What About Social Media & Hazardous Waste?

After many years of sitting on the sidelines of our publishing platform, I’m very pleased to now launch my own Column, entirely focused on brief,  casual commentary and observations under the umbrella of “slice of life” perspectives. Why the above image? Well, we chose it to set the stage for light-hearted discussion where we don’t take everything too seriously. No rhyme or reason or underlying quest here – just my way of sharing thoughts and (hopefully) engaging directly with each of you. Each step of the way, I invite you to “Ponder” along with me. 

The sound of a siren increased to an ear-piercing level as the emergency vehicle sped by. Its flashing lights glared through my windshield, illuminating the words “hazardous waste” printed on the side of the truck. No doubt it was racing to the scene of an accidental spill in hopes of containing the damage and protecting the local residents from harm. Not long after this episode, I began to wonder just how many hazardous waste leaks happen around us every day, in the form of “harsh or critical” words encountered on social media. Without question, there appears to be a lot of “negative bias” out there, as mentioned within a recent article by Melissa Hughes; Pass the Turkey, Survive the Politics.

All of this caused me to ponder a few questions, starting with – What would happen if sirens blared every time a harsh or critical word “leaked” out of someone’s mouth via their social media stream?

  • Am I wrong to suspect that it might become rather noisy around us all these days?
  • Is it true that so many topics are “off-limits” because our society is so polarized that a civil, constructive, open-minded conversation is impossible? Is this why social media engagement has continued on a steep decline in recent years?
  • Are folks generally respectful & constructive or just the opposite?
  • Is it true that people are bolder and braver via their keyboard versus up close and personal?
  • What have you experienced?

Ponder the above along with me for just a moment. And then please take a moment to share your thoughts below …

Dennis J. Pitocco
Dennis J. Pitoccohttps://www.bizcatalyst360.com/
Dennis is the Founder, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of our award-winning life, culture, and business new media digest, With an emphasis on action, our amazing writers empower people to transcend from knowing what to do to actually doing it. We are fueled by extraordinary thought leadership authored by some of the best and brightest minds from around the world. Today and every day, we simply deliver the very best Insights, Intelligence & Inspiration available anywhere. Period. More ABOUT US. He is also Founder & Chief Encouragement Officer of GoodWorks 360°, our affiliated global nonprofit social impact enterprise, dedicated to providing mission-critical pro bono services to good nonprofits worldwide. Connect with him on Linkedin to learn more about his background. Dennis is a contributing author to the Best-Selling Book Chaos to Clarity: Sacred Stories of Transformational Change.
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Len Bernat
Len Bernat

First, so glad you have thrown your hat in the ring to provide a regular column. You have supported the authors on this forum for so long and now we can support you. And a great topic to get us started. Since my social media interaction is with LinkedIn and BC360, I have not seen much of the ugliness we hear about. It is truly unfortunate the people feel they can “troll” other and since they never interact on a personal – eye to eye – basis, they feel they can be as mean as they want.

My biggest concern is the over sensitivity that has become a “cause”. It seems the saying “Good Morning” can get you in trouble because “…you are forcing your views of morning on me – I shouldn’t have to have a good one because you said so.”

Lighten up – enjoy life – laugh. It will makes difference and you will be happier.

As I say others, welcome to the BC360 family of authors where engagement is respectful and friendships are established.

BIZCATALYST 360°
BIZCATALYST 360°

MARK OBRIEN – FOR REASONS UNKNOWN, YOUR COMMENT DOESN’T APPEAR SO WE’ VE REPOSTED IT HERE:

Dennis, your piece is thought-provoking and provocative. I’m tempted to write a diatribe about the fact that as special interests increase (ostensible manifestations of tolerance), the thickness of our skin decreases (inexorable and ever-more militant intolerance). I won’t. But I will respond to each of your questions in order:

• Am I wrong to suspect that it might become rather noisy around us all these days?

You’re not wrong, and it will get much worse before it gets any better.

• Is it true that so many topics are “off-limits” because our society is so polarized that a civil, constructive, open-minded conversation is impossible?

Yes. And that polarization will increase as we continue to splinter everything into ever-finer choices between this (compliance with the demands of any special interest) and that (noncompliance with those demands).

• Is this why social media engagement has continued on a steep decline in recent years?

Yes. It’s why the nature and content of social-media engagement continues to decline.

• Are folks generally respectful & constructive or just the opposite?

Every stereotype breaks down at the level of the individual. Individually, folks are generally respectful and constructive. To the extent to which they subscribe to identity politics and groupthink, not so much.

• Is it true that people are bolder and braver via their keyboard versus up close and personal?

Yes.

• What have you experienced?

All of the above.

