8 Ways to Use Social Media More Positively in the Equine Industry
Likes, comments, shares, followers…the list goes on and on. Social media takes up a momentous portion of time in an average person’s life. This outlet is wonderful when connecting with friends and family. It is always fun to share pictures of your horse or your results from a horse show. We all do it.
However, it is also important to recognize the dangers of social media. At times, these apps can be used as weapons in a negative sense. Friend turns on a friend, brother turns on brother, when does it end? Unfortunately, the negative aspects of social media can be prevalent at times in the equine industry.
If you are on Facebook, chances are you have seen a fight or two over the most minute differences of opinion. The smallest things can set some people off to the point of ending relationships entirely.
So, how can we use social media more positively?
1) Educate yourself and others
Education is key. Do not start a fight with someone, especially if you do not have facts to back up your argument. You need to be educated on a topic in order to form a strong opinion about it. If you see someone who would genuinely like to learn about your way of riding, the breed you show, etc., enlighten them on your understanding. Do not attack the other person just because they are curious about your discipline or horse.
The best way to refrain from arguments is by stating the facts. Check your sources to make sure the information is reliable. Online resources such as GoHorseShow and association websites like AQHA.com exist where you can find out facts before jumping the gun and posting something false.
2) Keep you comments positive
Picture this: you get a notification from your phone about someone commenting on a video of your horse. You think “Oh that’s nice. Let’s see what this person said.” Then, you see hateful comments about the way you ride, your horse, etc. Think about how you would feel in that moment. The best way to spread happiness is through happiness itself. Take two seconds out of your day to make a nice comment to someone. This person does not even have to be someone you know. After all, we are all connected through our passion for horses. You could even make it a personal challenge. Challenge yourself to comment at least one nice thing every single day. Then watch the positivity unfold in front of your eyes.
3) Don’t judge other people
Everyone is unique and quirky in their special way. Do not judge people based on what you see on their social media profiles. After all, people only post what they want others to know about them. Do not judge others based on what they post, share, who they are friends with, etc. Also, do not form your entire opinion about someone based on their political views, religion, etc. The equine industry is full of amazing, passionate people. If you are too quick to judge, you could lose out on forming lifelong friendships.
4) If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all
This is something we are taught from kindergarten onward. However, it seems that people follow this rule less and less on social media. If you do not have a nice comment or suggestion, do not say anything at all. There is a difference if someone, a horse, etc. is endangered, then for sure speak up. However, for minute posts, do not go out looking for an argument. These fights only break relationships and make others uncomfortable. Instead of commenting something rude, ask yourself a few thoughtful questions. Why do you want to say something mean? Does it serve a purpose? How can you channel this negative energy into something more positive and productive?
Life is about balance. With school, horse shows, your social life, and everything in between. Doing too much of one activity may offset your others. Social media is a perfect example of this. Spending too much time on Facebook or Instagram can be a waste of time if taken too far. It is perfectly fine to want to post and connect with friends, but know when enough is enough for the day. Set aside “phone breaks” and completely disconnect yourself from the internet. Give your eyes a break from the screens and enjoy the sun outside. The world is a wonderful place once you put the phone down and appreciate all life has to offer.
6) Think before you post
Just like thinking before you speak, you should think before you post. Posts such as photos of your horse or dog are no big deal. Everyone loves a good puppy picture. However, think before you share sensitive topics or opinions. Here are some questions to ask before sharing a controversial topic. What purpose does this serve? Who will I upset? Why do I want to share something that potentially can cause a fight?
7) Your worth is not based on how many “likes” you get
This is so, so important. Do not let the amount of “likes,” “comments,” or “shares” determine your self-worth. Everyone loves to compare – houses, clothes, horses, the list goes on and on. Social media places unrealistic expectations on everyone, so do not let these change who you are as a person. Base your self-worth on your kindness, willingness to help others and hard work. Those are the most important attributes anyone can have.
8) Just be positive
Positivity is essential to living an overall happy and successful life. You do not have to be happy-go-lucky all the time. Just try your best to find the upside in every situation that you are presented with. Social media is a wonderful place to practice your positivity skills. An unknown speaker once said, “Beautiful things happen when you distance yourself from negativity.”
About the Author: Cat Guenther is a devout equestrian and a senior at the Academy of the Sacred Heart. She has been riding horses for almost nine years and has loved every minute of it. Cat started and runs her successful show clothing business, Behind the Bit Show Clothing. Her favorite classes are horsemanship, showmanship, and trail. She plans to attend Michigan State University in the future to study veterinary medicine and possibly also business. Cat is excited to show the all-around classes in 2019 with Zippos Kat Man Do aka Teddy.