Saturday, 12 November 2016


In my work, I am paid to be provocative.  By this I mean, provoke thinking in others who may be resistant to change.  So sometimes it makes people uncomfortable.  But that is okay, because when someone disagrees with you, it gets them thinking about the opposite point of view and why people would hold that view.  And that is the first sign that there may be a change coming.  It may take time - a week, a month and sometimes a year or more.  Sometimes it may not come at all.
Think about that time that someone made you feel angry because of the opinion they held.  Did you ever change your opinion later on?  That is how we grow intellectually.
We should not place ourselves in echo chambers, completely surrounded by others who agree with us.  I came across the idea of avoiding echo chambers when I was studying Howard Rheingold who wrote the book "Net Smart: How to Thrive Online".  I wrote a blog post about my learnings back in September.
He says there are 5 literacies to enable you to thrive online.  They are:

  • attention
  • participation
  • collaboration
  • critical consumption (aka crap detection) 
  • network know-how.
Critical consumption allows you to look at a variety of sources of media with differing viewpoints and opinions, and to examine them closely to see if they fit with yours, and if they don't, then think about why.  You don't have to change your opinion but if you live in an echo chamber, you are not open to the idea of change.
So back to the idea of thriving online, when someone disagrees with my opinion, I don't unfriend them.  The only time I unfriend people is when they are abusive - not toward me necessarily - but name calling and swearing nastily at others or inciting violence types of abuse.  (BTW I am not against swearing per se).
My 616 facebook friends hold a great diversity of opinion.  It provokes my thinking.  I do make judgments about what I think is right or wrong and sometimes I don't respond at all.  But I thank you all for your contribution to my ability to thrive online.
Image: Pixabay 

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