Posts Tagged self-esteem

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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egoI was recently re-reading The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni.  It is a great book with some simple but profound revelations about building teams.  After this second reading, I have been thinking over the last piece of his pyramid – Ego.  The real tip of his teamwork pyramid is ‘inattention to results’, but the premise is about status and ego.  For some reason, the idea of ego has been rolling around in my head, and here is what I’ve come up with – again, I am no psychologist.

As I’ve reviewed before, it feels good to be recognized or rewarded for a job well done.  That is part of our ego, the self-esteem boost we get from acknowledgement.  Is it really possible to put that thrill aside in our hearts?  I think yes, but it may depend on the loyalty of the team.  We have to recognize that our egos might be getting in the way of progress and then reconcile ourselves to the overall good instead of our own personal agendas.  This is not always as hard as it sounds.  As a mother, I am more than willing to put myself last in line for my children’s needs, without hesitation or question. If you look at critical teams like military units or surgical teams, they may have a similarly strong bond, which makes forfeiting ego easy.  Not every team (I submit, the overwhelming majority) has that type of cohesiveness.  So then what?

This is where the conscious effort has to come into play.  We, as leaders, may have to set the example and sacrifice first, a fairly common occurrence and expectation in my opinion.  We also have to watch the interaction of ego between members of our team.  If one team member’s ego is in the way, it may not be as obvious as someone demanding to be first or get the blue ribbon.  There may be subtle or subconscious indicators like a complete dismissal of other ideas.  I have found if someone is unwilling to listen to any other course of action but his or her own, he or she is relying and asserting their own knowledge above all others.  If you were to confront this person about their ego, he or she would probably have no clue what you were talking about; so one must tread lightly.  The bottom line is, we all have to give up part of our ego in order to be receptive to others and make a strong team.  As leaders, be on the lookout for member egos and understand you may have to manipulate them to accomplish the goal.

-Lori Buresh

CEO, The Professional Development Team

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