The Power of Social Media

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bill-of-rights

A blog – a Web Log – what used to be a journal I kept on my shelf, is now an editorial for the entire world to see. Of late, social media is so much more than a buzz word, and has so much impact on our psyche, that I felt it was time to take a moment and reflect.

First I’ll state for the record – since I have not seen it elsewhere; This recent US Presidential Election will be remembered as the first time an election was won through the use of social media. In the same way that history talks of JFK edging out Nixon because of the famous television debate where Jack simply out-shined Tricky Dick. Camp Hillary was totally unprepared in the realm of social media for the onslaught of carefully directed information from the Trump camp.

I use the word information deliberately. News is information, songs are information, Facebook is information, so are novels, and magazines, and satellite radios. Information is not truth. Let me say that again – Information is not truth. When I hear a term like “fake news”, I have to ask myself – who determines what is truth, or fake. By nature, people can say anything. One often hears that a convicted murderer says he didn’t do it. One can say anything. Words have meaning only in the sense of how they are absorbed into the consciousness of the listener, the reader, the receiver. Words are not truth, words are symbols. Without going to Webster – I learned and have taken the time to understand and accept that truth is something that stands the test of time. Yet even this concept is tenuous when the average human lifespan is barely 100 years. A truth held up before us through any sort of media can certainly outlast a human century. Was the Civil War about slavery or was it about States Rights’ and self determination. Don’t take sides, or jump to conclusions because you think you know the truth. Do the research and understand what started it, what was used to enhance the cause, and what was written into the history books by the victors.

We live in a remarkable time where communication has become instantaneous, and often overwhelming. Herbert A Simon is quoted as saying “What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention…”. Social media, and its abundance of information is proving this day in and day out. Whether it is someone rear ending the car in front of them because they are Tweeting at a traffic light, or a student falling down the steps at school catching up on Facebook between classes. We are so overwhelmed by information from Facebook, Twitter, CNN, MSNBC, RT, InfoWars – pick any 1000 other sources – that our attention is decimated, so we short circuit mentally into our emotion based belief system, accepting facts based on learned behaviors, casting aside, often valuable information, that does not fit our paradigm, our world view, our value system. With this in mind things really get interesting!

Social Media makes each and every person who has access to the internet, a copy editor in their own right. Each of us have the opportunity to share our information, our values, our accepted truths, without censorship. Each one believing that what they publish is gospel, because it is what we believe, and given that we are taught to live in a world of duality, we mostly take sides and face off on against the other. Social media becomes sport, even if you don’t have an athletic bone in your body!

The Power of Social Media – The people running the campaigns in the US knew this, only one group was far better at it than the other, and the results bear witness to this. By using the poverty of attention principle it was (and continues to be) possible to focus people on emotional content that fits their accepted paradigm, as opposed to well vetted truth, or meaningful, well supported, documented, footnoted, clear and concise information, the kind we used to get from newsprint prepared in morning and evening editions by professional journalists. The Bernstein and Woodward kind.

Twitter has 140 word character limit. Unless adept at Haiku, one cannot tell a story in this short span, but one can certainly choose words that will evoke some serious emotion, which coupled with thought generate feelings, and then more words. It’s fabulous, brilliant, it’s as if someone, somewhere really got McLuhan’s “Understanding Media” concepts and rolled it out on an unsuspecting public, enamored with their toys, looking for words to publish, feeling every word they thumb type, totally distracted by too much information.

Social Media makes everyone a copy editor, and, I bet that has a lot of well educated journalists and copy editors pretty pissed off. All the degrees, the internships, the deadlines, the sweat and tears to make it in the news room, and anyone who can get their hands on a smartphone can publish anything they want. Truth, lies, injustice, it does not matter. The medium is the message, truth be damned, let’s throw more information at the poverty of attention.

How do we cope? What can we do? It is so divisive, there is no filter on social media, and to create one starts arguments against the first amendment. Being in the computer business for most of my career I have seen the advent of email and texting, and have often been amazed at how the barriers come down when the eyes (and ears) are no longer involved in the conversion. There was an app call “Phone” on the computers I used in the 80’s and I quickly learned that it was very easy to use innuendo and suggestion to get others to reveal their true feelings. AOL’s IM was the same way, and texting has now put it in everyone’s hands. Be careful what you text for, you may get it!. Texts are undercurrents, social media is skywriting by comparison.

What is the power? It gives and it takes away. I have to say honestly, that it is very hard to track news anymore. I follow the sources I have always, but then have to spend time researching the news and understanding the sources, and the especially the emotional content and what is NOT said in the report. Just like the days of the Iron Curtain, it is difficult to determine what is going on on the other side of the darkness. It is easy to make the sale if the customer is anxious to get on to the next thing. In sales, the one with the most patience wins.

This is how it is used against us, we don’t know for certain, so we need to consciously slow the pace, lest the horse get away from us, and we get knocked to the ground by a tree branch! Opinions are emotional content. While they are stirring to read and reply to on social media, does it serve any purpose other than to make you feel good or bad? I have never been in a argument with someone where they changed their mind at the end. Eckhart Tolle called it ” a failure to accommodate competing narratives”. Social media is not a sport, there are no winners or losers at our level. As long as we compete with each other, we lose and the ones who are driving the worlds economies are winning. A house divided against itself cannot stand.

