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When Using Technology, Keep Your Head

Recently, I saw a discussion on Facebook needlessly degenerate to the point where friendships ended. That should never happen, particularly with reasonably intelligent people who possess the ability to assess, discern, connect, and resolve.

Once the minor misunderstanding escalated, each retreated to their respective corners to defriend, block, and/or hide from one another. Had I not witnessed it, I would never believe any of it occurred. Which brings me to my point….

Technology is a tool which provides the ability to connect its users around the world. With that comes the potential to increase conflict as varied perspectives and cultural preferences collide. Of course, this bridge is also rife with opportunity for those willing to do the work beyond what the mere presence and utility of technology can provide.

In laymen’s terms, private messaging is your friend but you are the key. Work it out offline. Ask questions, get clarity regarding intent and meaning. Technology will not do that for you; that’s a people thing.

If, however, you can’t resist scorched earth, feel free to use the other side of your brain when amongst the ashes. Create multiple Friends lists and limit who can see your posts, photos, your friends’ posts, and/or post to your Wall. When submitting status updates, check the dropdown box to ensure you’re communicating with those you want to reach…and who care to be included in your circle. (My settings are nearly fortress-like, and 85% of my personal Facebook participation is limited to family or family-like friends only.)

We’re all here to have fun, enjoy life, share information, support one another, and ultimately grow as we experience earthwalk. A vigourous joust now and again isn’t a bad thing, but keep your head when using technology. And remember: there are people on the other end of those keyboards.

Doña Keating is President and CEO of Professional Options,
a prominent innovator in the policy and consulting industry which
provides solutions for businesses, organizations and governmental
agencies. She is also a principal in K2 Strategic Solutions,
a partnership between Professional Options and Keating Consulting
which has a combined 50 year history of providing technology and management consulting. Keating is also past president of West Sound Technology
Association (WSTA)

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