Until recently, I’ve always lumped Twitter in with MySpace and text messaging – an unnecessary app that people used only because it was new, or because they were bored, or both. If a few people wanted to spend their time getting carpal tunnel trying to dictate every nuance of their day, it didn’t really concern me. I didn’t deny that Twitter may have been fun for some; I just didn’t see it as a worthwhile for most people.
Then I hit stage two right on the nose. I think I may have even said, “I guess I should create an account, and at least reserve my name.” Totally logical. That started the slow process of integration.
Currently, I’m sort of hovering around stage three. I “get it” now. I see why Twitter can be a powerful tool. I enjoy seeing what people are up to, and pasting an occasional “tweet.” I’m still no Twitter maven, but I see the value in the tool.
I think of Twitter as a component of the “virtual conversation.” If you think about how you converse with the people who are physically around you, you’ll notice there are different levels of communication. I know, 80% of communication is nonverbal; so we can throw that potion out for this example, but here are 5 levels from lowest to highest:
So where does Twitter fit in? For me, Twitter is right between 1 and 2. It’s not always as boring as the weather, but often is. Then again, the weather isn’t always boring; and sometimes more comes out of that type of conversation. Information is often passed along via “tweets.” Some of it can be interesting and valuable – some worthless.
It’s easy to shy away from this type of conversation – to label it as trivial or unimportant. But, socially, one is rarely complete without it. The same can be said for using Twitter as part of an effective online communication strategy. You don’t have to fall in love with it – the point is to not ignore it. Listen. Contribute. And soon you’ll find the right balance. 97DNBVZQA968]]>
Whenever I experience a series of unfortunate events, I find there’s never a shortage of opinions why things are going wrong. “Bad news always comes in 3’s,” “Everything happens for a reason,” “Other doors will open up,” etc. This kind of advice can be helpful, and it often comes from very kind people; but, in those situations I usually find myself starved for practical advice. I just want someone to say, “Do this, and you’ll feel better,” or “Do this, and it will stop the cycle.”
So, recently I decided to look back on unlucky periods in my life, and try to discover a common thread. Something bad would happen. Then a few days or weeks later, something else bad would happen – often while I was still dealing with this first thing. Then another problem would come up – sometimes as a symptom of one or both of the previous things. Then another, and another. Before I knew it, I would be up to my ears in problems, wondering what I did to deserve it all.
It’s easy to think, “Well, the problems caused the problems.” I can see how that logic might be true, but eventually you have to answer the question of what problem begat what problem – the chicken and the egg argument (only with a lot of eggs). Then you’re stuck blaming luck or fate, and we’re right back where we started. So, instead of juggling those random independent variables, let’s deal with the one variable in the equation that has never changed – me. Unless I was dreaming, I have always been present when these “bad luck” episodes happen.
Hmm, so that would suggest that I am just a bad person, and the cause of these problems? That can’t be right – I sometimes go a year without having strings of misfortune, and will sometimes have just one isolated setback that I’ll work out quickly. So, what part of me is different during these periods? I’ve been wracking my brains, and have whittled it down to only one trait that has consistently changed – my attitude.
I get a flat tire; a deal falls through; a client doesn’t pay a bill, etc… I get upset. I ask: Why is this happening to me? How will this affect my long-term plans? How will this affect my ability to support myself? What will this do to my family? I start trying to go through those questions, and before long I’m not linking the answers. I get a negative attitude, and start to ask more questions. The back and forth stokes the fire, and inflames my negativity. That negative attitude reflects in everything I do, every meeting, every phone call, every night out; and pretty soon it starts to create more problems. The slippery slope ensues. It’s completely natural, and no one can deny that I may have the right to feel that way; but the destructive effects are obvious.
So, how do I stop the cycle? Well, that’s a million dollar question (just ask anyone on Wall Street these days), and not easily answered. So far, I’ve come to the realization that only a healthy dose of the opposite state-of-mind will do the trick. That’s right – positivity. Ironically, the one resource you’re sure to be low on, when dealing with multiple problems. Quite a paradox, I know, but finding a way to be positive is vital to digging out of a perpetually bad situation.
How do you find a way to be positive in the midst of strife? Ask someone else. Hehe, just joking. The simple fact of the matter is there are many solutions, and you have to find the one that works for you. On the pragmatic side, look for the good in the situation, and focus on it. It may be that the lost deal will give you more time to spend on more meaningful projects. Or, the flat tire finally gives you an excuse to go to the shop and get the alignment you’ve needed on your car for the past six months. And if you can’t find any good in the immediate situation, look outside of it. Maybe someone in your family just got a promotion; or a best friend is coming to town for a visit. Or, boil it down to simply being alive. You’d be surprised how lucky some people feel just having air in their lungs. We all should.
If that doesn’t get you to a working positive outlook, lie to yourself. Ok, now I’m really joking. I would never recommend lying to yourself; however, a healthy, exaggerated level of optimism can be a real way to bridge the gap between a pessimistic downward spiral, and an optimistic path back on track. Try it. You might thank yourself later.]]>