Today, we are very excited to speak with Lilia Buckingham, co-founder of Positively Social. Founded by a group of teenagers, Positively Social is all about helping young people use social media in a more positive way. How awesome is that?! Read our interview with Lilia below, and be sure to let us know how you are being positive on social media! We will be sharing our favorites on our Instagram.
Please tell us about Positively Social and what motivated you and your team to start the organization.
Positively Social is a non profit organization that teaches people the true realities of social media and how to use it in a smart and responsible way! Maddie, Kenzie, and I have experienced a lot of cyberbullying and hacking first hand, and we always talked about trying to find ways to stop it. We confided in each other when the comments became too much and after a while, we realized that with this following, we could positively influence people on the media. We also knew that we couldn’t do it alone, so we put a team together to help get the whole thing going. And by September, we had an established curriculum and decided it was time to launch!
Maddie Ziegler tells us that she steps up for bullying
Starting a 501(c)(3) non-profit as teenagers is no easy feat. What advice would you give other young founders who are thinking about starting an organization?
I think my one big piece of advice is don’t be afraid to ask for help. I knew I wanted to create this incredible thing, but I had to go to my mom to help out with some of the legal parts! It doesn’t make whatever your creating any less yours, and it definitely doesn’t make you any less smart.
As you say on your website, your team started Positively Social to help young people learn how to present themselves positively on social media, to be a force for positivity, and help promote social media as a place for positive social change. How do you guys go about achieving your mission?
Well for starters we always try to comment uplifting things and stay away from anything that could come across as rude or aggressive. Also, whenever I see someone commenting hate on me or my friends pages, either I’ll delete it or comment back to them telling them that bringing people down isn’t what we should be using these accounts for. Sometimes kids forget how much words hurt.
At only 14 years of age, you found yourself with over 600,000 followers on Instagram. Can you speak to how having this audience at such a young age affected your thoughts regarding your role as an influencer?
It’s so crazy! At first, the followers kind of scared me. I was worried I would do something wrong and people would hate me, or I would influence someone in the wrong way. But now, with all of this horrible stuff going on in the world, I feel so lucky to have this platform because I have the ability to show kids ways to change it! When you’re young, you are often told that you are too small to make an impact. But having this following, I get to spread awareness about things that our generations needs to be educated on. Hopefully, with Positively Social, we are showing kids that you are never too young to make a difference.
Social media can sometimes feel like a constant popularity contest. Comparison and feelings of inadequacy are all too common as a result of endless scrolling. That being said, social media can also be used as a force for good. It gives us the ability to connect with and support one another. How do you personally use social media as a force for good, and can you share some words of wisdom with those who want to use it in a more purposeful, positive way?
Using my platform to spread awareness about things that are happening in the world and how to do things like reach out to your senators or sign a petition is one way I use my platform to spread love and education! Also, I try to like as many comments on my photos as possible and like all the photos that people tag me in, because my favorite thing is making fans happy. Seeing them happy makes me happy!
What are you most excited about that’s coming up with Positively Social?
So many things! We are currently working on a project that I can’t really say much about, but I’m so excited for people to see it. And we are going to speak at some schools in February, which will be such an amazing experience!
I can’t start my day until: I’ve had coffee and texted Morning to my long distance friends (an easy way to always stay in touch)
An instagram account that inspires me: Zendaya! She isn’t afraid to speak about important topics, and I think that is amazing
One thing people don’t know about me: I sleep with my eyes half open and I make amazing pancakes!!
Thank you, Lilia for chatting with us about Positively Social, and for encouraging us all to send the right message.
Now, we invite YOU to share with us how you are creating a positive space on social media. Comment on our Instagram and we will share some of our favorites!