline committments and capacities. Share with other participants of the group, which online community you will take so everybody knows what is happening. Develop assessment metrics to evaluate results. End of the month evaluation of how it all worked. Decision on whether to proceed more widely.
I feel scared and I feel sad because I don’t have capacity to do this alone. Yet deep in my soul, I believe it is an idea whose time has come. I long to connect with others who share this vision and will give a pilot project a try.
Would YOU be willing to take part in a month-long pilot project this year? If so, will you reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org?