Diversify Your Feed

If you’ve ever participated in unconscious bias training (putting aside any debate as to its effectiveness), you might have been asked about your closest contacts. The people you trust most. And then asked to consider how diverse they are in comparison to your race, ethnicity, age, ability, background, gender, sexual orientation, and so on. Often these exercises are surprisingly unsurprising – we surround ourselves with people who look, sound and live like us.

Familiarity equals comfort, safety and security.

There’s a perceived strength in numbers and similarity.

But these exercises are intended to draw us out of our comfort zones. Out of our familiar spaces and into more exciting, expansive and unknown places of connection and understanding. Into a place where we can appreciate and celebrate diversity as a concept, even if we don’t quite live it in practice.

It can be difficult to suddenly break out of our friendship groups and make new connections – and arguably hard to do this sensitively, without appearing tokenistic in choosing new acquaintances! One way we can do this more subtly and consistently is by diversifying our social media feed – choosing to follow people who do not look, live or think like us. People who may challenge us and make us uncomfortable. Who may hold up a mirror to us and also show us another way. Or at the very least, remind us that there are other perspectives on the world out there other than our own direct lived experience.

Some inspiring Irish examples I’ve come across include:

And there are many more outside of Ireland:

You can review and curate your feed repeatedly over time to keep it fresh and diverse. Sheree Atcheson, multi-award winning Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Executive and author of Demanding More, recommends doing this exercise regularly – you can follow her on Twitter and LinkedIN too.

So, the next time you find yourself scrolling mindlessly on social media platforms, take a moment to reflect and diversify your feed. And, if you’re not already doing so, feel free to follow me on Twitter and Instagram, and I’ll do my best to keep my feed fresh!

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