Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Social Media: What is your relationship to it?

I don't know about you, but I am often conflicted about social media.  Lori Deschene, has written a brilliant piece that helps me be more mindful about my use of social media.

1. Know your intentions.
Doug Firebaugh of SocialMediaBlogster.com has identified seven psychological needs we may be looking to meet when we log on: acknowledgment, attention, approval, appreciation, acclaim, assurance, and inclusion. Before you post, ask yourself: Am I looking to be seen or validated? Is there something more constructive I could do to meet that need?

2. Be your authentic self. 
In the age of personal branding, most of us have a persona we’d like to develop or maintain. Ego-driven tweets focus on an agenda; authenticity communicates from the heart. Talk about the things that really matter to you. If you need advice or support, ask for it. It’s easier to be present when you’re being true to yourself.

3. If you propose to tweet, always ask yourself: Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind? 
Sometimes we post thoughts without considering how they might impact our entire audience. It’s easy to forget how many friends are reading. Two hundred people make a crowd in person, but online that number can seem insignificant. Before you share, ask yourself: is there anyone this might harm?

4. Offer random tweets of kindness.
Every now and then I ask on Twitter, “Is there anything I can do to help or support you today?” It’s a simple way to use social media to give without expectations of anything in return. By reaching out to help a stranger, you create the possibility of connecting personally with followers you may have otherwise known only peripherally.

5. Experience now, share later.
It’s common to snap a picture with your phone and upload it to Facebook or email it to a friend. This overlaps the experience of being in a moment and sharing it. It also minimizes intimacy, since your entire audience joins your date or gathering in real time. Just as we aim to reduce our internal monologues to be present, we can do the same with our digital narration.

6. Be active, not reactive.
You may receive email updates whenever there is activity on one of your social media accounts, or you might have your cell phone set to give you these types of alerts. This forces you to decide many times throughout the day whether you want or need to respond. Another approach is to choose when to join the conversation, and to use your offline time to decide what value you have to offer.

7. Respond with your full attention.
People often share links without actually reading them, or comment on posts after only scanning them. If the greatest gift we can give someone is our attention, then social media allows us to be endlessly generous. We may not be able to reply to everyone, but responding thoughtfully when we can makes a difference.

8. Use mobile social media sparingly.
In 2009, Pew Research found that 43 percent of cell phone users access the Web on their devices several times a day. It’s what former Microsoft employee Linda Stone refers to as continuous partial attention—when you frequently sign on to be sure you don’t miss out anything. If you choose to limit your cell phone access, you may miss out online, but you won’t miss what’s in front of you.

9. Practice letting go.
It may feel unkind to disregard certain updates or tweets, but we need downtime to be kind to ourselves. Give yourself permission to let yesterday’s stream go. This way you won’t need to “catch up” on updates that have passed but instead can be part of today’s conversation.

10. Enjoy social media!
These are merely suggestions to feel present and purposeful when utilizing social media, but they aren’t hard-and-fast rules. Follow your own instincts and have fun with it. If you’re mindful when you’re disconnected from technology, you have all the tools you need to be mindful when you go online.

Lori Deschene is the founder of @TinyBuddha on Twitter and tinybuddha.com, a multi-author blog that features wisdom and stories from people all over the world.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

What is Your Social Imagination?

Our social imagination is based on how we 'imagine' the world. It is based on how we 'perceive' the world and how we envision or want to see the world. How we see is based on the images that we grew up with, surround ourselves with, like, dislike and internalize.
Today, we watch as Egyptian re-imagined themselves. Due to travel, the internet, and social networking, we have more images now of how the world looks and could look, than we ever have. How has that altered your own personal social imagination? As we all imagine ourselves living forward, what is your own image of how you 'see' the world and want to 'see' the world?
This week I am at our home on Denman Island B.C. For over twenty years we lived in the Gulf Islands on the West Coast of Canada. We have lived in Europe, Australia, and traveled through many other countries, but when I imagine a peaceful, healthy, and sustainable world, it looks  a lot like where I am now. In my imagination there would be old growth forests, ocean, moss, and fresh air.
How are you imaginng the world?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Therapeutic Thursday: Using Art to Help Change Children's Identity

When I was an Art Therapist working in the school system, I wanted to give the children I worked with a chance to be seen differently by their teachers and peers. They had been labeled as ‘bad, disruptive, lazy, mean, hyper.’ I knew a different side to these children. They were smart, creative, inventive and energetic.  I created a program called Acts of Art, which saw each child take on the role of knower and expert. They taught their classes art lessons. This put each of the children in a position with their peers, and their teacher, that they had not experienced or perceived prior to this. “Imagination is fed by perception and perception by sensibility and sensibility by artistic cultivation. With refined sensibility, the scope of perception is enlarged. With enlarged perception, the resources that feed our imaginative life are increased” (Eisner, 1991). Each of the children were able to play at, and imagine themselves in a role other than the one they had been playing in their day-to-day experience. In turn their classroom peers reciprocated in their new perception of them as expert, as teacher, and as artist. Through the process of art the child changed her/his story; the child engaged in the transformation of self-identity; I am an artist. Of all human capabilities “imagination is the one that permits us to give credence to alternative realities. It allows us to break with the taken for granted, to set aside familiar distinctions and definitions” (Greene, 1995).
                        Of all the children who participated in Acts of Art all but one demonstrated improved positive self-perception. Teachers’ reported, based on informal class observations and anecdotal records, that the child’s behaviours and interactions with classmates, and classmates interactions with the child, showed continued improvement from after the Acts of Art to the end of the school year.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Therapeutic Thursday: Letting the Images Speak

It has been a crazy week. So much going on, so many expectations and so many demands. But, when I think of the wonderful progress that my clients have made, I can smile. Here is the last week in pictures.This is the work of some of the adults and children that I work with.


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