The rain seems to have gotten my creative juices flowing again! It is a really wet, cold and dark Monday evening in Singapore, and I find myself enjoying the rain sprays carried into our patio by the cool breeze, breathing deeply to let my words flow. Words that formed as thoughts and feelings in the last few months, but disappeared into unknown spaces within.
I have been searching! Searching for my words, depth, meaning, connection and myself.
In recent months, I have been busy, but aloof! Truth be told, initially, I was put off by the media frenzy around the second wave of COVID 19 that gripped India in the last few months. I was taken aback by the misuse of freedom of speech especially on #socialmedia for political gains. I found it all quite toxic and started to withdraw.
In the quietness, I realized how nonsensical the world of social media has become! Where any Tom, Dick and Harry can become an influencer, politician or leader overnight! All it takes is a #viral post, where the virality isn't decided by any particular logic. I observed insecurity, fear of missing out (#FOMO), desperation to monetise one's influence etc, which even the wisest were falling prey to!
Are we headed in the right direction? I don't get the feeling we are! Especially when the world has begun to value lives in terms of Followers, Likes and Views? When one is so present in the virtual space but absent from the physical space! When one is learning to make connections in the digital space while lacking a connection in the mental space!!
I was struck by the superficiality all around!
While social media has its benefits such as building networks, growing businesses and improving one's visibility, it is important to use it mindfully and wisely. A 2018 study by the University Of Pennsylvania showed that limiting social media use led to a significant reduction in loneliness and depression. Additionally, the study suggests that limiting social media use to approximately 30 minutes per day may lead to significant improvement in well-being.
My personal experience is that the more I disconnected from the virtual space, the more I connected with myself and my inner circle. I realised that my absence from social media made no difference to my virtual connections, but it did make a difference to the people physically around me, especially my kids, with whom I naturally became more present.
At the beginning of 2020, I had given a workshop to scientists at my workplace on 'How to use #LinkedIN to make you and your science visible'. I reckon the most relevant and useful part of my talk was the first question I asked the participants: " What's the reason why you wish to use LinkedIn more"? Most people answered, "because everyone is using it" while some people said "to find jobs' and to "grow their network".
I urge you to reflect on what makes you want to use social media.
Whatever your reasons are, it may be helpful to use social media keeping in mind these three points:
Use social media mindfully and wisely.
Ensure you are not consuming biased, toxic content or any content that doesn't serve you through mindless scrolling.
Avoid sharing information impulsively. Instead share information that is true, verified, new and useful for people reading it.
We need to move away from superficiality towards depth, to find true meaning, connection and growth in life.
Sharing below a poem I wrote a few years back on the same: #TheCyberBlackhole by @drlakshmispeaks.
Dr. Lakshmi Ramachandran, PhD is a scientist turned coach and motivational speaker. She has 20+ years of experience in science as an academic and industry researcher, communicator and administrator. Her own broad career journey deepened her understanding of human potential, and fuelled a passion to support the self-development of others. Her expertise is within Science Careers and Self-Management (Productive Life, Enoughness, Emotional Intelligence). She is an ICF, and Belbin certified coach and is listed on the Keynote Women Speaker’s Directory.
Her other professional highlights include 1) 2006 Roswell Park Cancer Institute Deans award for outstanding dissertation research, 2) 2016 Publishing Next, India, best digital book runner-up award for her book Roomies/Foodies , 3) Co-Chairing the Gender Summit 2019, Singapore.
To learn more, please visit https://www.drlakshmispeaks.com/