Occupational therapy practitioners are using social media much more frequently to communicate with others and to promote the profession. Venues like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others are much more commonly used.
I read a blog post today that was titled, “The End of Empathy” by Stephanie Wittles Wachs. The post shared her thoughts about how increasingly people are mean, rude and thoughtless in short responses to others (that they often do not know) on the Internet. One of her comments (slightly edited to remove profanity) gives you a hint about where the blog post goes.
She writes, “These days, kids go online to do mean kid #$@!. Adults obviously do, too. Our screens give us carte blanche to be #$@!!$+% to each other than we’d ever be IRL (in real life)."
I believe that sometimes we can change minds and attitudes through the use of social media. I believe that what I have seen called #hashtag advocacy actually can influence our thinking without us being fully aware that we are being challenged. I know that my mind and attitude has been affected by the education and advocacy of others. But sometimes you know from the start it is just not worth it………
More and more though I find myself wondering, “What were they thinking?” I see professional colleagues and Online “friends” disparaging not only the opinions or thinking of others, but their character as well. Accusations are levied, intentions are assigned to actions without validating them with the person acting and unseemly motives are subtly suggested; often in In 140 characters or less. Rather than promoting a position, an opinion or point of view, the focus is on criticizing, minimizing and disparaging others. I wonder if they would say the same things in the same ways to others IRL.
It has led me to be more thoughtful about what I post and how. I believe that over time the individual messages fall away and others are left with a general impression of who we are and how we participate.
I hope my last 140 characters contributed to a positive impression and that over time, I can be proud of what short bursts of communication say about who I am.
The blog post, “The End of Empathy” can be found here:
The opinions expressed in my blog are personal and neither represent the views of my employer nor any organization.