Vegan Lifestyle ArticlesSocial Media and the Rise of Veganism
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Vegan lifestyle articles that discuss ways of living in peace with humans, animals, and the environment.


FROM

Paul Graham, Las Vegas Informer
June 2014

Some have referred to the Internet as one of the last bastions of free speech. We need to protect it. Social media is part of that experience and one that we can continue to use for so much good and reach people that we would otherwise not be able to.

We are going to flip the switch on some of the existing global systems that are using and abusing animals, damaging our environment, and threatening our health. We are going to see it happen in this next generation and I have a feeling that social media is going to play a great part in this change.

When it comes to social media, in any form, people seem to be all over the board in terms to their feelings about it. So many seem to enjoy it and engage in it multiple times each day. It has become a fixture and a part of their daily experience. Some see it as a necessary evil of some sort and thus just tolerate it. Others eschew it altogether and try to avoid it all costs. They see it as a time waste and inferior way to deal with people.

I would be a part of the group that not only enjoys it and engages in social media, but embraces it for what it is and the potential that it holds for educating, enlightening, and encouraging people. It has only been a part of most of our lives for the past ten years or so, and it is hard to remember how we connected, engaged, and interacted before then. I know that we didÖby phone, email, cards, and letters. They all have their place. Certainly nothing beats seeing and talking with someone in person, but we are limited each day with the number of personal interactions that we can have. Social media allows us to build bridges and interact with the world in a matter of moments. What we do with it from there is up to us. I also believe that there has been a strong connection with people using social media and the rise of veganism in our world over these past ten years.

Social media has allowed us to share information that would never stream to us through the normal media outlets. We can read, view, and share articles, videos, and other messages that we otherwise would not be able to enjoy and learn from through conventional means unless we happened to pick up the right book or other piece of literature. I love to read but you have to know what it is that you are looking for and then find it. Social media can build bridges with people and share information with them that they might not otherwise consider. I would say that the dispensing of information could be rather haphazard before the advent of social media. It is so much more interesting than getting an email or a fax.

There is no shortage of creativity when it comes to the various social media outlets that we engage. More people are on Facebook than any other social media tool by more than double. Twitter and YouTube are also heavily used but no where near the numbers that engage with Facebook. If you have a message to get out, why would you not want to use a means that the average person is on more than five times each day? From that point of view, it just makes great sense. For those living and eating consciously, we need to understand the power that social media has for reaching people and educating, enlightening, and encouraging them of what being vegan is and the power that it holds for healing our physical bodies, saving animals, and protecting our environment.

I understand the role that social media has played in my becoming vegan almost seven years ago. It was the gateway for connecting with people all over the world that have educated and encouraged me. It has been a constant source of resources, recipes, and vital connections that I have needed to thrive in this lifestyle. It has also provided a means that I have used to share information through my blogs, columns, and book that I would otherwise not have had. I can in the matter of moments connect with people throughout my city, the entire country, and the rest of the world. What other means would allow me to do this?

My challenges with social media are more practical than anything else. I am limited by the amount of time that I can spend, so time management is very important for me when using social media. Most others face the same challenge. We need to make the most of the time that we have. If we waste our time, that is not the fault of social media. That falls on us. We have to develop a discipline of how we use this tool. And it is just a tool. Social media is not evil. It is all in how we perceive it and use it. If we choose to engage in complaining and negativity and find ourselves fighting on various threads on a regular basis, it will color how we feel about the experience. If we choose to engage in positivity and use it to reach people with kindness, love, and compassion, we will see it in a whole other light. We can use it as a necessary and effective tool to reach others with this very important message of compassionate living.

Some have referred to the Internet as one of the last bastions of free speech. We need to protect it. Social media is part of that experience and one that we can continue to use for so much good and reach people that we would otherwise not be able to. Yes, we can frustrated by trying to fit our message into 140 characters. We can chide Facebook for not allowing us to see posts on a regular basis from pages that we like. We can struggle to keep up with all of the existing social media tools and the new ones that seem to be emerging each year. Each have their strengths and weaknesses, just like we do personally. There is nothing that I can say to convince some people about social mediaÖthey simply choose not to engage. But if you do engage in it, donít feel guilty about your involvement if you are using it in a positive manner. See it as the tool that it is to reach a world that needs to hear these vital truths and are responding to that message in unprecedented numbers.

We are going to flip the switch on some of the existing global systems that are using and abusing animals, damaging our environment, and threatening our health. We are going to see it happen in this next generation and I have a feeling that social media is going to play a great part in this change. Use it as means to connect with people and then use the power of your personal presence to take it from there. Nothing will be more powerful than having someone personally see your conscious lifestyle being lived out. Letís just understand the valuable tool that social media is to help us get to the tipping point and reach as many people as possible with a life and world-changing message.


Paul Graham was born and raised in Northern California and has lived in Las Vegas since 2004. He is a top wedding officiate, a green Realtor and writer. He has a daily vegan food blog, Eating Vegan in Vegas which is 365 days and 365 vegan meals in Las Vegas.

Paulís e-book, Eating Vegan in Vegas: If It Can Happen Here, It Can Happen Anywhere is now available at www.sullivanstpress.com.  


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