Friday, March 04, 2011

Sticks & Chisels 3.1

Image: Kyle Key via
Without interaction, social media is basically pointless. Dare I say it... "Like so much other media!" Without the give and take and sharing of opinions, social media is just a bunch of introverted narcissists staring deeply into their own mirrors. Blogs are one part of the social media parcel. This blog, for example - I started it, I write it, I am responsible for it. But I don't want this blog to just be me spouting my opinions & collected thoughts. That's what books are for, right? Just kidding authors! A blog is completed (or maybe fulfilled would be a better word) by the thoughts of a community sharing perspectives. But there are some obstacles to that sort of interaction online. Here are several:

  • Fear of Broaching Boundaries - We are afraid to say something wrong. Is there a different etiquette to online interactions? It seems some people lose all sense of civility when digitally interfacing. We know we don't want to be those people, but we're not quite sure where the line is, so we just stay quiet. If this is you, step out a little bit. Don't be a jerk, but share your thoughts.
  • Fear of Exposure - We're afraid to reveal something about ourselves to people we don't know. A colleague recently stepped into the realm of facebook, very reluctantly. He'd been afraid that specters from his past would arise to cloud the respect & relationships of today. It was great to see those fears assuaged a couple days ago as he connected with a long-distance grandson he loves like crazy. Remember that the internet is a very public place and not every detail of your life needs to be shouted from the rooftop - but really being known in relationship requires taking the risk of letting someone close enough to see our faults.
  • Technological Roadblocks - Sometimes, we just can't figure out how to comment the way we want to. I know this has been a problem here. I get e-mails often from some of you who wanted to comment, but had a hard time navigating the comment section. While I've tried to make it easy, the system doesn't always work. And if I make it too easy, the comments can quickly become a dumping ground for all kinds of unwanted junk. I'm actually looking at a couple options to make this easier - possibly installing a different commenting system in the template if I can figure that out, or moving the blog altogether to another service with easier commenting.

What other boundaries do you see to connecting online?

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