Sunday, 4 May 2014

The Power of Many, Running Man & does the mass use of social media = social decline???

Hello Everybody,
It's been another busy few weeks and weekends here in Wellington both personally & professionally. The World OT Conference (WFOT 2014 Yokohma) is creeping ever closer, which means I'm getting short of time to do everything I'd like to with my presentations. On the flip side, this has been because I've been busy pretty much every weekend for 2 months, with all the wonders of living in NZ - weekends away up the coast, fun runs, comedy festivals, dinners, dancing and plenty of watching and playing sports!

My anecdotal observations about the ever declining ability of people to communicate face to face due to the relentless and almost addictive use of social media, were confirmed in another thought provoking video (ironically seen on Facebook). The link is:  called  Look Up - This short video by Gary Turk is a reminder of the effects of social media on our society. By connecting online, we are disconnecting offline. What are we missing from life as a result? What critical moments do we miss that we didn't even know passed us by? Be sure to watch this entire video, especially the ending.
    This video talks of the OVERUSE of social media, and the potential consequences when it replaces  face to face communication for current and future generations  - this IS NOT saying social media is evil and all bad, it simply discusses the very real consequences of it's over use. I know from my own experiences where people get stressed and freak out if they don't get a 'like' or 'comment' on facebook, and almost anyone in the world where people have good access to phones can look around in a restaurant, shopping mall or social setting, and see groups of people 'together' and communicating with people who aren't actually in the same place - a crazy notion.

I have certainly benefitted, perhaps more than most, professionally through on-line teaching, on-line international presentations, blogs, allowing me to share experiences and promote my profession. 
However, like many, I have experience of a life where people shared information face to face, by talking, and talking was not edited or planned. It was spontaneous. When I talked and shared information, I knew somebody was listening, and I never relied on people who I didn't know or had not met to feel heard or listened to. I really do worry for the current and upcoming generations whereby people lack ANY ability to be alone and can't communicate effectively in real time and face to face.

There are many many things about living in New Zealand that has had a significant effect on my thoughts about life, culture and well-being. Once such concept has been the idea that people really buy into the idea that ANY ACHIEVEMENT IS A COLLECTIVE ACHIEVEMENT. The best example can be seen by many of the NZ Olympic medal winners, who often talk about the influence and efforts of everyone from high school coaches to family members, which has helped them to achieve success. Everyone's contribution is acknowledged and considered. I've been moved by seeing this concept actually played out across different spheres of life here, and if you truly believe this idea, then it could be argued it can have a profound effect on a person's psyche. Imagine what a community, region, or country could achieve with such a powerful notion????!!!!

This leads me to acknowledge an achievement of my own this weekend... I've been running a lot since doing the 10K 'around the bays' run in February, and this weekend I managed to run (albeit slowly, very slowly at the end) a distance that I had never imagined running before. Whilst running around the coastline I started to think about how I had come to be spending my Sunday Morning running such a long way.....
....then I realized, a huge number of people had in some way influenced me to this point. Lots of friends who had run long distances for good causes, (yes Jenny, you get a mention), and even more recently, some of my good friends here (Ros, Emma & Jen to mention a few) had all inspired me to get healthy by taking on such challenges. This was not my achievement, but very much a collective one, because I am pretty sure that without the influences from some of the people in my life, both past & current, I wouldn't be feeling so bloody sore! 

Just my thoughts for the weekend.
Regards from New Zealand

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