Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Responses to Self-Care, Mindfulness and Social Media chat 3/7/11

I thoroughly enjoyed the web chat on social media featuring Jennifer Louden , Tara Sophia Mohr, Marianne Elliott, and Bridget Pilloud. Tara Gentile moderated.

Some of the themes which especially resonated with me were:

A mindful approach to what I post and share:

- Jen said that she considers, before posting material, “what’s the conversation” “what’s the context” “who am I” “what do I represent,” all pointing towards “mindfully sharing.” I take this to mean posting, sharing something that will contribute to a discussion, that will pointto a useful resource, something given toward serving someone else. She also creates an intention and sets a timer before she engages with social media, and while using it she pays attention to what is going on with her (emotional, mental, physical states,) adjusts accordingly and aims to “share strength and upbeatness,” rather than the contrary.

- Bridget described her mindful approach saying if she is feeling “equally excited and scared when” putting “something out there,” that is when she feels most real, that she describes as authenticity.

- Marianne spoke of “getting grounded before I start” and referred to “limitless qualities of social media,” and that “the body and mind are not accustomed to entering into such a place.” Her techniques include “drop into my body” “relax and release” “bring awareness into my body” (feeling her body being present, her breath and her body sitting and whatever is holding her up) (she also mentioned her Zenpeacekeeper’s guide to Twitter, sounds cool.)

- Tara brought forth insights about the addictive qualities of social media, likening these sites to computer games, noting they deliver similar rewards and feedback and affect dopamine levels. While Twitter and Facebook may not be designed for addiction, they are certainly meant to be engaging, she pointed out, and it is up to us “to be conscious of how we respond” to these networks and “manage” our responses. She also described her approach to posting material "consistent with compassionate and wisdom," and remarked "less is more" and about the importance of "white space."

A lot of the discussion also centered around engaging with others on social media. Here, Tara said, it is necessary to ask oneself “why am I going to social media,” and if one is “looking for validation and reassurance… Twitter may not be the best place to find it.” (In which case, better to pick up the phone or go visit someone or go where people are. Although in the café or the library people will likely be engaged in social media.) Bridget said it is OK to "think of social media like your house," and consider who you want to invite in and not. Jen urged us to ask ourselves the question "why do you want to talk to someone," and to "create our own fishbowl," connect and share with others with like interests who support our efforts.

I admit to being sucked into Twitter and Google Reader and I want to read everyone's tweets and blogs, and obviously it's not possible. And I have to have a certain degree of acceptance with that, and also accept that people are busy. And I was reminded during the talk, maybe by Bridget, there has be a certain give and take. What do I offer someone on social media? How can I support this person? Why would she/he care?

And applying the awareness and the patience and the mindfulness and the presence and the enjoyment and the gratitude that I apply at other moments in my life will go a long way. If I can step back from the computer. If I can know when to post and when to keep silent. If I can "do the work," as Tara says, actually produce something. And just breathe. And have an intention. And be here now.

A great discussion by wonderful, thoughtful, energetic, positive women who each have a powerful presence in Twitter and the blogosphere. Thanks to all for making this happen.