How to Post About Veganism on Social Media

So, you’ve just discovered how a vegan lifestyle is better for the planet, your health and the animals (or maybe you’ve known that for a while). Who wouldn’t want to shout what they’ve learned from the rooftops so others can also see the light and we can all work together toward making a better world? Nowadays, social media has replaced rooftop-shouting as a way to engage conversation and spread messages far and wide.

The only problem is: not everyone is ready to hear that message. And people also may not be ready or able to make significant changes. There may be defensiveness, cognitive dissonance and apathy creating difficulties for ethical conversations to be successful. Not only does this impair communication in the short term, but the way messages are conveyed can damage how someone views an entire movement. Lastly, frustration with wanting others to change can have a detrimental effect on the person with the message.

So what are some ways to effectively post about vegan topics? Here are some general guidelines and concepts to consider.

1. Refrain from bashing those who are trying to make a change

Although it is an unpopular belief in some circles, small changes and even “reducetarianism” are the most accessible options for many people and they can still have a positive impact. Just like it does no good to berate and pick apart someone who is coming around to the idea of gradually quitting smoking, it’s not helpful to nitpick someone who goes meatless on Mondays alone. Gradual changes met with opposition and questions of “why don’t you go further?” turn people off to the changes, to the messenger and to the message.

2. Carefully consider whether or not to post graphic images or videos

There is little that is more eye-opening and impactful than seeing where our food comes from when it comes to what inspires people to make changes. However, scrolling through a Facebook feed and stumbling upon an auto-play video of animals being beaten or slaughtered isn’t always so effective. It can take people off guard when they are not in a state of mind to receive new information about our food production systems and their problems. While it may be tempting to post these videos, consider the reception and the method—will it actually engage people and get them thinking? Is there another way to achieve that?

3. Choose your words wisely

When posting on social media, the semi-anonymity of the internet is alluring. Even if we know our followers in real life, the absence of face-to-face contact can embolden our language. For many people learning about the implications of modern diets and food production, anger is a common emotion—and understandably so! However, this anger can cause damage if we unleash it on people who don’t know the things we know. Refraining from accusatory language is always a wise choice if the goal is to engage vs. alienate.

4. Avoid infighting

Joining social media groups and having conversations on posts or in tweets where we are communicating with other vegans or plant-based eaters is a huge perk for staying positive and feeling connected to those who “get it.” However, some of these groups and posts can be public, where anyone can drop in and see how vegans communicate. Whether these conversations are public or not, it is always a good idea to avoid infighting. Bickering, snide remarks about others’ choices and nitpicking tiny details of others’ lives paints an image of militant, unhappy and rude vegans. And it makes others think vegans’ lives are miserable! Before asking if the cookies in someone’s photo are also soy-free, bone-char-sugar-free and palm oil-free, ask yourself first: will this help the overall movement?

5. Know when NOT to post

The times when emotions are running high are usually always the best moments to re-think posting or commenting online. In general, it’s a good idea to take a breath, bring our heart rates down, and evaluate exactly what we want to say – or whether we want to say anything at all! This applies to posting on social media and it especially applies to situations where the movement may hurt or people will be especially turned off from hearing our points if we lash out online.

6. Recognize the best ways to deal with disappointment

The reality, again, is: not everybody is ready to hear our message or ready/able to make significant changes. There will also be people who, for whatever reasons, are angry and hostile toward vegans and are happy to let you know about it. It is vital to have a plan to manage feelings of disappointment or helplessness: calling a friend who understands, meditating, channeling energy into an activity or calling the Animal Activist Helpline.

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Photo credit: Thinkstock

31 comments

Carole R
Carole R25 days ago

Thanks for the post.

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Clare O
Clare O'Beara26 days ago

Two ads for sex articles under an article on vegan living. I am really starting to wonder if someone in Care2 runs a brothel.

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Clare O
Clare O'Beara26 days ago

Thanks

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Ellie M
Ellie M26 days ago

just dont

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Winn A
Winn A26 days ago

Tks

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Winn A
Winn A26 days ago

Noted

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Jonathan Harper
Jonathan H26 days ago

Noted

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Aaron F
Past Member 26 days ago

Big tip: Stop the elitist proselytizing...

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Danuta W
Danuta W27 days ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Anne Moran
Anne Moran27 days ago

Wouldn’t read it,, not interested - will never be vegan too restricting for me...

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