• Maintaining Mindfulness in the Digital Fast Lane

    February 5, 2017 | Vicki
  • Delighted to introduce you to my new column, #Untrending, published bi-weekly in the Maple Ridge News.

    In my recent book, #Untrending – A Field Guide to Social Media That Matters, I talk about social media as a doorway to meaning, contribution, beauty and truth. Tall talk, I know, but aimed at challenging us to take a long view of our online engagements and consider each post as a kind of cyber-archeology, leaving permanent marks on the digital walls of time.

    I also wrote that the Internet is rife with thieves and fakery. These are sad and contradictory truths, and give us good reason to stay out of cyberspace. There are more truths: the Internet is here to stay and it never forgets.

    The new column will introduce you to some of the brightest and most ethical social media and digital experts from across the country. They are online mapmakers, traversing the World Wide Web, lighting the way for the rest of us. Their adventures include conflict and chaos, but they show us the way to higher ground. I’ll also uncover the local talent, whose savvy and practical advice will show us how to use the Internet wisely and well.

    Success online depends on reach. Digital marketers lie awake at night, counting click-throughs and comments, and dreaming of viral posts and trending tweets.

    If this is true, then why call the column #Untrending? I believe technology is here to serve us, not the other way around. Post popularity is one measure of success, but is it the right measure?

    As I write this, I am looking out my living room window at the Fraser River. It is just past dawn and the sun is shining on the water. It has been a rare winter and clumps of ice float along the waterway like lazy jewels. A tugboat ploughs upriver, pushing ice and water off its bow. A train whistles past.

    I’m tempted to grab my smartphone and make a quick video for Instagram Stories, but the moment itself is beautiful. I choose to stay at the keyboard, in my fluffy housecoat, mug of hot tea by my side, and cozily watch the tug (and the moment) pass. That is untrending. It is a choice to be in the moment, rather than document it. It is the choice to forego the attraction of likes, follows, and engagement for the sake of being fully present.

    Most of us struggle with competing demands for our attention. We want to tend our businesses, socialize online and off with family and friends and not miss out on opportunities to connect and further our business and personal goals.

    The sheer possibilities at our keyboard-poised fingertips force us to make choices. Shiny screens and pinging notifications entice us away from the corporeal and into the virtual. The aim of this column is to meet you at the intersection of the analog and digital worlds and help you wisely navigate the crossroads.

    Not to worry, I will share the wonders of Instagram Stories, on-the-go video, and all ways that you can shrewdly maximize the use of the latest, greatest digital tools and trends. I will also remind you that a life of happy obscurity is still a happy life.

    As a side note, when I released the book, #Untrending was trending on Twitter. Ironical, I know. It’s an irony I hope to capture regularly in this column.

    Vicki McLeod is an author, TEDx speaker, and award-winning entrepreneur. She is a business and personal coach and consultant. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram or find her at www.vickimcleod.com.

    This article first appeared in the Maple Ridge News Feb 3, 2017.