In the last couple of days, I created a twitter thread about a coffee catchup I had and how I was dreading going because mistakenly, I thought this person had a personal issue with my line of work. Here’s how it went.
Today was interesting.
I listened while she talked about herself & her own work 2 hours.
Towards end, she asks “who’s Shazza?” I explain she’s an avatar of 50+ woman whose afraid of technology & how world & her work in newsroom has changed to the point where she doesn’t recognise it anymore. She’s overlooked even though she’s capable. She’s considered old in a young world; she’s afraid to ask questions in case she’s found out that she doesn’t understand technology and this puts her behind her peers who are younger than her.
She then says, “you’re talking about people like me aren’t you?”
“Don’t misunderstand,” I say. “I feel the same way too. I’ve just found a way to express my frustration through humour using this alter ego Foreign Correspondent, for @CNTnewschannel.
She then watches an episode.
“So you and all these people on @CNTnewschannel you’ve met on Snapchat and never met in real life? And you create this with them every week?” She asks (incredulously).
“Helen when you mention technology. When you mention Snapchat, my toes curl. I don’t like social media. When I think social media I think Facebook. I hate Facebook. I hate Snapchat. As a high school teacher, I see how social media affects my students and how they waste time”
She continued. I don’t understand what you do with tech & social media but seeing now that you have created this show with people around the world, using these tools to communicate, & you made me laugh because I am Shazza, I am that woman who fears for the future, now I understand.
It was a defining moment there and then. Where I dreaded our conversation in fear that because she doesn’t understand & accept what I do, that my job & work is insignificant & irrelevant. Meaningless. It wasn’t the case. She simply didn’t understand because I never explained it.
Once again, it showed me that sometimes, you just need to show people your work rather than talk about it. (Even better, include them in it).
They have their own beliefs, prejudices, opinions about what they think it’s like.
Trying to explain what you do as nauseum doesn’t help.
The irony is not lost on me that by showing them my creative fun sideline project at @CNTnewschannel they then understand the WHY I use social technologies for building new relationships, networks, creating, co/operating on projects that would never have otherwise come my way.
The benefits and value of using social technologies for the benefit of connection, collaboration and creativity are lost on most people and/or would not think this important.
Their world view on social is based on how they use Facebook without realising there’s so much more.
Here endeth the reflection of my lesson learned today.