Social distancing, and social media. The words we use the most right now…
To start with, the physical distancing is not social distancing.
How do I know that? Because of the deeper connections I experience every single day online, as I doing the world tour every day. Literally every day from Kenya to Russia, from Japan to USA, from Dubai to Australia, name it, I am blessed to connect with clients, friends, partners every single day. Deep, meaningful, and beautiful connections.
I am forever grateful not to the coronavirus in itself as I am aware of the tragedy linked to it, but for the consequences and these amazing times that offered to me. I love that in one of the talks I was having when someone mentioned the coronavirus is not a disaster it is a virus. The consequences of it could be a disaster. As I’m not a science person I cannot argue or express on the virus itself, yet one of the things that made me reflect about it is the tragedy of deaths and the celebration of life that happen in the same time. Almost like a reminder of what life is all about, about our own mortality, about our own time on earth, about our own decisions, about our own life experience, and about our own power.
We don’t know much, and yet we can do so much.
We may not know how and what created or spread the virus, and at the same time maybe we don’t need to know. I mean I trust the scientists, the virologists, the doctors will assess that, and they will gather the answers and the actions to follow. What I mean by not needing to know, is that without a clear knowledge in virology I will not become an expert overnight, so I’ll have/chose to trust the experts. In the same way I don’t know how the TV works and I can still enjoy watching it. I don’t need to know everything to have a beautiful life experience. And I choose to trust others that are experts in their fields as this is how the humanity evolves.
Besides, me trying to understand by myself will take a long time in absence of specific skills, competences, knowledge a science person has. Secondly it will not necessarily bring the right answers, or answers that are strong enough to be relevant. Finally, it will just take me away from other things that I may know how to do, where I have more skills and experience and to put my entire effort in area I could contribute more and have more relevance. The beauty of interdependence is that seeing the planet as a group of individuals, we can specialize within the group so we can have different knowledge and each of us to contribute to a higher humanity knowledge.
Moreover, as I may not have the relevant skills and information, all that may happen is for me to be or feel overwhelmed and therefore a feeling of losing control, which goes into panic and so forth. And panic is what will take away from my own capability of taking decision and of acting and growing.
Learning how to think, learning how to understand and translate information, being able to create an opinion and a thinking process based on relevant information, relevant questions, that is what may need to happen.
Now what is the main issue here? Why people are not trusting what they see or hear
First: in an area of available, easy to access and free information there is not more discipline of research, people want to have answers fast and therefore they go on Google for anything. And while I am sooo grateful for Google to make available tons of information, there is an issue with the quality of information available. The problem is not that the information that there is not accurate exists, the problem is that we are not trained nor patient enough to check and pick what may be relevant.
Second is that one of the most beautiful and needed profession is dying nowadays. I refer to journalism, journalism is technically a way of presenting facts in an objective way so people can have access to information. Journalism nowadays becomes personal opinions, scandal sells, and whatever a celebrity eats seems much more relevant than real society issues. A journalist nowadays shows the side of the story he/she believes in, in the best of the case, or the one that sells in most of the cases. A journalist nowadays will come fast with a story, without taking months and months of documentation and research and inquiry on a topic. That’s one of the saddest things today. And of course, this is not for every journalist yet those high professional ones tend to be more the exception than the norm.
Thirdly, we are or technically can be social medial all of us. Each of us can be his own television, his own editing company, his own radio station, his own newspaper.
• I can publish my own book on amazon, no matter how relevant that content is or not (editing house)
• I can do my own podcast, and say whatever I want no matter how relevant it is or not (radio station)
• I can do my own youtube channel no matter how relevant it is or not (television station)
• I can write and publish articles on my own blog in whatever topics no matter the knowledge I have or not (newspaper)
And that can be accessed by anyone. Anyone can see my tv station, listen to my radio station, read my newspaper, and my books. Anyone, no matter where they are in the world. That gives so much power when we think about it. All it takes is the right level of marketing, and knowledge on how to make people click on it.
Now while that is amazing and in so many ways, a treasure in itself, it is also one of the most dangerous things in the current context:
• It is enough to know how to do it and it can be used in a very dangerous way
• Even when it starts with a good heart and good intention, the information could not only be absolutely wrong but also having a very bad influence on people
• Most people not only don’t take time to assess but they don’t even know how to do it. Because we no longer teach kids ethics or philosophy or debates, or rhetoric etc etc. We no longer help people developing their own thinking ability. Questioning, doubting, looking for more information before reaching a conclusion or an opinion. And evolve those opinions after.
• Most people think that if they have a sad story and they manage to overcome it, it will be the same for anyone who will copy paste their experience. Which is far for being the truth.
• Most people think that applying a solution which has somehow provided a level of results for themselves will provide the same for others. Which is obviously not working.
• Most people will just be led by their own ego and showing off, versus taking a step back and ask what is the relevance of what am I saying and for whom.
How do I know all these? Is because I spend my life talking with people who want to grow and succeed. And who have read a lot and who have tried a lot, and they are still not there. Why, because if it was working we all would have been happy and wealthy and successful. And the majority of people are not.
Social media today is not necessary having the role it could have. And we are all responsible for it.
Of course a lot of things are happening now online. And I could not be more grateful for it. But how responsible are we for what we publish. And even for what or who we follow.
One of my dearest friends Shen Lim, who is a co-founder of Cool Japon TV is talking about the 4 profiles we could have on social media: the follower, the expert, the influencer and the business influencer. And is nothing wrong to be in any of these cases. Or to have a different profile depending on different parts of our life. But that is for another post.
