I recently received the following newsletter from Hugh Guyton (Just a Conversation). It got me thinking about the impact of the web especially social media. We have Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Xing and so many more its impossible to keep up. The point of all these “tools” is ultimately self promotion – it’s a way to tell the world about who I am and what I’m doing.
Now that’s not necessarily a bad thing. However, are we becoming so self obsessed that we’re turning into the lady at the dinner party – see Hugh’s article below? Is the web providing a global forum for FIG JAM’s (F..k I’m Great Just Ask Me)? Is it possible to survive today without ASKING people to become a fan of your Facebook page?
What do you think?
The other day I was driving numerous children around, and their conversation was basically big noting themselves. “I’ve got more toys than you; a bigger house; I’m taller, I’m faster” etc. It was really irritating. Initially I turned the radio up in an attempt to drown out the verbal sparring but that simply meant they shouted at each other.
So I turned off the radio, took a deep breath and, in a possibly overly strong voice, asked “How do you think that type of talk might make the other one feel? Are you trying to make each other feel sad?” Silence. I rarely shout at the kids, I think they were in shock. We continued our journey home in silence.
That night, whilst trying to wind down from having quality time with my children, I joined my wife who had started watching a cooking program called “Come dine with me.” The concept of the program is that a group of five people take turns to host a three-course dinner party. At the end of each evening the guests vote on how the evening went. In this particular episode, the hostess was determined that her guests would think she was better than anyone else. She bought ridiculously expensive wine (my wine’s better than yours) and went to extreme lengths in the kitchen to show them just how talented she was (I’m a better cook than you).
This meant (sadly) that she rarely had time to sit and just be with her guests. As the wine flowed between the guests, she became more and more remote from them. When she did finally sit down, in desperation to win their approval, she ended up making ridiculous interjections into the conversation like “Don’t you think my table settings are beautiful?” which was greeted by much giggling from her rather inebriated guests. This show further demonstrated to me that when one person attempts to be seen as better than the other, the very opposite can occur. Oh, and that adults can be as childish as kids.
So the question is: Should you be trying to view yourself as better in the first place? Good conversation comes from balance, viewing yourself as equal to those around you. Thinking you are superior or indeed inferior to the person you are talking to, will upset the balance of the conversation and your message is lost. Think about the conversations you are having at the moment, are they balanced?
For more about Hugh and Just a Conversation go to www.justaconversation.com