“5 Things We Can Each Do To Make Social Media And The Internet A Kinder And More Tolerant Place”, With Ash Brown

Verbal online attacks can be just as bad as a face to face these days. Before it was just words. But now people create all types of memes/videos spreading the hate. That could be damaging to anyone. As a part of my interview series about the things we can each do to make social media and […]

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Verbal online attacks can be just as bad as a face to face these days. Before it was just words. But now people create all types of memes/videos spreading the hate. That could be damaging to anyone.

As a part of my interview series about the things we can each do to make social media and the internet a kinder and more tolerant place, I had the pleasure to interview Ash Brown. Ash is a gifted American producer, blogger, speaker, influencer and event emcee. The blog on showcases exclusive event invites, product reviews and her favorite eateries. Ash has been blessed to have partnered with The Fox Theatre, Philips Arena, Gwinnett Relay for Life, Chateau Elan, Infinite Energy Center and Lake Lanier Islands in the past year. Her motivational podcast “Ash Said It Daily” is available on major media platforms such as iTunes, iHeart Radio & Google Play. This program has over 1,300 episodes. Since 2015 this show has gained over half a million streams worldwide. She started this podcast to encourage herself to achieve fitness goals. What began as self motivation bloomed into the evolution of an audience. She has been featured on television programs on Food Network, Lifetime, Starz, 11 Alive Atlanta and CW 69. She uses these venues to motivate & encourage her audience to follow their dreams!

Thank you so much for joining us Ash! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?

Sure! I’ve been obsessed with social media since before it was popular. I worked with several companies in the mid-2000’s specifically on their social presence. I was hesitant to take a leap out on faith. I had worked for others for so many years. Would I be successful pushing my own brand? It wasn’t at first. It took a lot of trial and error to create the right combination. Nearly 6 years later, I’ve had over half a million streams of my podcast worldwide. Most of that can be contributed to my presence on social media.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

I’m always amazed when strangers recognize me in public. A few months ago I was in Houston, Tx for an event. Everything was great. After the event, I checked my IG and someone tagged me. They had recorded me walking in the crowd and said something like “Omg, Ash Said It is in Houston! Thought she didn’t venture out of Atlanta.”

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

The biggest mistake I made when I started was attending every event everybody ever invited me to. I didn’t want people to feel bad because I didn’t go to their event. The end result was costly. I wasted a lot of gas going to places that were far off and out of the general interest of my audience. I remember being super tired and even falling asleep places because I didn’t understand the power of my NO. I don’t have that problem today. Oh lesson learned!

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

I am working on a few new projects that will give people insight unlike ever before. Everyone was once an apprentice. If you present things on an even playing field they’re more likely to follow your lead.

Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the main focus of our interview. Have you ever been publicly shamed or embarrassed on social media? Can you share with our readers what that experience felt like?

Absolutely! I’ve lost count. In the early 2000’s I was a big Youtuber. I would create content weekly whether it was product reviews, event promos or anything else. I decided to give my audience more of a clear picture of my personality. So I recorded a random vlog about my week. I wasn’t sure how it would be received. For the most part, majority of the comments that came in were nice. One comment hit me from left field. I don’t remember the exact verbiage but it was something along the lines of Ugly people like Ash shouldn’t film themselves on camera. At first, those words hurt. How could they say that?

What did you do to shake off that negative feeling?

After the initial shock, I realized that this person didn’t even know me. They were simply someone hiding behind a fake screen name trying to provoke me. Rather than go on the attack, I recognized them in a later video. And laughed at their comment. I had to let that negativity go. I have no idea what was going on with them. But I knew that it had nothing to do with me.

Have you ever posted a comment on social media that you regretted because you felt it was too harsh or mean?

No. Social media is a blessing but can also come back to bite you. I do not believe that I’ve ever posted anything that I later regret. I think about all of the angles before I ever post on social media. I feel as though I consider how my actions online affect others. Are my comments sensitive or offensive to a percentage of the population? I never intend on offending people but I will remain true to my standards.

When one reads the comments on Youtube or Instagram, or the trending topics on Twitter, a great percentage of them are critical, harsh, and hurtful. The people writing the comments may feel like they are simply tapping buttons on a keyboard, but to the one on the receiving end of the comment, it is very different. This may be intuitive, but I feel that it will be instructive to spell it out. Can you help illustrate to our readers what the recipient of a public online critique might be feeling?

There is nothing wrong with constructive criticism. You can often improve yourself just by listening. However the majority of comments I see today on social media are far from kind. For some reason today people resort to rip others apart for sport. I’ve got tough skin after being in this industry over a decade. The comments I’ve seen could be very hurtful to someone who is not familiar with today’s social media climate.

Do you think a verbal online attacks feels worse or less than a verbal argument in “real life”? How are the two different?

Verbal online attacks can be just as bad as a face to face these days. Before it was just words. But now people create all types of memes/videos spreading the hate. That could be damaging to anyone.

What long term effects can happen to someone who was shamed online?

I have had a teenager in my life take their own life as a result of online bullying. Yes, it is just that serious.

Many people who troll others online, or who leave harsh comments, can likely be kind and sweet people in “real life”. These people would likely never publicly shout at someone in a room filled with 100 people. Yet, on social media, when you embarrass someone, you are doing it in front of thousands of even millions of people, and it is out there forever. Can you give 3 or 4 reasons why social media tends to bring out the worst in people; why people are meaner online than they are in person?

An online persona gives people courage that they would never have in real life. Why? Because now they can pretend to be something/someone they are not. So when they say something rude or completely outlandish they can blame it on their online persona. They don’t take responsibility as the individual that is being mean. Most online bullies were bullied at some point. They know the pain that is inflicted and they want to send it to someone else. And i think some people troll as a cry for help. Maybe they’re having family issues and they feel like they don’t have a voice.

If you had the power to influence thousands of people about how to best comment and interact online, what would you suggest to them? What are your “5 things we should each do to help make social media and the internet, a kinder and more tolerant place”?

Before you send a nasty gram online, remember that there is a human being on the receiving end. First, think about how you would feel reading that negative comment about you, encourage someone that you can see is having a rough time, give kind constructive criticism in a respectable manner, stick up for someone being verbally attacked and keep in mind we won’t always be here. But our comments will. Generations to come will see what you’ve posted. Don’t be the example of what NOT to do.

Freedom of speech prohibits censorship in the public square. Do you think that applies to social media? Do American citizens have a right to say whatever they want within the confines of a social media platform owned by a private enterprise?

I don’t believe in public censorship. People should be able to say whatever is on their mind. However, if what you say will hurt another you should consider censoring yourself. Somehow people have lost the ability to have empathy for one another. That’s a problem.

If you had full control over Facebook or Twitter, which specific changes would you make to limit harmful or hurtful attacks?

I would take away the ability for people to use other people’s content, photos videos etc in a negative light.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

My grandmother always told me Those who know better do better. She was so right. Just because someone hurt you doesn’t mean you go and hurt them back. I still get crazy brutal comments today. The difference is I don’t let it destroy my joy.

We are blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

I know it’s a stretch but I would love the opportunity to sit down with Serena Williams. Being a successful talented young black woman in America is no easy feat. The media rips at her constantly but she remains poised. I admire that.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Sure! I’m @1LoveAsh across social media! Thank you for this feature!

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