Everyone Failed Social Media : Except Mark Colvin

I knew Mark Colvin (and his kidney!) purely through Twitter! And sad at his loss.

I did read some of his interview transcripts: a gentle questioner able to get a better answer! But in the maelstrom that is Twitter, he came across as funny, intelligent, curious, never ever patronising, clever and subtle, a joy to read.

And his last tweet!!

I think every one failed social media except for Mark Colvin.

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!

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!

Getting the Introduction Right (Networking)


Introduction (Photo credit: Larah McElroy)

Once I thought networking was all about introducing yourself. But after some contemplation, I realised it worked best for me when I introduced others. And got that right. And that took some doing.

The first time I got it wrong was when I had just met a beautiful girl at a dance. I introduced her to my friends name only and then walked away.
But I got it right at my 21st. With three groups of friends attending no-one knew anyone. I spent my night introducing everyone to anyone.  Later I heard that everyone said they had a good time. And later I found that new friendships were made that night. I didn’t know what I did.
Awkward conversation hearts

Awkward conversation hearts (Photo credit: ewige)

But it wasn’t until I was the regular recipient of bad introductions that I started to work out what to do. Often and frequently, I would be introduced to new people name only. The next few moments would be really awkward.
We would look at each other and decided who was speaking first. Normally I would ask an opening question and the conversation would begin. Oftentimes the conversation ceased.
I did know that when I introduced myself, I would ask questions and find a common thread to start a conversation. For example, at a party, “how do you know the birthday girl?”
Web 2.0 for Good - alcove conversation

Web 2.0 for Good – alcove conversation (Photo credit: robpurdie)

And then I got it right and worked out just how. This time, I was at a function. And I was with someone who didn’t know anyone and wanted to network. I had to get it right. So I would introduce my friend, name only. I would then describe my friend’s background. Then I would draw a connection between that and the person being introduced. Then I would be quiet. The next five minutes or so I listened and learned. And later on I realised just what I had done.
Now I know why. Now if I could go back in time and reintroduce myself to that beautiful girl…

Activated Almonds : Laughing and Learning

I feel so silly. I got sucked in by the latest Twitter fad. Which hopefully has almost died down. I’m talking about the Activated Almonds tweet storm.

 It began Sunday. I was at first curious. But then I was amused by the social media humour fest (see Leigh SalesJohn Birmingham, just to name a few).

I even looked at the original article.

I paid it no mind whatsoever. I honestly thought Activated Almonds was a typo. I thought it mean Aktavite and Almonds instead (which isn’t funny at all). So much for curiosity.

But then I read Peter Evan’s response. Ah ha! Activated Almonds are sprouted nuts (hardly word worthy at all and certainly less funny than Aktavite).

Then I was annoyed. At me.

I had laughed too much. I had forgotten to learn. Much more fun to do both.

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?

What is True Gallantry Anyway?

Lou Pardi’s experience of men patronising women but then being just so sweet and nice about it is summarised in the following blog (http://pardipardi.wordpress.com/2012/03/04/dilemma-unintentional-misogyny/).

When I quickly read it, my summary was tweeted as “Men are still uncomfortable with successful women and cover it up with false gallantry”. My comments were retweeted by the writer and I received two or three replies agreeing with it. So far, so good. Maybe my fifteen minutes of fame.

Which is all well and good until someone asks the unanswered question. No-one has yet asked me to fill in what I left out. No-one has asked, so Andrew, just what is real gallantry?

But people will. And I know who you are! And this is for you and anyone else who wants to know what gallantry is. At least to me anyway.

I will now throw some light on what I said. Taking the definition of gallantry from the dictionary : brave, spirited, noble-minded, or chivalrous or exceptionally polite and attentive to women (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/gallant). Which means false gallantry is precisely as described in the blog above. So far so good.

But it still does not answer the question at all. In a post-medieval-renaissance-modernist age, what is real gallantry?

For me, true gallantry is helping someone in need and never asking for something in return.

True gallantry is admiring and praising someone who has prevailed through adversity.

True gallantry is really love that gives and asks no price.

The Why Is Missing from Politics….

The Why Is Missing

Today in politics we had a Prime Minister reelected overwhelmingly by her party. The former Foreign Minister is now vanquished and will eventually shuffle off into the political night. Such is politics.

Like many people, I was left wondering why.

Why did Julia Gillard defeat Kevin Rudd the first time? Why did Kevin Rudd attempt to win back the Prime Ministership? Why are they even in politics at all?

When faced with such deep questions, I do research. In truth, I avoid finding out the truth. I just end up surfing the net as a distraction until Twitter hit me between the eyes.

On Twitter, I came across a presentation called “We should start with why” (http://www.startwithwhy.com/) which the comment implied might show some insight into today’s events.

It appealed to the annoying child I was and some say still am. I always, always asked why. I am pretty sure I drove everyone around me crazy. I may still do.

The presentation’s premise appealed to me. It is that people identify with the why of a cause/product/you name it, not the product itself or even how it was made.

And it left me wondering. I can identify with Martin Luther King or Nelson Mandela. I know why they do what they do.

I cannot identify with just about any of our politicians. I have no idea what they do, how they do it and especially why they do it.

So to our politicians, if you could indulge the annoying child in me, why?

And please don’t say a fair go or moving forward or something trite that you’ve been told to say.

In a time of such political cynicism, tell us why. Say what is in your heart.