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ANTISOCIAL MEDIA – The Risk of Relying on Social Media to Communicate

ANTISOCIAL MEDIA –  The Risk of Relying on Social Media to Communicate

8063 Dave Neely, Class of 69, Speakers Series

In my last article, I listed the names of the Old 18.  Although I have been able to recall them for all of these years, I suddenly realized for the first time that there were two of them with a last name of Davis.   I haven’t been able to determine whether they were related, so if you know, please get back to me at dneely10@cogeco.ca.

I am an old school trainer, coach and communicator.  The early part of my career, when I left RMC, was spent as an IBM Service person, a trainer and ultimately a professional consultant before the internet even existed.  I grew up dealing with people face to face or on the phone.  All of that experience and training has helped me to understand that effective communication has three major components, namely that 55% of communication is body language, 38% is the tone of voice, and 7% is the actual words spoken. It seems apparent to me that Social Media communication using words alone can hardly be effective. In fact, it can be dangerous if the words are not carefully chosen or are misinterpreted by the receiver. Have you ever heard of a Twitter message which was misconstrued in a negative fashion by others?  A good example is the addiction to emotional Twitter messages by the current US president.

What’s Good About Social Media and Today’s Technology?

While some may be addicted to their social media networks, it still one of the best ways to stay informed. Major news outlets, corporations, and persons of interest use social media to deliver messages to the masses. With items posting immediately, the public stays informed. Some issues cause controversy, but social media does more good than harm in retrospect. It is a good way to share and receive information, however that often is only 7% of communication as I mentioned earlier.

What do some Technical Giants do about it?

The following information came from an interesting article on the subject which I felt was worth sharing. Coincidentally, I found it using a Google search. Melinda Gates’s children don’t have smartphones and only use a computer in the kitchen. Her husband Bill, the Microsoft co-founder, spends hours in his office reading books while everyone else is refreshing their homepage. The most sought-after private school in Silicon Valley, the Waldorf School of the Peninsula, bans technical devices for the under-11s and teaches the children of eBay, Apple, Uber and Google staff to make go-karts, knit and cook. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg wants his daughters to read Dr Seuss books and play outside rather than use Messenger Kids. Steve Jobs’s children had strict limits on how much technology they used at home. Someone said it this way “The more money you make out of the tech industry, the more you appear to shield your family from its effects.”

In a June 2018 interview with The Mirror, Bill Gates explained some of his parental rules when it came to technology use by his children: “We often set a time after which there is no screen time and in their case that helps them get to sleep at a reasonable hour. “You’re always looking at how it can be used in a great way – homework and staying in touch with friends – and also where it has gotten to excess. “We don’t have cellphones at the table when we are having a meal, we didn’t give our kids cellphones until they were 14 and they complained other kids got them earlier.”

The impact of our obsession with hand held devices.

A recent experience was the catalyst for this article. I booked several appointments with a local chiropractor to help me with some back issues.  Every time I went to an appointment, I was in the waiting room with at least 10 others and every single one of them except for me was using a hand held device. They were not talking or even making eye contact with each other. It was as if they had forgotten how to communicate face to face with each other. I was the sole exception because I refuse to use my cellphone unless it is an emergency. I have never learned how to use twitter and cannot send a message for the life of me. As a result, I have and always will have the preference and ability to communicate with others in a  face to face manner whenever possible  I believe that for future generations, they may never gain this skill or comfort level – they may become truly antisocial. In fact, the youngest generation which is called Generation Z, has grown up on the internet using social media more than any other generation.  I believe in my heart that they will need to become more sociable or we will all be in trouble.

What can we do?

In the same way that Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs have set up ground rules for their children, we can set limitations both at work and at home in order to achieve more personal social interaction with others.  It is time to start having this conversation. What can you do?

As far as the Chiropractor’s waiting room was concerned, in my most recent visit after writing the draft for this Post, I decided to start a conversation with anyone who looked me in the eye and was not focused on their cell phone. It worked like a charm and I might have even made a good connection with one man who is teaching construction skills for federal convicts.  He agreed to share my Coping Strategies information with the decision makers at the prison.  More importantly, I made a connection with some nice people.

In Summary

Isn’t it time for everyone to have more face to face communication? What can or will you do differently?

I hope this note helps you to think about more effective communication strategies in your world.  If you need clarification feel free to email me at dneely10@cogeco.ca

8063 Dave Neely

Class of 1969