How do we use it to create positive change? Stop competing with each other. Social media is not debate club! That club was very small in High School, no one was standing at the door clamoring to get in. Get educated – read the constitution – do you have a copy? Understand the structures of government, don’t discuss “isms” without understanding them and the reasons they came to be. In many cases they work well. Discuss history – even if it was written after the fact, and learn the facts that aren’t in the history books. There is so much access to good information today it’s almost fun do do the reseach. Know the sources of information, there is a counter culture today that is uncovering information that never made into Encyclopedia Britannica. Ask questions … Why do you feel that way? What would make things different? And most of all, in my mind, remember the words of Jon Donne … every man’s death diminishes me, for I am involved in mankind. Therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls – It tolls for thee!

Images and Link to the US Constitution

Eulogy for my Sister

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Spoken for the wake of my beloved sister JoAnn –

In the conclusion of The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Joseph Campbell tells us it was Nietzsche who said “Live, as though the day were here.” He goes on to say; That every one of us shares the supreme ordeal – carries the cross of the redeemer – not in the bright moments of the tribe’s great victories, but in the silences of his personal despair.

Jo-Ann, today we hear your silence. A voice that speaks in our memories of your trials and your victories, as living proof of all we’ve seen you stand up to. Not only a disease, but your love of family, of life, and your voice for the law, equity and justice. A voice that will long echo your story … A young mother who knew, in her time, education would pay her the best dividend. You worked and attended Law School full time, not just chasing, but grabbing hold of your dreams … all the while knowing, as you often said, for a woman it was: “Another day, another 78 cents.”

You told me not long ago, in the midst all those therapies, that each day you had a choice; Stay in bed, or get up, put your feet on the floor and face the day. Gathered here, are many witnesses that every day you chose Nietzsche’s advice.

By God’s grace, you and I became brother and sister. We grew up in one of the best examples of a dysfunctional baby boomer family, and we remained lifelong friends. I have celebrated your joys, known your darkest fears, shared your remarkable dinner table, and felt your deepest sorrows. There are no regrets where love lives in the heart.

We laughed often, cried together, and yes, we argued a bit … I was blessed. Not with the quiet blessing at a dinner table, but a hard won blessing from all the bits and pieces of a lifetime of love that now lives forever in my soul.

Sis, you have opened my eyes to a truer understanding of our reason for being… To live every day as Spirit meant it to be … Full of breath, of heartbeats, and emotions. Seizing every day with a love for all life has to offer, always remembering that – “The sky would have no rainbow, if the eyes had no tears.”

I love you … and I will truly miss your voice …

Link to Remembrance of JoAnn R Sensale

The shadow falls

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Is there a shadow cast
By the man in the mirror
In the dream
he runs
unable to fly
Claws on hands
and feet
Escapes to arrive
At some unknown
doorstep
never
invited in

Love is the law
Love under will
Care is defenseless
When compassion desires
Asks only to please
understand
The shadow falls long
The sun sets
Night falls
and the dream
long forgotten
Returns

Here was a choice
Once was a season
For this
The un-reasoned response
To the tears
For the fears
Are the outrage of life
Scarlet the letters
Written in blood
Of a promise
Made in our name

The forsaken forgiving
of worlds in between
The wound that was opened
and healed
Not by the sutures
In words full of passion
Nor by the balms
of desire
The tomb is laid open
By a hand once wounded
As the way, and the truth
and the light

Picture: http://outpouring.ru/news/1-0-9

One Lovely Blog Award

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It has been a long while since I have accepted or posted any award, yet for some reason I feel compelled to share this one. I don’t mean to burden anyone with a requirement to repost, so if you find yourself in the list of blogs I follow and recommend, there is no obligation to forward or recommend :-). Just know I appreciate all you contribute WordPress and the world …

Thank you to amommasview for this recognition and I’ll share the basic “asks” of the award:
1) Thank the blogger who recommended you and link back (done)
2) Share seven facts about yourself
3) Nominate at least 10 bloggers you admire, contact them and let them know

Seven facts my readers may not know –
1) I started my career as a VW and Porsche mechanic, today I work in Computer Science –  “The Cloud”
2) I have studied the esoteric sciences almost all of my life
3) I believe in Exopolitics
4) I’m a good cook who grew up in the kitchen
5) I was born under the sign of Scorpio
6) There are times I have believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast
7) I write as much in comments – sometimes more – than I do in my blog.

In light of the last fact you know who you are, so in terms of contact I think that is already done. So the list in no particular order is:

Linda Willows Poetry
Erika Kind
Holistic Wayfarer
Make Believe Boutique
Space, Time, and Raspberries
Tornado Day
Jane Sturgeon
Vela June
The One Thing I Know for Sure
Seasonings

A theme running through each and every one of these blogs is a deep connection to the heart, an intuitive understanding of our connectedness to each other and to the universe; That there are synchronicities being revealed to us in each moment of the now guiding us on our paths … Thank you all and many blessings for your journey!

Love abides

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Counsel of the years comes to us
Beseeches weary travelers
Take stock of what was earned
and oh, the cost of it
How the shepherd’s ears are keen
to hear the braying of the lost lamb
and herd dogs pretending
to be fierce to the ewes
As if fools gathering into barns
straws cut under waning moons
and neap tides flow
with no concern for light
or a river’s run
Only essence of a dream
one hallowed night
now faded in the sun
Gourds broken, seeds slip
into soils waiting
for a winter’s passing
knowing love abides
in her Spring

Image:https://gordclements.me/category/gords-paintings/