Learning Disagreement Skills

Go on, click the angry icon. Share the negative post or tweet.

Slip in and quickly criticise. Tell the other how they got it completely wrong.

They lack intelligence. Common sense. Logic.

Sit back and easily insult the unlike you.

They can’t even think. They’re Inhuman.  We should wipe them out.

Yes it’s so easy to disagree and oppose.  And easiest to offer no solution.

I thinking this as I read each tweet storm. And think even more as I click through each Facebook outbreak outrage.

I realise it is so familiar. For it was exactly the same as my experience.

For at quite close range and for quite a long time, I heard the same words for the same reason.

For to disagree, even silently through to mildly evoked white-hot anger.

Sometimes in despair, I joined in and fully embraced the proferred down spiral.

Until somebody asked, “So how did that work for you Andrew?”

I’d shake my head silent. I said no, it didn’t, it didn’t at all, it made things far worse.

“So what are you going to about it Andrew?”

(How can you make it better?).

There was the beginning of an answer.

I was learning disagreement skills.

Not the “let’s agree to disagree” cliche. That only suspended hostilities for now. And led to a ever widening DMZ!

Be silent Andrew.  Don’t interrupt the the other. Listen to the person behind the words.

Sit stock still Andrew. Don’t move and distract the other. Don’t insult them for not thinking like you.

For no-one thinks like you. Which is a wonderful thing! For everyone and you too.

Ask the question that goes beyond the question. Wait for the answer that reveals another’s truth. Not to you. To them.

Listen and bide your time, then you’ll find that it’s  the time. For the quiet and thoughtful ones to be heard.

Who speak without the intent of crushing free speech. Who speak and listen to encourage freedom of listening.

To enable those who accept truth without question (as you once did) to find their own. And others find theirs.

Otherwise it gets too dark when we all agree not to look for the light.



Trolls and Insults….If all you can do is call me names then you have run out of facts!

Often on Twitter I am witness to many different conversations both great, good, bad and truly vile.

One I just witnessed was the use of the insult:


Unfortunately, the insult landed. VanBadham’s father recently died (of cancer on the 19th March 2013).

Her response to my (and many many others) sympathy and to the insults was one of grace and courage.

My response might help. This is how I won my one and only argument.

After being really insulted I was exasperated.

All I said was: “If all you can do is call me names then you have run out of facts!”

Then argument ended. And I felt sorry like Van Badham for the arguer too!

An opportunity was missed to learn something new. Not just facts that don’t fit their world view. But  grace and courage to disagree and accept disagreement in return.

Which is actually fun!

Why the MainStream Media is Dying…

Imagine you are a journalist in a small country town.

Reading the newspaper: Brookgreen Gardens in P...

You know everyone and they know you.

Any unethical behaviour will in time be found out.

Then you lose your contacts, advertisers, circulation and your newspaper’s reputation.

Imagine you are a journalist in a city.

You know no-one and no-one knows you.

Any unethical behaviour may not in time be found out.

Then you keep your contacts, advertisers, circulation and your newspaper’s reputation.

Unless the city becomes like a small country town (as is happening with the internet, social media creating a confluence between newsmakers and news consumers).

Where personal contact, ethical behaviour and trust is vital. And people will ask their friends for the latest news rather than an untrusted media outlet.

Rumi’s Puzzle of Love

08 07 Butterfly Puzzle 26

08 07 Butterfly Puzzle 26 (Photo credit: cachew)

Though long deceased, the Persian poet Rumi regularly sends me quotes on Facebook.

Last week’s quote was “To find the Beloved, you must become the Beloved.

I was puzzled. And I tried to analyse it. And became more puzzled.

So this time took my advice to others: when puzzled, describe don’t explain!

So while I’m still puzzled, I’ll describe its meaning to me.

Rumi and other Persian poets write about the Lover loving the Beloved. The love is a quest. The Lover must journey away from and then towards the Beloved. The Lover is transformed along the way.

Does he mean the Lover loses himself (herself) in the Beloved? The Lover then becomes the Beloved. Which could be slavery or unselfish love for another or empathy.

Does the Lover end up loving himself (herself) thus becoming the Beloved? Which sounds like that selfishness which requires slavery from others.

But suppose the Lover loved himself (herself) with the same (unselfish) love as he or she loves the Beloved? Puzzle solved.

Rumi’s real puzzle:

  • Love others unselfishly
  • Love yourself unselfishly.


Social Media Simplified


social-media-party (Photo credit: cyberpunk65)

HubSpot Leads Automatically Get Social Media I...

HubSpot Leads Automatically Get Social Media Info and Photo Added to Them (Photo credit: HubSpot)

Imagine you’re invited to a party.

You check the date, time and place. You get ready and turn up. You expect to be the centre of attention.

But when you arrive, the party is happening and has been going forever. Everybody is talking at once.

Everybody seems to know everyone else.  People will stop talking, join another group, talk for a while and then return to the original conversation as if nothing has happened.

So what do you do? You could choose a random person and start talking to them. You could choose a group and interrupt the conversation. Or you could wait and listen and when the right time take a chance to converse.

Welcome to Social Media!

Being Strategic About Trolling

Recently I was trolled on Facebook. Someone left some rather unsavoury comments on a photo I posted.

Angry  After some thought and some research, I deleted the post and blocked the person from Facebook.

The personal effects on me are just that, private and personal. But it raises some questions for me and for anyone who uses social media.

Currently, social media trolling is dealt with tactically. Either you engage with them  until proven guilty and then disengage with them . Many people recommend engaging with them first including me. But this incident has sown some severe doubts.

Sadly, there are some people who will respond to all and every engagement negatively. Dealing with them is time-consuming and tiring (as opposed to dealing with them in person 😉 ).

Unfortunately they have to be dealt with strategically. But how?

From my best guess, the tactics are:

1. You say (and listen) everything to everyone. This encourages trolling but also encourages new surprises and friends.

2. You say (and listen to) everything to a closed circle. This can only be called social media groupthink.

3. You communicate some things to some people (groups and circles). See Google and Facebook!

In truth, options 1 and 3 are acceptable unless you wish to restrict free speech.

But the hard part is to consciously work out what to say to whom and when.  We simply don’t do that in real life.  How can we do it in social media?

Social Media is Old-Fashioned (Really!)

Before social media, there was the grapevine, bush telegraph or rumour mill.

I found this out growing up in two small country towns. Basically, my parents knew everything about everyone.

There were no secrets there, and now there seem to be none on the internet!

Of course, this is the negative back-biting side of social media, the rumours, whispering campaigns, anonymous abuse.

However, there is a positive side. It’s best illustrated through a movie set in a country town – It’s a wonderful life. The hero of the story loses everything and contemplates suicide. Once his fellow townspeople find out, the grapevine/bush telegraph swings into action and he is bailed out of misfortune!

That is the power of social media.