Mindful Social Media (via Beth Kanter)

Came across this, this morning courtesy of a Google+ share from George Brett, a person who I’ve kept in contact with since the early twitter days and I’ve been following Beth Kanter off and on for a while too. I’m including this Slideshare from Beth’s Blog and then will make a few comments afterwards.

Mindful Social Media

View more presentations from Beth Kanter

The message is simple – or so it seems to me; don’t let technology drive your life. We all know that is good advice, but increasingly find it hard to resist or avoid. The cases of how disruptive technology can really disrupt relationships and real-life are plentiful, So, we need assistance in getting back to real and meaningful engagement with social media, and with life itself, and also the place our work time effects that relationship with both our friends and colleagues.

So … we grab for our mobile devices at any time we don’t appear to be doing anything else, on the bus, on the loo, before we go to sleep; but the act of doing this is a replacement for doing something else – observing, reflecting, relaxing! Take the test that Beth sets you and you may be upset, or disturbed. I certainly didn’t end-up at the Mindful end of the scale! In addressing this (if you perceive you then have a problem) I particularly like Howard Rheingold’s Mindfulness cartoon, reproduced in this slideset. I was introduced to the idea of nine calming breaths by my sister and certainly the awareness of one’s breathing could be a useful antidote to anxiety-raising constant connectivity, having objectives and re-viewing and re-prioritising them, and re-focusing are things we know we should always be doing, but sometimes the social media trap gets in the way and drags us down into doing things just because they’re presented to us. The lesson again – don’t get driven by the technology.

The penultimate slide is both instructional and frightening. Ponder for a moment and consider the coping mechansims that you could put in place; and then finally, the feedback loop to enhance attention and hopefully to improve both state of mind and productivity is both simple and achievable – you can change behaviour!

Finally, and a personal comment with absolutely no rigorous scientific basis … could there be a link to Learned helplessness here. Is our coping mechanism to bombardment from social media streams an introduced self-imposed control, a process we put in place to protect us – “I do, therefore I am, and therefore I am in touch”. Just a thought!

“Social Ways of Working in Higher Education” by Dr Kelly Page

I really enjoyed reading this post from Kelly Page (+Kelly Page – Google+ @drkellypage – twitter) . When the message is so strong and the actions that need to be undertaken so clear, the analysis and recommendations need to be clearly stated. Kelly manages this, so well. I wish I’d written it, because there’s not a word in this post that I would disagree with.

Yes, it’s hard to see how it can be achieved sometimes because there’s a load of cultural change that needs to occur in parallel, work practices need to change too, against a background of scarcity of time and resources to embrace change and often little support too for the innovator. However, universities should not believe themselves to be detached from the revolutions in communication technologies and popular engagement that are sweeping the world. It is surely better to lead than be led.

Google+ does it for me … big time!

I was ready for a move away from Twitter and my usage had dropped even before G+. I had already made the decision some months ago to do more in Facebook with “real” friends and family. Then G+ came along and I found that I could do what I wanted to do all along.

Which was …
a) to be able to write posts that were not cryptic or had such silly abbreviations, or had such bad English that the only thing it made you look was either incredibly clever, or silly, or both depending upon who was reading it;
b) to get involved in meaningful (sometimes) dialogue with people I didn’t know but who shared an interest with me, maybe it was just G+ itself at first but now it’s broadening to photography and I suspect in time to travel, walking and genealogy interests who will get circles of their own too [NB most of those I engaged with on twitter were people I DID know – they’re all in  my acquaintance circle now – who are a very diverse group of people who I’ve “collected” mainly from work encounters] ;
c) to engage with family and REAL friends in a more closed (dare I even say safe) environment using photos and videos as the trigger for engagement.

As a consequence, I was then able …
d) to reduce my time on Fb to that of just a quick glance to see what friends were up to, comment and perhaps send them an invite to G+;
e) to make my contributions on twitter to be either i) trivial and light-hearted banter – yes, I know … but social can mean that too, or ii) informative in the sense of sharing links, publicising blog posts, etc, or iii) just being friendly.

Either way my twitter follows will shrink over time I suspect (as will my tweets), and my Fb friends have already shrunk in terms of the ones that appear on my newsfeed. In passing, I guess it’ll be the API that determines the success of Google+. If it allows thoughtful integration of streams without adding to the noise then I’ll be a happy bunny.

Google+ does it for me big time!