REFLECTING ON STORIES AND FEELINGS
As long-time readers of this blog know, I am an avid apprentice to the Crucial Conversations/Crucial Confrontations books. When encountering a situation, we typically short-circuit the process, telling ourselves a story about what we think we know, then enjoying the "Feelings Wild Ride." For some folks, that's righteous anger that finds destructive expression, while for others, it is a retreat into silence. I have been guilty of both. The authors of the CC books suggest a different approach known as STATE. This is an acronym that represents the following:
- Share Your Facts
- Tell Your Story
- Ask for others' paths
- Talk tentatively
- Encourage Testing
When I listened to Jerram's video, I found myself getting angry. I wanted to leave a nasty comment and ask, "How could you imply that I've posted something that SHOULD NOT get more attention? What proof do you have that the article is biased?" Then, I took a moment (a moment, no more) and noticed my feelings. Why was I feeling this way? Had Jerram's remarks been accurate and I just didn't like being challenged? Or, had they been inaccurate and I felt I'd had no defense in Jerram's video? As I reflect on my experience of watching the video and listening to Jerram, I had to ask myself what was it that he was saying?
My interpretation from listening to the video twice was that the article in question raised some red flags for him because it seemed biased, and that this article should not be tweeted because of the red flags. As a result, Jerram's point irritated me because the story he was telling, even unintentionally, went something like this:
"Miguel's made a poor decision about what to retweet. That article is obviously biased and shouldn't be given any more attention. How could Miguel have made that decision to tweet that article?" Now, I could be completely wrong, but then I realized what an opportunity this "gut-reaction" on my part represented!What if instead of getting angry, no matter how briefly, I worked through the video response and used STATE? I find that it's easy to indulge in these kinds of emotions, letting them hijaack your brain and reasoning. That's what makes processes like these so important.
Share Your Facts: When I have a free moment (e.g. during a workout routine, standing in line at the grocery story, a commercial break during a television show), I will take that time to skim information from Zite and other locations. Since I don't have much time to spend, I tend to take 1 of 3 actions:
- I clip the article to EverNote if I feel something is worth keeping;
- I tweet it if I want to take a longer look at it later and/or think that it doesn't quite merit being kept "forever in Evernote;" also, I subscribe to my tweets as part of RSS feed so they show up in my GoogleReader...what I tweet or favorite, I later revisit or read again; or
- I send it to Facebook if it's an engaging image or video that family would enjoy, keeping in mind that anything I send to Evernote and/or Twitter automatically gets posted to Facebook as a public item.
Tell Your Story: When I skimmed the article (whenever that was), I thought it was interesting enough to tweet to others. I didn't consider that it was biased, factual or accurate...in truth, it was interesting and fell into my "range" of topics that I consider worthy of my further consideration. This article, like the others I share when I'm skimming content, evoked a response from some who read it. Essentially, "What would be your response to this campus?" And, my response, equally brief, was something along the lines of the following:
"If these folks need a laptop, they should get an inexpensive one running UbuntuLinux (LibreOffice opens docx without serious problem) and change their workflows to match that of the iPad." And, though I ran out of 140 characters, I would also have said "Stop whining! Drink the Kool-Aid!" The latter statement because when you buy into Apple products, you have to accept the Apple ecology, their way of getting things done (e.g. the new plug they launched yesterday being one example).Now, my story about all this is one of content curation. For me, tweeting, blogging, Evernote clippings, etc. are how I process information, and/or engage in content curation. Whether I tweet it, blog it, clip it, there's no clear way I've marked outgoing content as "worthy" or "unworthy" of attention. And, such an effort would be futile. No, the ultimate measure of what I tweet, blog, clip is whether it's useful to me in some way. Even my most RT'd blog pieces involve my struggle to understand something and come to terms (or not) with it.
It's part of being transparent with my reading habits, as well as sharing what I'm learning as I'm learning it. Maybe my current approach to content curation needs to involve more clues so others who follow me will know what I intend?
Ask for Others' Paths: Based on what Jerram recorded via Screenr, it appears that his approach to sharing is different. For him, sharing something on Twitter appears to involve an endorsement of the idea. Hence, his remark that this article would not be something he retweets. Now, I'm not sure if that's what he's saying, but that's my interpretation of his video. I don't want to imply that he was being unnecessarily critical in the video, or that such an opinion of how Twitter works is not the way it SHOULD be (or not). I do want to say that MY approach to using these tools appears to be different based on what he said in the video.
Encourage Testing: I'm not sure if my interpretation of Jerram's video is accurate, so I'm definitely inviting others to watch the video and then share what they thought. If the purpose of the video is to garner attention to an article that probably is biased or ill-considered, then my request won't detract from that purpose.
Now, you may notice I've left out the "Talk tentatively" portion of STATE. I hope I've done that throughout this blog entry....
In regards to the original issue of the article and whether it deserves the attention this conversation has given it, probably it doesn't deserve the attention. I'm more interested in what happens AFTER I share something with others and they decide that it means one thing when in truth, it may not have meant anything from my perspective.
Even more fun is the chance to apply STATE to my emotional reactions and play with the concepts. Do you ever do that?