As often happens when a link catches my eye through a twitter referral, I “click” and am suddenly immersed in another’s thoughts while mingling them with my own. Today I read two posts nearly back to back. The first, written by a freshly retired English teacher (http://teacherbiz.wordpress.com/2014/01/02/guest-post-my-mom-a-retired-english-teacher-reflects-on-recent-changes-in-education/), lamented the significant human losses which seem tied to increasingly rigid reform efforts in education. There was, on the one hand, the tremendous authenticity of Mrs. Jolley’s voice and on the other, the very sad truths she was relaying through poignant vignettes and clear-eyed observation.
Shortly following that I found myself caught in another lament, this time not directly related to education but to a wider social phenomenon: facebook (http://pernillesripp.com/2013/12/30/facebook-the-great-disconnector). Pernille Ripp takes a stark look at her facebook engagement to date and finds it lacking – in depth, texture and the nuance of more authentically sustained relationships. She refrains from blaming the medium or true facebook fans and questions exactly what it is she is missing along the way. And from that reflection she resolves to renew important relationships with more face to face contact, letter writing and phoning.
What’s interesting here for me is the emotional impact of both posts on me. In both cases I felt moved, touched and very grateful for the eloquence and bravery of those who are able to write honestly and passionately about what matters. In short, I experienced resonance. In both cases, there was a call to listen – hear the story, try on this perspective. Both authors made this step both compelling and easy for me. In reading, I gained a sense of connection. I empathized, became curious, wished to learn and hear more from these teachers. And then, there was the response: first a feeling turned thought trajectory and now a blog post. Call – connection – response: A process, a mental-emotional happening, an experience with legs. As I continue my engagement with social media, this process will be a template I will want to bear in mind.
Many thanks to Pernille Ripp and Susan Jolley for the inspiration!