Engage me, don’t yell at me

While on LinkedIn earlier today, an acquaintance posted the following image that has been circulating lately; an image humourously designed to explain social media.

Look at me!

Look at me!

What this also highlights, however, is our complete lack of understanding when it comes to social media…that it has to be social.

Well, it doesn’t have to be social. Plenty of examples on the Internet (probably some written by me) where an individual or company has used social media to scream out their own message, not bothering to wait for a response or worried whether they are engaging the individuals on the other end. Just one giant game of: Look at me! Aren’t I clever? Love me!

Again, I recognize my own culpability in this. I too can be accused of approaching social media like a dog barking at a window, with little or no concern about those at whom I am barking. I do my best to have a point and always enjoy engagement.

Social media should be about engaging and building a community of which you and I are just one member. It should be more about listening than talking. It’s about starting a conversation, not a speech.

Thus, I offer the following revision of the white board presentation above.

Look at us!

Look at us!

In social media, everyone can hear you scream…but how many of us are listening to what you are screaming?

(Of course, this could all be high-handed holier-than-thou BS…in which case, I expect you to hold me to account. Go ahead, prove me right!)

Seven words

Seven words

The lifespan of a conversation never had

Pain unrecognized invalidated

Anger unexpressed unbearable

Disappointment ingrained unappeased

Sadness unutterable unrelenting

Despair intolerable unfathomable

Acceptance impossible unreachable

Hope unthinkable unrealistic

I am sorry that I hurt you

Seven words

Image

Simians of Costa Rica

Perhaps one of my favourite moments on my recent trip to Costa Rica was an evening spent conversing with a howler monkey.

From the balcony of our room in Manuel Antonio, a lone male somewhere in the pitch black of night was letting the universe know he was there. Not to be outdone conversationally, I wanted him to know I was around as well, and so I joined in.

I am confident that some of our hotel mates thought the neighbour a little mad, but the invisible howler seemed to be quite animated about the company. Animated enough that the fearless one in our family, my brother with whom I was travelling, finally asked me to cool it, lest we have someone else sharing our room.

One week in

Well, it’s now been a full week for my new blog, and I wanted to thank everyone for their interest and support.

36 of you, in fact, have gone so far as to sign on to follow my blog, which is quite thrilling and humbling…I shall try not to disappoint.

I don’t know where I am going with this blog, but I know it will be an adventure, and I very much look forward to hearing your feedback. Not just your likes (which are lovely and appreciated), but also your thoughts and impressions on what I have written or photos I have posted.

Do they stimulate ideas, do you disagree, do you have suggestions on improvements?

I want to hear it all. I want to engage, not just entertain or bemuse.

Let’s have fun!