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#SpeakBeautiful online to ignite positive change (VIDEO)

Whitney Coy is a freelance writer and editor based in Columbus, OH, where she lives with her husband and two daughters. She writes frequently for SheKnows, as well as several other websites. She writes on topics including parenting, pets...

Your online words and actions can make a world of difference in someone's life

Social media is a great way to stay connected and informed, but it definitely has its downfalls. Too often, social media bombards women and girls with messages that are hurtful and destructive to their self-esteem and confidence. Research shows that approximately 8 out of 10 women encounter negative comments on social media that critique their looks.

The anonymity and instant gratification of social sites often lead to words spoken without thought or in the heat of the moment. Unfortunately, the impact of those negative comments last much, much longer than it took to type them.

In an effort to combat online negativity and make beauty a source of confidence instead of anxiety, Dove teamed up with Twitter to launch its #SpeakBeautiful campaign. Using a proprietary algorithm, #SpeakBeautiful technology counteracts negative comments on social media with positive ones, encouraging women to speak with more confidence, optimism and kindness about beauty.

With the voices of positive online influencers, Dove sponsored a panel at #BlogHer15 and partnered with SheKnows Hatch to start a conversation about the future impact of social media on the next generation. Media personalities and educators including Ellen Pack of Common Sense Media, Franchesca Ramsey of MTV’s De-coded and Jessica Lahey of The New York Times, led a powerful discussion to examine the intersection of self-esteem, social media and how young people are affected by negative messages and stereotypes online.

Following the panel, we asked some attendees and panelists what they thought about the #SpeakBeautiful movement and why speaking positive words online is significant.

We also posed questions about their personal experiences on social media — both negative and positive — and what kind of lasting impact those experiences made. According to these girls, words matter more than you might have thought.

Listen to the conversation above, and then continue the #SpeakBeautiful movement online. The power is in your hands. It only takes one beautiful comment to ignite positive change online.

This post was brought to you by Dove.

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