Social Media,  Uncategorized

In Support of Negativity on The Internet

One of my teachers taught me that the “co” in “coincidence” means two and that after something happens twice it is no longer a coincidence.  The issue of unknowingly supporting negativity has come to my awareness many times over the last few days.

  1. I watched, Dis(honesty): the Truth About Lies. In this documentary, a marketer revealed how he incited women to protest rape culture and the objectification of women, through comments  and articles on social media about a book his client wrote…..which objectified women.  He then used that publicity to get his client on the the news and on TV. Due to the protests and negative publicity, the book went on to be  #1 on the New York Times best seller list.
  2. I was on a blog looking for a wonderfully positive article that had been posted recently. When I searched for it, a bunch of posts came up and the number of comments were listed with them. All the positive posts had an average of 1 comment. The one post that was extraordinarily negative, got 62 comments.
  3. There are a few articles, circulating on the internet, that are incendiary and negative and they are popping up on Facebook feeds like wild fire. Every time someone reposts the article saying how bad it is, the person who wrote it gets clicks to their website, fame, speaking opportunities, and money from ads on their site. Even if the person writing the blog is trying to bring awareness to a person doing bad in the world, that person, like in the Dis(honesty) example above, is getting their moment in the spot light. That moment can be enough to jump start their career and pad their bank accounts for years to come. For some people, there is no such thing as bad publicity. As long as their name is in your mouth, they won.




I watched the documentary with my daughter. Her questions was, “what should we do to bring awareness to bad stuff?” Good question. Instead of bringing attention to bad stuff, bring attention to the solutions.  To bring attention to the positive side of a negative issue presented in a blog, post blogs that bring up solutions or form a solution yourself and post that.  For instance, instead of, “Look at this picture of this homeless man. Homelessness sucks”, post,  “Here is a great organization that helps homeless people like this man in the picture”. Instead of reposting negative posts, reach out personally to the author and let them know your thoughts on it. Instead of only commenting on bad posts, comment on posts that you like. Even if it is just, “thanks” or “I liked this”, it brings attention to the blog, impacts its search engine ranking, helps the blogger get opportunities and make them money so they can continue to do their work. It also lets the blogger know the types of articles you are wanting to see more of.

People who  spread negativity will continue to do so because we give them attention when they do. Bottom line.

When you look at the Ashtanga Picture Project Facebook page, you will notice that I am constantly reposting other people’s positive, informative well written blogs. This is how I support people that I feel are doing positive things in the world. You may have also noticed that recently, when I respond to someone else’s blog, that was negative, I don’t mention their name or put a link to their blog.  Like above, when I didn’t mention the book from Dis(honesty), the negative post that got all the comments, or the negative post that has been reposted like wild fire all week.

You have a choice as to what grows in social media and on the web. Exercise your power of choice because it is also the power that changes the world.




Shanna Small has been practicing Ashtanga Yoga and studying the Yoga Sutras since 2001. She has studied in Mysore with Sharath Jois and is the Director of AYS Charlotte, a school for traditional Ashtanga in Charlotte NC. She has written for Yoga International and the Ashtanga Dispatch. Go here for more information on AYS Charlotte. For information on workshops, please e-mail

One Comment

  • Griffin Litwin

    Hi Shanna,

    I’m always interested in the roots of language… I have learned a lot from digging a little. My perspective:
    “co” does not have anything to do with number. It means “together” or “mutual.”
    “di” or “bi” are prefixes meaning “two.”

    “co” + “incidence” = “to happen together”

    Lately, it has been used in informal speech to mean “to occur together (without a common cause)”… E.g., it’s just a coincidence. Just things happening together as a result of chance.

    However, sometimes things do happen together and also share a cause or other relationship, as you’re pointing out! It’s still a coincidence, but not a random one. ☺

    The Yoga Sutra observes that only Purusa is not a coincidence. It is the only thing that can stand alone without a “co” to incide with. All Prakrti is co-incidental.


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