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Social Media is not Just for Your Shiny Parts

I often see things on social media that enrage me – I try not to respond to them in the moment, because if I do my energy gets sucked down to the level of sh*t that I am reading and I end up using the word f*ck far more than I should.

But they do sow a seed in my mind and I often go off and have a think about them for a few days and then I come back and try to write something with more depth and breadth than ‘f*ck’, which can challenge and hopefully drive positive changes.

This week’s enraging comments were on LinkedIn, for those of you that may have been living in a time bubble that’s one of the worlds leading social networking sites, primarily aimed at the world of business – well it was when it was launched back in 2003, which may have well have been during the last century based on the amount of technological and cultural changes we have seen in the last 20 years or so.

My rage came from the hypocrisy and ignorance of some of the unbelievably ill-thought-out, or even more worryingly well thought out comments that people leave on posts and that can do so much harm to a society that is suffering from a mental health crisis and is slowly but surely trying to encourage people to embrace their vulnerability, show up as their whole selves and to stop letting others judgements, opinions or expectations dictate their life, as we know this results in low self-esteem, a feeling of isolation and ‘oddness’ leading to a perceived inability to belong, which then drives even higher levels of mental and emotional health challenges – can you see the vicious circle?

The comments in question were left on a pretty innocent and certainly to me, the inoffensive post of an animal lover trying to encourage people to take more time to look after animals (which research shows is really good for our mental health) and in the process offer some practical advice on how to do so. Now, even if you had found such a post offensive (I’m not sure how, but then neither do I understand why people pay thousands of dollars to go off and shoot beautiful wild animals and then post pictures of their sickening conquests on social media), why would you spend what precious time you have leaving a comment which actually brings more attention to the post, therefore perhaps doing some good and at the same time making you look like a complete arse? Surely you could just continue scrolling, disconnect or mute the post instead, wouldn’t that be more practical and cause less angst?

But sadly I do see this all of the time  – rude comments left which do nothing to add value to the subject in question, but everything to show the world that the person leaving the comment clearly has a lot of issues that need addressing and have decided that social media seems a good place to vent, as a) you cannot see the person you are venting at therefore it’s ok to act in an inhumane way b) you do you have to take accountability for the wounds your vent will inflict and c) you can get things off your chest without ever having to deal with their root cause, therefore ensuring you can become a serial venter with no apparent consequences (apart from the trauma and wounds deeply buried in their psyche slowly festering and making them pretty miserable and angry a lot of the time).

And thinking about it, it’s not just on social media that I see this kind of behaviour, it’s also on the TV, the news, etc. By far one of the worst interviews that I ever saw (that probably set feminism back 50 years), was when Cathy Newman interviewed Jordon Peterson on Channel 4. She was incredibly aggressive, completely out of her league intellectually, and clearly triggered at a deep emotional level by the facts and evidence that Jordon Peterson was presenting. To his credit, he remained calm and true to his points no matter what she threw at him. I cannot imagine any other profession where you could act like she did to another human being and not face serious consequences – in short, she was a bully and an ignorant one at that, in a nutshell, I was embarrassed to be represented by her as a woman and I suspect many others were too, ironically had she stopped ranting long enough to actually listen, she may have discovered that Jordan Peterson actually had some truly insightful, evidence-based information that may well go a significant way to helping reduce the inequality between men and women in the workplace, rather than her assumption of the opposite. Anyway, rant over, I’m digressing somewhat but if you do get a chance to watch the interview I would recommend doing so if only to learn how not to treat your fellow human beings  – the link is below:

So, back to the comments on social media that have triggered me – and yes I do get the irony that I am writing about this given the fact that I am challenging damaging and negative comments, and yet I am perhaps writing some of my own. But the difference is that I believe that any comment or indeed posts themselves should always adhere to 3 basic rules:

1. They must be respectful and offer a way to move our thinking forward;

2. The post/comment must add value in some way – for example by adding a new perspective, helping people to pause for thought or inspiring a new idea; and

3. They must be honest, authentic, and true.

Therefore if I see a something that triggers a reaction in me, whether that be good or bad, I do take some time, I do think about it, I do try to understand what it is that it has triggered in me, why has it triggered something in me, is what I am feeling true or is it just my ego having a tantrum, how can I challenge it and at the same time move the thinking on and perhaps most importantly, is it really worth me spending my most precious commodity on it – that being my time.

