Leap Year Lesson #314: Be a Safe Place for Others

Posted: November 13, 2012 in Relationships
Tags: , , ,

You’ve probably seen one of the yellow and black diamond “Safe Place” signs on businesses and other locations.  The one shown here is their latest logo.  It is the symbol for National Safe Place – a youth outreach organization that educates youth about threatening situations and seeks to provide safe shelters for youth in crisis.  I applaud their efforts.

The phrase “safe place” has become a part of our vocabulary in a variety of contexts, not just in that of the national organization with the signs.  It may refer to a physical safe place or shelter in the midst of a storm.  It may refer to an emotional safe place of a group or setting where someone can share thoughts, feelings and experiences without fear of rejection or condemnation.

As I lay awake in the wee hours of this morning unable to sleep, the term came to mind in the context of where people gather online to talk.  Are those social media gathering places safe places for participants?  I’m not referring to the well-publicized times when the slime of society prey on children or others with the intent to abuse or harm.  I’m referring to the conversations that happen between friends, acquaintances and colleagues every day.

When you visit Facebook, for example, how safe is your news feed?  I know mine became quite toxic during the months leading up to the presidential election to the point where I unsubscribed from the comments and posts of most people I am friends with (even those I agree with politically), and I tried to not make the news feeds of others too toxic by limiting myself to one political post per week.

Beyond the politics, though, how friendly, warm, encouraging, and accepting are your social media gathering places?  They should be, or else you have no good reason to frequent them.  We must do our part in making them safe places for others.  As the community manager for my company’s internal online community, that has me thinking about what we need to do to make certain our community is a safe place for all.

As an individual, community or organization, leap year lesson #314 is Be a safe place for others.

  1. Paul Baldwin says:

    Nice work. Jeff.

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