Technology is here to stay. My business and personal world has changed dramatically because of it. Like an oasis, it can offer space for productivity and connectivity. Or, like a desert, it can starve me of meaningful relationships and good judgment.
In the past month my Twitter impressions have more than doubled. This is mostly the result of participation in more live chats where comments are quickly shared with multiple people. It might be tempting to equate this data to a new status for my social media presence. Perhaps people are beginning to recognize my voice and value my perspectives.
Technology does that to us. It easily impairs our ability to choose and act wisely.
One only has to watch the toxic stream of hate and vitriol that fills many Twitter feeds and trending posts. It is tempting to engage in the relatively anonymous arguments that pass for conversation.
As someone who strives to help leaders grow and develop, I work hard to keep my social media presence and website free of politics and negative posts. It demands effort and discipline.
If you need reminded of how easily technology becomes a desert, here are a few examples.
- Doxing – Defined as the technique of tracing someone or gathering information about an individual using sources on the internet. This information is then widely shared via social media to silence your critic or put them and their family’s lives in danger.
- Voyeurism – This practice was once only associated with secretly watching others for sexual gratification. Today’s voyeurs use their smartphones to record acts of violence and misconduct. Instead of intervening they often watch as another human being is hurt or killed.
- One-Click Mentality – Today’s reliance on instant gratification means we order online with no human contact. We pledge our support without leaving our recliner. We offer our opinion without attending a meeting. We launch a social media firestorm before we consider the consequences.
Technology isn’t going away. In fact, it will likely become even more pervasive. How might leaders encourage technology use that will create an oasis of enriching and meaningful work? Who will have the courage to challenge the many places where technology has created a desert, starved of decency, respect, and hope?
Perhaps we could each commit to avoid digital distractions more often and fix our attention on what is good, honorable, and loving instead.
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