Mindfulness and Social Media: Shifting Perspectives

One of the results from the past few weeks of mindfulness practice, first a few days at Deer Park and now a few days at the Wisdom 2.0 conference, has been a looking deeply at my social media presence. I love the technology and am relatively active on several networks. I heavily use Twitter and app.net. A moderate user of Google+ and Facebook. And a very light user of LinkedIn.

In all cases, I have practiced being mindful about the content I share and have the hope of cultivating positive relationships. It has served me well over the past 6-7 years of regular sharing. I have taught full semester courses and workshops on social media and it has therefore contribute directly to my livelihood. I have found new friends and I also believe has served as a platform to share the practice of mindfulness and meditation. This is all good and I love playing with the technology.

As with most valuable things, it takes time to cultivate and nourish and, as you know, there are also a limited number of hours in the day to spend on various activities. Social media can also function as a distraction. A distraction to bring present with family and colleagues in the physical form. But more than that, a distraction to my mind and body – to my own well being.

All this reflection leads me to consider an experiment. My teacher encourages practitioners to experiment and to look deeply. Am I ready to embark on my social media experiment of reducing or focusing it on just one or two platforms? I’m not certain. I’ve invested so much time and energy in creating these spaces. It’s become such an integral part of my personality and the “who I am” in work and sangha.

In looking at the spaces, they’ve naturally formed in unique ways. Fr example, on Twitter I’ve mostly interacted with my library profession. On Google+ there has been a wealth of mindfulness practitioners. And app.net has been just fun meeting and interacting with engineers and developers. Facebook just seems to be a necessity for managing pages.

So, what to do? What kind of intention do I want to set? What form will it take? It could be completely black and white – turn some off. Or, it could have regulation whereby it’s of my phone or limited to only certain times of day. Where is the value and what purpose is it serving? I honestly don’t have an answer yet, so this is a public reflection and nothing may change other than my attention.

Where are you with these themes? Unconcerned? Focused? What are you doing with social media and mindfulness?

  • Peter Kuhn

    I mainly use FB and find it helpful to announce things I do not promote elsewhere, like the 12 Step Zen group since it is not appropriate to announce it at either 12 step meetings or our weekly Sangha. It’s also been helpful recruiting new volunteers for the Prison Meditation Project since it facilitates cross pollination between many groups in my life. I occasionally put a blurb on Twitter of G+ but do not use them much.

  • Peter Myoku

    Thank you Kenley,

    you wrote “… I’ve invested so much time and energy in creating these spaces.” This too me sounds very familiar and a common pitfall for me (not saying its for you). Why ? Because sometimes I find myself just sticking with things/habits that cost me a lot of time/money/effort/courage whatever, but while this is human, i guess, it should not affect the way we look at things/habits, either they are useful, helpful, or not. Either we waste time on it or just toy around or not. This is not easy to really see, at least not for me 🙂 Gassho & Thanks again

  • Isn’t it interesting how we invest time and energy which then leads to attachment and ownership. It’s certainly a habit, but a habit that sometimes has value and sometimes is a complete waste of time.

  • Thanks for sharing your investment Pete. Sounds nice and simple compared to my interaction.