Now, after thinking this through and holding myself accountable for these very important questions, if I still feel that whatever it needs to be said, then I say it, because not saying something or challenging something because of fear, or judgement, or being a lone wolf, is perhaps one of the most dangerous paths human beings can ever take.

So, I take my time, write my piece, speak my truth and check my grammar, which is exactly what I did this morning and after writing my first post, my passion, my need to challenge the issues was still were not sated, so I wrote another and here they are below for your perusal.

I do hope that by sharing them, they will inspire others to speak their truth, to challenge the status quo, and to find the courage to be the change we all need to be.

Post 1

I saw some comments on a post the other day about LinkedIn being a professional platform and therefore asking people not to post about non-business-related stuff. I responded and then deleted it. I deleted it because my response was angry and not that well-articulated, therefore it would not have had any impact, I would have just come over as a bit of an arse.

But today those comments are still p*ssing me off, so I am posting about why that is.

Originally (way back in 2003), LinkedIn was set up as a social networking site aimed at the business community, so first and foremost it was about social networking because that’s what makes us humans tick – connection but also business as that’s where the money is. And then, the nature of business began to change, the world became global, competition increased, the digital revolution woke us all up and there was a massive cultural shift in people’s mindset towards work, life, and play.

The days of spending your whole career with only one organisation became outdated and people began to have choices such as not having to stay in toxic, underpaid, and soul-destroying organisations. We also started to understand the importance of inclusion, diversity, equality and our need for psychologically safe environments and how they hadn’t actually been that safe thus far.

Nik Davis
Nik Davishttps://nikdavis.com/
NIK DAVIS is a business transformation expert and has spent 20 years in the corporate world. Her comfort zone is order, logic and applying analytical tools to solve complex problems. She is also a keen observer of life, a writer and eccentric. Nik has recently returned to the world of work after taking a career break to spend time with her family. Upon her return, she found that her perspective had changed, as had the world she was returning to. Nik decided to carve out a new place in that world and mould some of it to fit her too. Nik sees life from quirky angles, shaped by experiences and the vast amount of knowledge we now have access to. She likes to write about her experiences and observations. To ‘tell it how it is’ and to find a more authentic way to live, whether in our professional or personal lives. Nik often talks about finding ‘The Third Way’. It’s a philosophy about life, having a personal life as well as a career, making money and being socially generous, being logical and sensitive, living by the rules of a society but not being afraid to challenge them, inspiring others to feel good but not for your own ego, giving rather than taking. Nik wants to make a difference to this world by getting people to see things differently, to try new ways of working but most of all, to re-discover our true selves and therefore reach our true potential. Nik also has two other persona’s: nikdavis which is where Nik writes about her deeply personal experiences of life. Nik runs a facebook group alongside this website to create a safe place for people to discuss the topics that are raised in her blog. Nik’s second persona is Lilly Isabella and this is where she shares her passion of fashion and design.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Nik
    I’ve been on LinkedIn since 2003 and I’ve noticed the change from business, to business adjacent, to anything all the time, Truthfully, I don’t really like the chnges, but I always have the choice not to read stories about recipes or political rants.

    I also come at business from “slightly quirky angles” so I’m perhaps forgiving of quirk.

    I do wish for more respect and less mean-spiritedness in life in general including social media, but I’m just working on myself -where I’m most likely to have an impact.

    Thanks for the YouTube clip. I will have a look at some Jordan Peterson YouTube lectures as I’d like to hear his argument without the hectoring which makes his point of view harder to follow. In general I do think men (including me, even at almost 75) could grow up a little. Perhaps some women could as well.

    I think we’re spending too much time on “social” media at the expense of actually being “social” and perhaps to the detriment of society. It is fashionable to blame it on Covid isolation or the working from home and all-the-time phenomenon or in my case retirement, but we’ve let it enter and dominate our life.
    Now I’m going to walk the dog, which is my second venture into the real world today.
    Thanks
    Alan

    • While I agree with you that social media shouldn’t take the place of 3D social activities, Alan, I see a huge contribution to widening the horizon of many of us by having honest discussions with people we were not likely to meet in 3D. I have chosen to be a member of this platform for exactly that reason.

      And I so enjoy that people don’t just show up in their shiny bits. That creates a space where I may belong and not just try to fit in – or more likely not feel safe and thus not be willing to try to fit in. Should Linkedin give more room for that, more power to them. They are opening the space and it is up to the brave to claim it – the timid/ anal/ angry/ fearful need role models.

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