An Everyday On-line Dilemma: Speak out or be silent?


"Leadership is about taking off in the worst conditions." Photo by wildphotons

With such tremendous advancements in social media and overall internet use, we now tend to interact with people more than we use to or would even like to sometimes. This is good and not so good in some ways … especially in instances where our experiences, expectations and lifestyles are on totally different tangents and levels.

As far as my online presence goes, I have been blogging for a little over 2 years and I consider myself somewhat of a late bloomer when it comes to active use of Facebook, Twitter … I still haven't figured out Google+ and I am yet to get my Linkedin account where it ought to be. I also belong to several forums and groups.

The good news is, I have read from and about thousands of individuals, their ventures, shared in their thoughts, witnessed milestones and learned important lessons and not so important ones.

While being on-line is great because of the exposure you gain and the thousands of folks you get to "meet" … it also has drawbacks, such as lack of privacy sometimes, the lack of boundaries, and the need to be politically correct ie "say what I expect you to say and be quiet!" For someone who is out-spoken, unpretentious and direct, learning to be "politically correct" so as not rub people the wrong way can be frustrating and annoying … it's an ongoing lesson for many.

Overcoming these on-line challenges requires yet more self-improvement so that our personalities and professional images do not get compromised. Personally, are 4 suggestions that can help:

1) Choose to be constructive. If you do not agree with someone, point out your differences respectfully and constructively. Never attack, insult, engage in character assassination and most importantly, never violate their personal space. An important aspect of leadership is knowing HOW to "speak", what to leave unsaid when making a point and when to back off. 

2) Extricate yourself from unpleasant and distracting situations so that you can focus on the things that are important. Always work within the premises of WHY you are on-line.

3) Be yourself. Don't try to change who you are just to impress, rather choose to spend more time with like-minded individuals in forums where your gifts, thoughts and works are respected and appreciated and where you are able to grow personally and professionally.

4) Talk. The use of emails and on-line discussions are not always the best communication methods, mainly because your tone might be misunderstood and the message misinterpreted. Having actual adult discussions still remains the best communication means as far as I am concerned; ask to provide verbal feedback away from the general public.

Most of my friends still prefer to not be active on social media because of the above intricacies, but for those who choose to, it can still be enjoyable and productive.


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