Smaller but Magnified

Our world has become smaller in the pandemic, but also magnified.

A year ago, we were traveling across the country by plane to visit our relatives. Today, those trips are unthinkable on so many levels. Too much work or cannot leave the state due to unemployment rules. Too risky. Too much money as incomes fall. So, the trip in person becomes virtual and smaller, a video chat or a phone call, a text, a message, a comment, and a post.

Every day I watch my neighbor kids confined to their own yards, apart from playmates and school friends, who they visit now virtually like a memory or shadow. It is so hard for kids to lose school, birthday parties, and all of those in-person connections. They paste pictures in the windows and shout hellos across the street to their neighbors. Some parents find one or two safe playmates for their children. Compare that quiet experience to seeing dozens of kids every day.

Then I see what is magnified, like the little five-year-old girl next door learning to ride a bike with her parents both trotting by her side. As an only child, her parents are her primary playmates now. Two teens set loose on skateboards to give them that sense of freedom. In this smaller magnified world, the siblings who previously hung out with other kids their age instead walk together. Siblings are now friends; they laugh, talk, and support each other.

One day I saw two teen girls riding six feet apart on bikes, chattering like old times. They came back up the street with two more teens. Four girls on bikes meant they could stay six feet apart, see each other, exercise, feel better, and still chatter up a storm.

Their world is smaller but magnified. There is sorrow in giving up their childhood and teen rituals plus a magnified joy of finding new ones that work in a pandemic.  

Our world is magnified when we sit in our backyards day after day. All of a sudden, we can see the ants at work, those birds who live in the bushes, and that bug that we never noticed before. It’s all smaller but magnified. 

Before the pandemic, we went often to see our friends play and sing at live music shows. We’d walk in, hug all of them, kiss a few, sweat, dance, and chatter in tight booths for hours over drinks and food. Those were the times we’d catch up with 10 to 20 people in a night, and that experience is what we miss the most.

Now we choose carefully who to meet or who to talk to by phone or video. When we do meet, we don’t hug. We wear masks, stay six feet apart, and reduce the number of people we meet with to a handful. We turn down events that are too risky, like a memorial gathering for a dear friend who passed recently. Too many emotional people; too hard to avoid contact. There is burnout in the video meetings and talking with large groups virtually. Too much competition and noise. If you have done meetings virtually all day, it’s exhausting to do it at night or on weekends.

So, we are all reducing our contact with each other, looking at it, turning it over, blocking it, filtering it, and cutting it down to the core. We now know who is most important in our lives, a small group of dear ones. Our conversations are deeper and more emotional. Us adults, like the kids, have found our lives in this pandemic smaller but magnified. 

Featured photo courtesy of Pixabay, Vinzent Weinbeer.

Conquering the Fear of Social Media

What does it take to convince the “forget it” crowd that social media has value?
Do you use Twitter, Facebook or Linked In?
How do you keep your image professional?
How does social media serve you?
Link to Find your Advocate

Conquering the Fear of Social Media – Solve a Problem

Picture for solving problems with social mediaStart by asking what do you need out of social media?

Every social media platform exists to solve a problem. Just like computers are part of our modern world, these tools are the new wrench to turn on rivers of information.
Read more on the next page.

Conquering the Fear of Social Media – Position Your Mirror

Picture for positioning your mirror - fear of social mediaAs I became an advocate for social media tools like Linked In, Twitter, Facebook and blogging, it quickly became apparent most people offline suffer from fear of transparency.  What if someone finds out something about me?  What if they get to know all of me, who I am under the skin?

Some of you know this reaction well. When you mention a tool, the person’s reaction is to tell you all the horror stories they know to justify their fear of social media.

But hold on a moment.  Is spying and negative gossip the reason social media exists?  Or are these platforms simply neutral tools to be used for either positive or negative reasons?

Continued on page 2…

Conquering the Fear of Social Media – Find Your Advocate

Picture for finding your advocate - conquering the fear of social mediaAlert!  We have a social media gap!

Recently I attended a job hunting gathering in Hillsboro, Oregon at a local community college. Over sixty of us were gathered in a large lecture hall discussing Linked In.  One person asked if there were any new networking tools to use besides Linked In.  The leader had no suggestions.  I promptly suggested Facebook, Twitter and blogging.

The reaction was shockingly negative. As I turned to look around at the crowd, I saw frowns, shaking heads and grumbles.  At least 80% of the crowd was visibly upset and rejecting my suggestion.  The group leader quickly stated “Linked In is the only one that won’t get you in trouble.”

I consider this a very large social media gap since this meeting was being held in the middle of the Oregon Silicon Forest community.  Almost every open job for the job seeker involves making computer hardware or software.

So what do these terrified job seekers need to begin moving forward in social media?

The answer on page 2…