I hope the mere fact that you’ve initiated this conversation will put us back on a track toward

Tom Dietzler
Tom Dietzler

Great topic Dennis, I love it. And I love that people have come here to discuss, to offer their perspectives, and to try not to assign negative motivations to anyone else. As a general rule, I have abstained from any type of political discussions anywhere on social media. It’s too easy to misunderstand and then pigeonhole someone and relegate them into a box of some sort. I love your questions. I love this topic. In the footsteps of the venerable Mr. O’Brien, I shall attempt to take a whack of at your questions… * Am I wrong to suspect that it might become rather noisy around us all these days? Noise is ok, it’s the vehemence and the assigning of evil motives or the disregard of civility that can bring an increase in the blood pressure that I find suckful. * Is it true that so many topics are “off-limits” because our society is so polarized that a civil, constructive, open-minded conversation is impossible? Is this why social media engagement has continued on a steep decline in recent years? Yes, to a certain extent. Maybe not impossible, but harder to achieve. Polite discourse has been abandoned in the face of flaming retorts and scorched earth. There are too many people contorting themselves to the point of dislocating body parts just so that they can feel offended or outraged by the lamest and tamest of comments. * Are folks generally respectful & constructive or just the opposite? Yes, most are respectful and constructive and helpful and generous, and that is why I continue to engage. Too often the lion’s share of attention and bandwidth is given over to the lout and the idiot and ALL CAPS talker and the those who fling exclamation points without any clue as to what they are offended about. * Is it true that people are bolder and braver via their keyboard versus up close and personal? Without question, the keyboard and the motorized vehicle give certain people the idea that they are fierce and mighty and fearless and privileged. Knowledge of how they work does not equate with the capability of using them wisely or to their credit and the betterment of public in general. Too often I sign out and shut off with elevated pulse and a clenched jaw, and that’s merely from reading comments. I partake of that less and less, and have found excellent replacements. *What have you experienced? I have met some of the best people in the world, some of the smartest, most generous, friendliest, loveliest people that anyone could hope to encounter. People like you, Dennis, and others who partake of this excellent platform. I met a treasure trove of marvelous people whom I encountered through LinkedIn in Denver in February 2018 at Sarah Elkins’ No Longer Virtual conference, to which I am eternally thankful for her for starting. I look to expand that horizon of lovely people next March at the next incarnation in Chicago. Everyone encounters trolls… Read more »

Helen Heinmiller
Helen Heinmiller

Hi Dennis! I think this platform you have created is a wonderful idea. Light conversation is a welcoming invitation. My thoughts to your questions are I think that most people are descent and civil about most matters but they are not the ones most likely to start a conversation on social media. I know, I’ve tried. My first impression is that quiet conversations get drowned out by the more confrontational ones. We are almost invisible. I think the biggest problem with social media is there is little if any accountability for outrageous claims and lies. Even when they are addressed the damage is already done. When advertising took over this medium it went the way that most media has gone. We are seeing the results of what I call clash culture where everything has gone to extremes. It is my hope that we can get back to talking with each other rather than yelling. There are many enriching conversations to be had that can birth resolutions to our everyday problems if we give this a try. Thanks for doing this.

Aldo Delli Paoli
Aldo Delli Paoli

Virtual squares have taken the place of real ones, creating parallel universes in which people live and compare, not always peacefully. The Network offers great opportunities for friendship, dialogue and cultural exchange. But it also involves some risks: from the possibility of spreading false news to the growth of dangerous phenomena such as hate speech and cyberbullying, especially among the most fragile and defenseless young people.
I always wonder why so many people don’t use their intelligence for a useful use of social media.
When I was a boy and wanted to say something or meet a friend I had to leave the house, go to his address and finally we could talk, be together. Today we can “hang out” with people in more distant countries, talk with them amicably, exchange cultures, information, ideas, discover new interests, live ways, open our minds, give birth also to a true friendship if we are authentic, educated, supportive. Social media can build our credibility, they can bring quality relationships, they make us use our time smarter, we learn something, ultimately, they can make us feel better and better. More irony and positive stories; more training. Why waste the utility to disseminate hatred that creates nothing?
As Pope Francis has pointed out, communication must be an instrument to build, not to destroy; to meet, not to clash; to dialogue, not to monologize; to orient, not to disorient; to understand each other, not to misunderstand; to walk in peace, not to sow hatred; to give voice to those who have no voice, not to be the megaphone for those who shout louder.

Danny Pitocco
Danny Pitocco

Always good to first give grace to all and to not engage your tongue before you engage your brain. As a police officer I used the code 3 (lights and siren response) on countless occasions when this sage advice was not practiced and blood was spilled (also a hazmat environment too be sure) and the bodies were carted off to the ER or to the morgue as other bodies were booked into jail.

Keep “A pondering” my brother!

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