09 June 2011

Social Graces

An opinion about social media
I have been strapped into this seat holding my breath not knowing exactly where this journey would lead. Most of the time we get to choose are destination, sometimes we hold on for dear life, thinking we got on this plane so we might as well ride it out. That is sort of how I felt about social media. Then I realized, I can get off this ride anytime I want, pick a different plane, or change my desired destination.
How many years have we all been doing this now? I think we have reached the point where we should have discovered what works and what doesn't work. Hopefully we have learned from the mistakes of others, perhaps had our own disappointments, or have found what works for us as individuals, found our niche so to say. I am really hoping we are ready for advancement. 
I have watched the self-destruction of some, and sensed when others were spiraling out of control. Social Media doesn't always feel good to me, but I do have a choice. I am one who believes that we are heading toward a period in time when orators will be admired and respected. Those who have original thought and can speak to the masses with eloquent understanding. I think we are passing through a phase when we craved to be seen and heard and be noticed as individuals, branding ourselves and speaking up. We have already started down our next path of revolution, a period during which we will want to experience validation and summation of our voices into one great big I am part of a bigger movement. I belong. 
This is the potential of Social Media. For now it is a work in progress, and we are going through growing pains. I am noticing a growing tendency for out-right disrespect in twitter battles, and rapid comments on forums without taking even a moment to pause over the facts. Social Media is not an excuse to mouth off to another person in the name of trying to be cool and make your mark. If you wouldn't do so in the work place or at a community meeting or with your grandparents, it may not be acceptable etiquette in the arena of Social Media. The I, I, I phase needs to evolve into I belong, and to do that we need to get along
It is clear that Social Media was designed as a modern live scrapbook of sorts, then people realized you could make a lot of money promoting stuff, and self. The social mores of communicating on Social Media is a cross between pub mentality and business protocol. This is where is gets sticky with ego/alter-ego or workplace/off-workplace personalities. Attempts to merge the two, where delineation is beneficial, have caused embarrassing mistakes. It is worth the time to pause and decipher when to use what in which context.
I call for social graces. Those skills used to interact politely in social situations. Just because you cannot see someone doesn't let you off the hook to behave respectfully. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. I say freedom of expression is dandy, but think before you speak (or tweet or FB), it may be best left private. Sometimes it really is better just to go out for a pint with a mate, or sit on a patio sipping a glass of wine, and vent your opinion or private dalliances to someone who knows you well.

I blog because it is a creative outlet for me. I have no delusions of grandeur. I like photography and I like writing and I like cycling. I also like the ocean and kayaking and gardening and a good beer from Belgium, but you may not. We each have our likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses, and opinions. Too many times I think yuck, I wasted my time reading that bitter uninformed diatribe. But the point is not that I agree or disagree, I just want to hear an original thought stated well and with grace. Think of the song don't bring me down wait, maybe I mean this one don't let me down.
Some quotes to think over - you know, to form your own opinion 

It is the mark of an educated mind to entertain a thought without accepting it. ~Aristotle
Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain - and most fools do. ~ Dale Carnegie
Men are not disturbed by things, but the view they take of things. ~ Epictetus (55-135 A.D.)
People demand freedom of speech to make up for the freedom of thought which they avoid. ~ Soren Aabye Kierkegaard (1813-1855)
If you are irritated by every rub, how will you be polished? ~ Mevlana Rumi
Try to leave a person feeling better about themselves ~ PedalDancer