“Friends are those rare people who ask how we are and then wait to hear the answer.” – Ed Cunningham
Paul McCartney once wrote a line in a song that went “all my kindness is taken for weakness”. Although that can definitely be true for many people, it is not the way our true friends think of us. When I use the term “friend”, I am not talking about Facebook friends, but the ones you can confide in and look for honest advice. I said to my son, Myles, when he was quite young, that it is important to keep those few good friends that you’ve got because no matter how many people you come in contact with throughout your life, you will really only have less than a handful of really close friends.
Society has changed over the years with Facebook and social media, as interaction has taken on a whole different approach. I am a little bit from the old school. When I need to discuss something with someone, I prefer to pick up the phone (as an email or text quite often doesn’t get the entire point across or may be misconstrued) and talk to the other person. Face to face or phone conversations tend to trigger other questions or concerns in business conversations and I have always felt that they result in a more meaningful outcome or at least an understanding of someone else’s position.
Today, social media has provided the masses with a voice and a platform to express their thoughts and concerns. That unfortunately seems to have morphed into attacks on characters and people that you have no real idea of what kind of person they really are. I have always thought that everyone should be able to express their opinions without being attacked. You should be allowed to have your own, independent opinion and thoughts and I should be allowed mine without any venomous fallout. Very often, when I listen to someone else’s views on things that I have strong opinions about, it can help me to see another side that I hadn’t thought about before and a broader perspective.
The one thing that I find terrifying is the emergence of the “fake news era” where you very often form an opinion on something that is not actually true which generates a frenzy of attacks and outrage on issues. I guess that is the intended purpose, but is that what we really want to see? I had a business acquaintance recently ask me, “can’t anyone pick up a phone anymore?”. Being bombarded by emails and messages that you have to try to interpret what the sender is trying to convey. With a phone call, you can ask questions directly to the person and obtain firsthand information. Elections are also something that seem to be affected and outcomes altered with many untrue statements made.
It appears that traditional media like the days of Walter Cronkite are gone forever. Today, media conglomerates, who are paid with our tax dollars by our governments seem to silence the truly critical information that we all need to make informed decisions today. I think what has started as something wonderful may have taken an unintended turn in the wrong direction. I know a number of people who have had to stop visiting social media sites such as Facebook to get away from the negative effect it has had on them.
When your sifting through the news feeds and information, step back for a minute and try to ascertain if what you just read really makes sense to you or is I something to get a certain reaction. I know that since “fake news” became a phenomenon in our world, I have made a point to try to be mindful of what I read or watch. As I said at the beginning, this is just my opinion of what I see in the world today and many of you may see it in a totally different way which is ok, because that is your opinion.
When I was a kid, I had a friend who would tell me that I was an idiot for having certain opinions, but I always told him that it was okay for us to agree to disagree about our perspectives and opinions. What do you think? Are we heading in the wrong direction or not? And by the way, I won’t criticize your opinion, because after all, we are all entitled to our own opinions. Have an awesome weekend
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Brian & Myles McCullough