Basically and without caricaturizing too much, most people will be followers, they have a social media account and go on social media to follow other people. They just get the information, hours and hours on Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, Tik Tok whatever. To a point where now they realize it is even toxic as they don’t even know what happen with their time. While others are alive and living most people are just following the life of a handful of people on social media. With all the consequences that follows. The expert is the one that goes on social media and assess different channels and information trying to understand more and have more perspectives on what is happening there instead of taking for granted everything. They will probably be more selective in terms of who they follow. After we have an influencer, which means someone who has a community, an influencer is someone who has followers and who puts content over there more or less systematically. Now the things is that those that are influencers are not necessary those who have the knowledge or things to share (and I am not saying they are all like this) just those who understand how the system works and take advantage of it. Those who want followers and likes. The more the better. No matter why, no matter the purpose. And after we have the business influencers those who have a system, who put a lot of content in a very systematic way. Usually the people who understood how to use social media to monetize it, like a business, but overall who have enough content to create a trend, a direction. And I have to say some are doing a great job, Gary Vee being one of them for example.
Now why is that dangerous and what is the point of this article.
The danger comes from overall a lack of discernment. Instead of using information to grow our brains, we use less our brains when on social media and therefore reducing its function over all. The same we overuse our emotions, we generally connect from the loneliness of our own screen, and compare. And believe what is said as the ultimate truth, we believe that they, the others all have an amazing life, and love, and joy and happiness, and we are the only one left out. A lot of depression, and deeper mental disorder may result or some even proves it happens already. But overall is a source of sadness as people no longer make the effort of connection, while this is how the social media started. And then it goes into a lack of actions, a lack of going outside and watch the sky, instead of watching a picture of the sunset someone posted. A danger of not meeting someone because is more comfortable and safe to meet them from afar. Etc etc
Now while I write this we are still in lockdown and I am very much aware that not everything is possible now. And this is exactly my point. The danger is what the social media is or can became tomorrow out of fear, after overdoing it for 2 months or so. And in the same time what an amazing beautiful powerful opportunity we all have here.
The coronavirus imposed physical distancing and an increase usage of media, online, etc. that was what most probably saved the most of us, and I am forever grateful. It is today my bread and butter in so many ways.
And I want to encourage all of us to take that power. And to be responsible. And to grow together in this new era of social media and online. And while the online and virtual space will continue to increase, to also make the effort when the lockdown ends to not stay by default in your own media cocoon. And dare to go outside… But that’s for another article.
And if you wonder how to increase your power, let me share with you the 5 powers of social media and why this is in your hands today
1. The power of authenticity: we all want to be successful on social media, I get it, and it’s respectful and understandable. The reality is we all have a huge responsibility while being on media. And there is no secret, the more authentic we are, the more successful we are, including on social media; we don’t have to be more of someone else to get that, all we need to do is to be more of ourselves in that space as well. Think about of a day to day situation, you’ll finally get the ones that are lying or pretending and you want to stay away from them. It is the same on social media. Take a little bit of distance: who do you follow and why,… and whatever you put out there, be yourself and the your tribe will see it. You don’t have to be in a specific way to have or win friends. It’s by being yourself that friends will come.
2. The power of persistence: like everything in life it takes time to build any relation. And social media is a relation. There is nothing that happens over night with no effort, and if it does go viral chances are it disappears as fast as it came. The persistence means you showing up, authentically no matter what. No matter if you are sick, no matter if you are sad, no matter if you have issues, no matter what. Because on social media just like in life this is what happens. We are sick or sad or down and we still go to work, and we still live, and we still do things. So the same in social media, including sharing when you have a bad day instead of putting a fake content about how great all things are, or not even putting a content because you no longer have the energy. The persistence is doing it for yourself and for your followers, even if those come in small or very small numbers. Persistence means you believe in what you are doing. And believing in what you want is the first step to achieving it.
3. The power of sharing: I so love when people share. I guess it was one of the core values I got from my family and from growing up in not the wealthiest country or environment and I speak a lot about it. I am grateful I was born there. Is the value of sharing that anyone finds in these types of societies? And when you go to social media, this is exactly the same. Sharing! Think back of the power of sharing. What do you share? Do you share what you have extra, do you share what is the less quality? What do you share in your social media and why is the same with what do you share in life… There is this saying that rich people give and poor people share. Are you sharing to show off, or are you sharing because you care, because of who you are and what you stand for. I can go for ages on this one, hope you got the point
4. The power of caring : that’s one of the daily reflection I have form my dear teacher Geshe Tenzin Damchoe. He is asking is caring a sharing or is sharing a caring?Caring means that it is not just a technical action, you push a key on a phone or computer, anonymously from the safety of your home. Detaching like we are not humans, like robots instead of we just use a machine, a tool. Caring means connecting back to us humans using this tool, using this machine. Caring means paying attention, taking time, going deeper. Caring on social media means reflecting twice between hitting a like button, caring means taking time to leave a comment, when you have something to say, and add, and most of us we do have after reflecting on it. Caring means contributing. Caring means take time to share and say publicly thank you to someone who did something for you and you benefit from it. Caring means giving credit. It does not take anything away from us, is actually quite the contrary. And it is even working from an algorithm point of view.
5. The power of detachment : probably one of the most important power we all have. This means to not post in order to be obsessed by views and likes. To switch off social media, to not make it our life. And to not be attached tothe result of it. Doing it authentically, persistently, and things will happen. Enjoy the journey without worrying about the result, be a responsible leader, contributor, and human in your life and in social media; that’s not another space that is our space, and our reality. It is not virtual, it is real even more real than ever today.
I trust we can all make a difference. And I thank you for taking the steps towards it. When we know better we do better. That is all. When we think back on why social media started, and life in general, we see there is a different more responsible and beautiful way of living and a richer life experience, let’s celebrate social media by using and experiencing it as much as we do with life, going back to the basics, going back to the core values, and deep connections.