Sharing with you things that are on my mind...Maybe yours too. Come back to Wrights Lane for a visit anytime!

22 January, 2013

RETHINKING MY "SOCIAL" NETWORKING

I have always spoken what is on my mind. I appreciate others who do the same thing. Frankness and openness aids self-expression and when redirected, helps us know where others stand on issues. Admittedly, I have a "weird" (my wife's word) sense of humor too...Likewise, I appreciate and understand humor in others.

I have been involved in online communications now for more than 15 years. I have been dealing with the written word for almost 60 years -- a good half of that time in a public relations capacity. I think that social networking, in particular, has a lot of merit but, sadly, I have found that it feeds into human frailty and sensitivity like no other mode of present-day communication...You know, by all means "like" me and what I am posting (on-line, i.e. Facebook); but if you don't, "defriend me" (i.e. like it or lump it). Rational discussion often takes a back seat to argumentative reactions and the ultimate click of a computer key. Innuendo also runs rampant.

Quite honestly, more and more I find myself being annoyed by what I am seeing and reading on Facebook. Cutting, pasting and regurgitating the work of others under the guise of "sharing" is commonplace and spoils otherwise good intentions. It lacks something when we see several dozen other people sharing exactly the same post, which may or may not carry a virus. Originality is totally lacking. I do not live in a vacuum...There have been times when my more serious work has been viewed critically. On occasion, my comments have been misunderstood in some quarters and known to offend. That all goes with the territory for a veteran writer.

Humans experience an emotional response to a situation or comment first, making our primary feelings strong motivations of our behavior before we can think in rational terms. On-line/virtual interaction complicates how we interpret what we read and it is devoid of facial expressions, gestures and body language; it has no tone of voice to indicate emotion behind our words. How words are read and interpreted is up to the recipient and caution needs to be exercised here...We would do well to re-read words (several times if necessary), and think about them from the writer's perspective. We would also do well to consider the reader when crafting our words, think about how they may be received and if there is a better way to express ourselves.

On-line communications is a two-way street. We should navigate with care and sensitivity...Life is too short for spur-of-the-moment knee-jerk reactions. Trust me, no one wins an argument on Facebook.

Here's what another writer has to say on the subject: "Sex, relationships, personal causes, racism, religion, death, and politics are all serious topics, and they're all guaranteed one-way tickets to offending someone, and that's too bad. My advice to those who are busy drafting their angry responses while reading this is to chill. Take a second and ask yourself if perhaps you're being a little too sensitive, and therefore missing the point.

"Disagreeing with someone is par for the course in life. But telling another guy what he can and cannot say goes too far. If you disagree, wait for him to finish, consider what he has said and then react logically and sensibly to his ideas.

"Remember that not everything that is written or said is directed specifically at you; it's usually for the public at large or based on a specific principle. Everything happens within a context, even your reaction. It's the context that shapes the meaning of a statement. So consider, among other things, who the statement was directed at, what came before it and the writer or speaker's perspective.

"If all else fails, it sometimes pays to simply ignore the comment or provocative post. Life is too short to argue with everyone over every little thing. You've got better things to do... I hope. My advice is to try to let things slide. If they're really so bad, don't lend them credibility by talking further about them."

Thank you for that my friend. You know whereof you speak!!

Personally, for what little time I have left on this earth, I am going to be letting a lot of things slide. It is in my best interest. Maybe I should start by spending less tim
e on Facebook and more time dealing with the things that really matter in my life.
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