Can’t help it – it’s only human.
I am honoured and feel humbled when being commended for work I’ve done. Sharing my thoughts in digital spaces has resulted in many opportunities to feel gratitude and gratified for those who take time to share a thought (through a comment or a like), offer support (through tweet or text) or extend my thinking by pointing out omissions or asking questions. I’m human in my excitement to connect and collaborate with others in digital places. I feel proud of creations that are shared on blogs, tweets, and links. I ‘turn to wonder’ when others reveal information, links, ideas or feelings. I feel discomfort when others reveal anguish, despair or anger.
The more I write and publish in digital spaces, the more I think about what it means to be human in a digital world. I wrote an article, recently published in the Catholic Principals’ Council of Ontario (CPCO) publication Principal Connections that shares thoughts on how to be human when managing school communication in digital spaces from a school principal’s perspective. A sneak peek is available – Being Human: Managing Communication in Digital Spaces. Keeping an image in mind of the human faces of people and physical places helps me remember to write and share from a human stance.
By ‘letting go the ego‘, as Jean Vanier reminds me in the video below, I am revealing rather than doing. My work, while not life altering or earth moving, may help someone, somewhere. It may be a model or source of inspiration. It may be just the insight someone was trying to voice. It’s an opportunity to reveal for myself and another.
Sometimes this is a lonely process, finding just the write words to type or tweet. Other times it feels like ‘whistling in the wind’ – who’s going to hear it? Vanier again reminds me to be human when being in digital space – with heart and head. I do not need to prove anything, only to reach out and find or reveal the human in others. Not always easy when the digital sometimes hinders understanding or relationships.
Sometimes it’s a noisy process – try participating in a twitter chat or a google hangout (e.g. Virtually Connecting) and you’ll know what I mean. Getting your voice or tweet into the collection can either frustrate or energize you. It’s only human to share your feelings when overwhelmed, feeling left out or getting celebrated – as Sarah and Maha shared this week. It’s human to work through these things to build relationships – whether we are in physical or digital spaces.
As teachers and educators, we model through our actions and words how to ‘be fully human’ both in physical and digital spaces. Remembering the person on the other side, the ones who are sharing the space with you is often a challenge, but that’s only human!
How are you revealing your human side in digital spaces? Is it the real you or a shadow of your true self? How do you find the face or the place of others in your digital networks? When is ‘ego’ in the way?
If you are an educator, how do you help students reveal and share while staying safe and secure?
Jean Vanier, Templeton Prize 2015 – What Does it mean to be Fully Human?