Yes, Sometimes Your ‘Go Vegan’ Social Media Posts Actually Work

If you’re a vegan, you probably want others to make the same earth shattering conclusion you once made — that eating or using animals for any purpose is wrong. Perhaps you share posts about veganism on social media, but your friends are largely meat eaters and happy to remain so.

We all wonder sometimes why we bother posting vegan information at all. Do any of our friends read the articles we point them to? Do they care at all about the animal suffering we oppose so strongly? Are we just alienating friends with a constant flow of this information?

Vegans, take heart. Every so often, the message gets through. A wonderful example is Toto Wanje, a young man from Kenya. He spent his life as many of us did, blithely eating meat and thinking nothing of it. As someone who loves training with weights, he figured he needed meat to pack on muscle.

Vegan activist Toto Wajne at the gym.  Photo credit: Toto Wanje Facebook page

Vegan activist Toto Wajne at the gym. Photo credit: Toto Wanje Facebook page

“At first I didnít even know the difference between veganisim and vegetarianism,” Wanje told Black Vegans Rock. “I had no idea. I thought vegans were weak, crazy people and I thought that the movement and lifestyle was for hippies.”

What changed Wanje’s mind? The gentle, persistent Facebook posts of one of his friends. He told Black Vegans Rock:

It started on my Facebook newsfeed. I had a friend who always posted animal rights posts and vegan and vegetarian posts… After seeing my friends’ posts every day I started to sympathize with the suffering animal posts she was sharing and deep down inside I started to realize that she was right. Seeing the suffering animals being slaughtered for food, and the conditions they were living in and being kept in was getting to me.

Wanje went vegetarian first, and then became vegan. Now he, like his friend, is on a mission to make people understand the unnecessary cruelty that brings meat, eggs and dairy to our tables.

Do you want to be someone who inspires this level of change and compassion? You can do it. Anyone can. To be successful, however, you need to understand what really wins over hearts and minds. So what works and what doesn’t when it comes to social media activism?

Choose Your Platform Mindfully

Effective vegan activists differ on what social media platform is most effective for getting the vegan message out. Some prefer Facebook, which lets you share news stories and gives you an effective way to interact with others. Others like YouTube because it allows you to share videos of your own as well as those by vegan organizations you like.

Viral Shares and Likes.

Many now like Instagram for activist use, with its ability to share interesting photos and react to them in comments. Of course, there’s always Twitter, which allows your tweet or hashtag to go viral in a heartbeat. Take some time to consider how you like to interact online, and pick your platform from there.

Know What You’re Talking About

Nothing irks me more than reading uninformed diatribes on social media from well-intentioned vegans. Their hearts are in the right place, but they haven’t bothered to read deeply enough to argue effectively when challenged. They ultimately collapse into some offensive insult because they have nothing better to say. Does that sort of thing convince you? No, so don’t be that guy.

Your task is to persuade. Do it with facts. Understand and be able to discuss in detail the evils of factory farming. Know the nutritional ins and outs of staying healthy as a vegan. Be able to talk about why you won’t wear leather†or wool. Know how to explain why dairy cows don’t just automatically “make milk” all the time. Have reliable sources to back up the assertions you make.

Few people truly want to hurt animals or see them suffer. Help these people realize their current lifestyles choices are doing exactly that.

Keep It Civil, Keep It Kind, Keep It Upbeat

Inevitably, a social media post with a vegan message will generate negative and even hate-filled replies.

Learn to deal with online naysayers coolly, with class and intelligence. Others will see how your handle yourself and will take note. You probably won’t win over the jerk who posted the negative comment, but your calm, friendly, considered response might cause 10 others to stop and think about the substance of the point you were making.

Bad news!

In their book The Animal Activist’s Handbook, authors Matt Ball and Bruce Friedrich advise activists to be optimistic and upbeat, not angry and argumentative. They say:

It’s difficult not to be sad or angry about the amount of suffering in the world. But our question should not be, “What is justified?” or “What is an appropriate response to the facts?”-we we can certainly justify being angry, negative, or depressed. Rather, the question we should ask in every situation is, “What will be most effective in helping those who are suffering?” For example, we ask, “How would a hen in a battery cage or a pig in a sow stall want me to behave?” Depression and anger, however understandable, won’t be as effective at opening people’s hearts and minds as a good-natured attitude. Think of the people who are the most influential — they’re the ones who are smiling and upbeat.

Along the same lines, here’s another thought. Don’t fall back on capital letters and mega-punctuation to emphasize your position. STATING YOUR POINT ANGRILY IN LARGE LETTERS AND MULTIPLE EXCLAMATION POINTS DOESN’T MAKE IT ANY MORE TRUE!!!!! Right? I don’t know about you, but I immediately tend to discount someone’s argument if they have to emphasize it in this manner. It looks like you’re a petulant teenager, not a savvy vegan who knows a thing or two.

Becoming vegan is one terrific way to help animals. Becoming the catalyst who convinces others to explore a vegetarian or vegan way of life is even better. It will exponentially expand how many animals you’re helping. You can do it if you really want to. Many others have. Their stories are inspiring and remarkable, just like Toto Wanje’s tale.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

196 comments

Jim V
Jim V11 months ago

thanks

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Jerome S
Jerome S11 months ago

thanks for sharing.

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Beth M
Beth Mabout a year ago

ty

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Beth M
Beth Mabout a year ago

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Beth M
Beth Mabout a year ago

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Beth M
Beth Mabout a year ago

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Beth M
Beth Mabout a year ago

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Beth M
Beth Mabout a year ago

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Beth Mabout a year ago

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Beth M
Beth Mabout a year ago

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