A short discussion about how to interact on the Internet with mindfulness.
What does it mean to be a mindful Internet user? What does it mean to be mindful at all? According to Buddhist tradition, mindfulness is the seventh step on the noble eightfold path to enlightenment. We all strive for enlightenment in some form or another. But what does mindfulness, enlightenment and the Internet all have in common? Yes, there is something.
Before I get into this discussion let’s review what we know. We know that the Internet is a vast ocean of a place, with many changing parts and fluid interactions that happen at a speed that is incomprehensible. It an be overwhelming to a person that lives outside of it’s reach which, nowadays, is almost nearly impossible. Everyone from big businesses to the Dalai Lama are utilizing the Internet to communicate with people. I can guarantee that the Dali Lama isn’t tweeting about what he ate for breakfast, or that someone just cut him in the line for a sandwich. Instead he tweets:
“Whenever I meet someone I try to look for their positive qualities, which immediately gives me a feeling of connectedness with them.”
This tweet is what mindfulness on the Internet should be modeled after. If you meet someone on the Internet, don’t ever forget that there is an actual person on the other end with feelings and original thoughts. The computer doesn’t suck the soul out of you. You are a living, breathing human even though you have a Twitter account. Just because you tweet a thought, doesn’t make it invisible. That thought is attached to you and your personal business or practice. Interactions on Facebook are not metaphorical. As @DalaiLama states:
“Having a more compassionate attitude helps you communicate more easily with your fellow human beings.”
Compassion should not be chucked out the window just because you are interacting with someone on the Internet. Mindful interactions online are important not only to your business but also to your own personal credibility. It might be a scary thing to jump onto all these social networks and put your passions, thoughts, pictures, on “display” for all to see.
However, with mindfulness in mind, don’t share anything that you wouldn’t want to look at yourself. That is inherently the golden rule of mindful Internet sharing: don’t share something you would not want to look at and or read yourself. And if you follow this rule and have compassion for your followers, it will be easier to share things that have a purpose and are interesting and important.
The Internet is for sharing, interacting, and talking with people.
I am the Content Coordinator for FeelGoodNow.com, a site that empowers wellness with social media education. I am also a Word Magician, Coffee Perfectionist, Tarot Reader, Star Interpreter, Bookend. Email me at [email protected].
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Editor: Anne Clendening