Falling & Social Media

October 6, 2010 § 1 Comment

One of my favourite podcasts is this American Life (http://www.thisamericanlife.org/). I know, I know, I am Canadian but the stories they cover are always interesting. Take for instance the episode they did on Falling. It starts with a guy who, as a kid, falls off a roof of a house under construction. He falls off a roof after being forbidden by his father from playing around the construction site because it is too dangerous. However the fall this guy took changes forever his life. In fact his profession is now the study of falling and what the brain does when it happens.

He starts by recounting the story of how he approached the edge of the roof, looked over, felt an element of un-ease, but, like kids do, the sense of excitement and discovery overcomes his fear and he takes another step. His step is onto an overhand of tar paper that clearly can not hold his weight and he starts to fall. He remembers this so clearly. He remembers thinking about how to turn his body to try and grasp anything. When that doesn’t work he sees himself falling to the red brick pavement below and all he thinks about is what it was like for Alice In Wonderland to be falling down the rabbit hole. He pictures the sides of the rabbit hole, can see the light above him and nothing below, he sees it all in detail. That my friends is a lot of detail to think about. That must, as the host says, take some time to think about all that “how long did it take you to fall?” Answer .86 seconds.

Turns out that the conscious brain is a sieve. It has to be. Consider all the trivial detail that there is in front of you right how as you read this. If the conscious brain saw and focussed on it all if would be impossible to function. Rather the brain filters tons of stuff out. That is until you are in a life and death situation. Then your brain grabs onto everything.

Social Media is no different in my opinion. If you use a platform like Tweetdeck of Hootsuite to engage with Twitter you know what I mean. Right in front of you are hundreds, sometimes thousands of conversations. If you can accept it, it is almost a liberating feeling. Now you can be that flye on the wall. If your mind is open to it, don’t ask me how as I am still learning the how, you can see the world and the people around you in slow motion and in such vivid detail that you can see yourself that much better.

Again as for the how to open your mind, I’m not sure but I do know the feeling. Your shoulders are back, your eyes are wide, there is a smile a little grin on your face and your mind and fingers become one. No typos, just sheer engagement. What’s better is that in those moments it doesn’t matter if people engage you back, but they do and it feels great.

Thanks for reading this.

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