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This Week Explore What It Means to Communicate Responsibly
- Use social media and online forums only in ways that represent your best self — honest, kind, compassionate, supportive, etc.
- Some examples: Post things you find funny or uplifting, share honestly what’s going on in your life (even if you’re sad), skip the opportunities to join conversations that typically end in arguments or hurt feelings, or say something supportive to someone rather than just choosing an emoji response.
- If you don’t use social media or online forums, consider this practice in the context of your text messages and email.
- Score the practice as a “yes” if your use of electronic communications is “best self” all day.
Watch this video for an explanation of this Well-Being Practice from Whole Life Challenge co-founders Andy Petranek and Michael Stanwyck.
Why Is This Practice Important?
Technology and social media are here to stay. And in spite of all the lamenting that we’re too connected — to work, to the curated intimacies of people’s lives, to anyone who wants to reach out and touch us — most of us can’t simply let it all go. It is the way the world currently works, and instead of denying that, it’s probably best to decide how we want to communicate responsibly for ourselves.
The problem is this: it can be a real challenge for us to see the person on the receiving end of an electronic communication the same way we see someone face-to-face. These kinds of communications are almost anonymous. As a result, there can be a terseness or flippancy to our messages.
Keyboards are too small for our fumbling thumbs and few of us are as good at expressing ourselves in writing as we are when we talk, if simply because context is so hard to create without expression (and, no, emojis don’t cut it). Maybe worst of all, it’s so easy for us to slip in and out of a conversation that we can become thoughtless about what we can and do contribute to our interactions (for “better” or “worse”).
If we all treated our electronic communication with the same degree of awareness that we treat our in-person interactions, we might find they begin to contain more thoughtfulness and authenticity. Therefore, this week’s practice is an exercise in not letting electronics tell us how we communicate, but to use electronics to communicate exactly the way we want to.
P.S. For more on how our interactions with our community can have a tremendous (positive or negative) impact on our lives, listen to Andy’s podcast with Philip Folsom — an expert in leadership development, human optimization, and high-performance teams.