The challenge we face keeping most New Year's resolutions is that we have to go it alone. That can be tough. There is nothing like a support network to help achieve our goals. That is why I recommend you make a more achievable resolution this year: be more social.
Build and use your social network to achieve your goals. Get on Twitter, Facebook, tumblr, even Google+ and let the world know you exist. Speak truth to power and change the world.
Don't be angry with me. I understand that we exist independently of social media. But social media changes how we exist. It gives a volume to our voices that can be earth-shaking, especially when raised in unison (our voices can also be banal, but that is true offline, as well, so don't dwell on it).
Social media has amplified the voices of people in Egypt and Ferguson. It forces the media and governments to pay attention to issues that they would otherwise downplay or ignore.
When we raise our voices to champion justice, the world listens. When we do not, the voices of injustice go unanswered.
When we raise our voices to tell Congress to pass good laws, they do. When we are too quiet, they don't. They don't pass laws to require background checks on gun purchases, for example. When that bill failed, I heard some Members say that they received more constituent messages opposing the bill than favoring it, despite 85% of the population favoring passage. If only they had heard from more of the 85%...
That can only happen if we let it. It can only happen if we remain quiet.
We must fight for all victories, large and small. Even small victories will set the stage for larger victories down the road. If Members of Congress say something absurd, call them out. When Speaker Boehner said that he never met a voter that favored the public option during the Affordable Care Act debate, AFSCME mobilized thousands of voters to tweet their support for the public option to Boehner. It only took 8,962 tweets to get the Speaker to publicly retract his comment. Imagine if 8 million had called him out.
The louder we shout for justice, the more likely Congress will step up and do the right thing. I may be optimistic, but I've seen it happen, though too rarely. So let's resolve to get on social media and say something important about fixing the injustices in our country, about addressing our urgent needs to use cleaner energy, about our need to reverse economic inequality, about the need to end violence against women.
Whether you Tweet about #Ferguson, #EricGarner and #BlackLivesMatter or call on Boko Haram to #BringBackOurGirls, resolve to be more social in 2015 and raise your voices. If you believe that #YesAllWomen must be ever fearful because there is too much violent misogyny in the world, beat the Facebook drum daily for change.
If you want to fight for truth over disinformation, resolve to keep yourself informed, inform your friends and, most importantly, inform your government. Never let elected officials hide from the will of the people by allowing them to say that they have not heard your view from the people. It is our responsibility to shape the policy direction our government takes. It is not our place to just take what policies we are given. Resolve to be more social in 2015.