We’re All Doing it Wrong

If you’re not immersed in the social media world the way I am, then none of this will matter to you and you don’t need to read it.

If you are, then you’re probably aware of some of the heated criticisms, bickering, nit-picking and arguing going on these days with a bunch of social media types. Some people are using much stronger words than bickering and arguing, but really it comes down to a disagreement that’s gotten really personal. What started as a difference of opinion has gotten out of control. Whatever it is, I find it upsetting, because it’s my friends that are involved. I care deeply about my friends, so even though the actual situations have little to do with me, it’s still affecting me a lot. I’ve been quite upset about it. Until I woke up this morning and checked my email.

Back in the early 2000’s, I sang in a women’s choir. We were really good (if I do say so myself). It was one of the most fun projects I’ve ever been involved in. The women in the group (we were about 40 strong at our height) were full of passion and warmth and cared immensely about each other and our music.

Sure, we had our heated disagreements sometimes (anyone involved in a creative endeavour knows that tempers can flare when passion is involved) but in the end, it was about our little community, and about sharing and enjoying music with our audience, and growing and learning together.

The choir split up in about 2006, because it was time to move on to other projects. Some of us have stayed close friends, but most of us have drifted apart.

We recently learned that one of our former members is quite ill with cancer. She’s undergoing treatment, and is at home, but is always happy to have visitors. So next weekend, we’re going to visit in a big way.

About 20 of us who are still in town are going over to our former Director’s house to rehearse some of our old tunes for a couple of hours, then we are heading over to our friend’s house for a performance.

Words can’t describe how I’m feeling about this – I’m utterly excited to see all my old choir mates again. I’m a little nervous I might not remember any of the music and sing all the wrong notes. I’m sad that my former choir mate is so ill but I’m happy that we’re going to share some music with her and hopefully help her.

I can’t wait to be in the presence of people who meant so much to me, once again. The choir community was one of the most important communities of my life. (Hint: the other most important community of my life is you guys).

Right now, some parts of our little online community are at odds. It’s causing tempers to flare, feelings to be hurt and people to say things they don’t necessarily mean or that are being misinterpreted. But the story of my choir coming together after all these years has reminded me that when it comes to community, even though we might not all love each other all the time, we’re all we’ve got. We’ve been here together for several years, and we’re letting such small things get in the way of the hard work we’ve done together, to educate and inform and help people navigate this wacky online world.

We know that together, we are stronger. We know we can do amazing things together because we have. We’ve raised hundreds of thousands of dollars, tons of awareness, and helped countless people be more successful in their businesses. But divided, as we are now, we are weak.

Never forget, we are all in this together. Even though we might not always see eye to eye, we need to remember that this too shall pass.

In your limited time here, what are you doing to focus on the positive, the moment, and on making the world a better place for the people you care about? Are you moving things forward for your family, your friends, the medium, and your business? Or throwing blocks at yourself and others because of jealousy, anger, resentment and all those other yucky negative feelings that keep us from being our best?

Let’s remember to focus on what’s important, and then just let the rest go, ok? In the big scheme of things, it is just so insignificant.

For me? I’m going to focus on my family, my friends, my business, my students, and learning everything I can about the things I’m passionate about. I’m going to focus on working with the people in my online community who want to work together in a positive way, to help carve out what all this new media stuff really means to business, individuals, and society.

Because in the end, that is really all that matters.

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  • September 3, 2011 at 10:03 am

    “Never forget, we are all in this together. Even though we might not always see eye to eye, we need to remember that this too shall pass.”

    The crux of your commentary is in these words. People tend to hide behind internet monikers and anonymous names but in the end we are all people with limbs and frailties.

  • September 3, 2011 at 12:05 pm

    You’re so right Susan when you say we need to focus on what’s important. Some have seemed to have lost their way.

    Although social media users have the power to share, some have abused that power. There is a fine line between a debate and an argument and when it turns ugly, in a matter of seconds – moral character is damaged and reputations destroyed. Who wins? Is it the one who threw the first punch, whose original point is now obscured? Or is it the victim, who turns out to be not so innocent with the integrity of response? A losing battle for both, I think!

    I am the biggest advocate of social media in PR and what it can do for people and organizations, which is why this kind of stuff has not deterred me from participating – or encouraging others to engage in social media.

    Good for you in pulling together your choir members and showing your freind, (and others who read this), what community is all about. Sing loud and proud!

  • September 5, 2011 at 6:46 am

    Glad you decided to jump back into this after all.

    I tend to pride myself on my naiveté in these situations, but I really do believe you are right, that that the only way we tend to move on from distracting non-sense like this is to get the choir together and do what we love to do most… sing (or in this case type 🙂 ).

    Hopefully at some point, hurt feelings get put behind us and some hard conversations happen. Cause at this point, no one is right, no one is wrong, it’s just a mess that needs cleaning up. And if it keeps up and keeps getting worse, the space as a whole is going to hurt because of it.



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