Archive for August, 2013

The Social Media Voyeurism Trap.

 

facebook                It seems the more we are able to share of our lives, the more we want to share our lives: it doesn’t seem to matter with whom.  Growing up in the 80s and 90s, I remember how important it was to write letters to family or to pick up a (corded!) phone and call in order to keep in touch.  Making and keeping friends usually meant an in-face experience or to live within close proximity with another person.  The advent of the internet changed the entire landscape of personal relationships.  While once we would have to wait until someone was home to pick up a phone to share exciting news, now we can blast it out on any number of social media websites for just about anyone to see. We can learn things probably we would never have in any other way.

 

There are two outcomes from this ability to share, and overshare, every single moment of life – a desire to share more and a desire to know more. Either way there is a heavy dose of voyeurism involved.  In my opinion, when I put information out on a social media website like Facebook, it elevates that moment for me into something important.  Now I WANT people to see what I think/said/commented on/took a picture of/ate for dinner – I am craving that moment of attention.  When I do not get the response I am looking for, there is almost a letdown effect.  This can be a dangerous roller coaster since the responses from others then serve either to validate or undermine our own importance.  When we are validated, it can be an uplifting and strengthening of our self-esteem; when we are contradicted or shamed on social media it can serve to destroy someone’s already fragile ego.

 

The flip side is also true. As we learn more about people’s lives in a social media forum, we feel entitled to comment and make our opinion known.  The implication is that if someone wanted to share it, then I get to throw in my two-cents – desired or not.  The follow-on to that is we may WANT to know more about whatever or whomever it is.  To prove my point, look at the increase and impact of the tabloid magazines.  It has become well known how paparazzi (and main stream media) will hound, chase and sneak their way into getting the next story or picture that will satisfy people’s thirst for gossip or knowledge.

 

I am not saying that all social media is bad or that we should stop using these wonderful tools. In fact, I love my Facebook environment, where I can find old friends and keep everyone up to date on how my kids are growing.  My point to all this is that we need to be aware of the side-effects of social media, both on us as we send out information and what happens when we look for information.  My advice is to be neutral, where outsider opinions and antics are unnecessary for your own life.

 

Lori Buresh

 

The Professional Development Team

 

 

 

 

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Judgment.

judgeI find that criticism or judgment of others is directly related to our own sphere of understanding.  This may be an obvious point, but let me share what I mean.  I live in the “Bible belt” of America; there are churches on almost every single corner in town with many faith-based activities in the area.  During one such event – a music concert – there was a woman down front who was really rocking out to the music.  Now the music was very contemporary with guitars and drums and the whole bit, but she was really into it.  At first I watched her with unease, almost disdain, because of her jumping and thrashing around.  But as time went on, I stopped watching her with judgment, and it shifted to awe.  Here was a woman who had no other focus in life at that moment but her connection with the music and God.  She had zero concern for the world around her, including the people who may be witness to her exuberance.

When I realized the carefree moment this woman was experiencing, I was envious.  I started to think, why am I not having that same sort of experience? I decided it is because of two reasons, and both of them involve judgment.  1) I still hold some concern for how others will see, therefore judge, me in that sort of environment and 2) I still hold some reservations, and therefore judgment, that such abandon is not true faith but just antics.  Either way, I am sitting in judgment of others and of myself. Where does this prejudice come from, and who am I to judge?  I think that the answer is that we are human.  We base our decisions and our lives on our experiences and the world around us.

What we know and understand and are comfortable with becomes ‘right’, and anything else shifts to ‘wrong’.  That which is uncomfortable or unknown is harder to face or deal with: so we shy away from it.  It becomes easy to judge at that point, because from a simplistic view, what we know as ‘right’ makes us ‘righteous’.  That is a very nice spot to live in.  When we are righteous, we are justified in our judgment or condemnation of that which we find ‘wrong’, and anything that affects our righteous position makes us a victim – again, a very powerful vantage point.   So what do we do?

I don’t have the answers to this dilemma. I think it is just important to recognize that it exists.  As I am branching out and trying new things, I am now more conscious of my preconceived notions and my judgments.  At the very least, I am trying to shelve my initial fears or reactions and just live.  It is not an easy lesson and probably one that I will have to continually learn over and over again.  However, just because something is different or is outside my comfort zone, it in no way means it is bad or wrong.

Lori Buresh

The Professional Development Team

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Peace and Comfort.

               PeaceMy son is afraid of thunderstorms. On nights when the lightning flashes and the thunder booms, it is a given a little boy will be climbing into “the big bed” within a short period of time.  Sometimes I even get ahead of him and curl up with him in his bed first.  Either way, he always turns over either to hug or embrace me in his sleep. Even just a touch of his foot on my leg is enough for him to feel safe.  Once he knows he has mommy or daddy nearby, he can sleep through anything – not that we get much sleep after that.  Last night was one such night, and as I pondered my son’s calm, I thought about how that same sort of peace is provided by great leaders.

                My son feels comforted because he knows his protectors are close at hand.  He has trust that his parents will do their best to ensure no harm comes to him.  He is a brave boy on his own, but he needs a little extra help with a touch or a cuddle during a storm.  Leaders can do the same for us if they have the same basic relationship of trust with their team.  When a team has no trust or confidence in its leader, they find no comfort in the direction or the path of the team.  As with any discomfort, it is irritating and drives our attention away from other, more important things.

                Leaders do not need to “cuddle” their teams, but they do need to build that trust and confidence relationship.  I know that when I listen and follow leaders I truly believe in, I have no doubts or concerns about the path ahead. While I can’t say that I phrase it as peace and comfort in those situations, I can say that I am not concerned about the leadership – just the mission and goal.  I am focused and ready to perform knowing that my leaders have the situation under control, and I just need to do my part.  In the case of my son, he needs to calm down and sleep during a storm – mission accomplished.

Lori Buresh

The Professional Development Team

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