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Transcript of It's Okay if You're not Okay podcast episode 08 12/16/2019

Outtake: Renee starts talking about social media, but goes completely blank mid-sentence. Keith and Kate can't stop laughing.

Keith: Welcome friends. Thanks for joining us for another episode. I'm Keith.

Kate: I'm Kate.

Renee: I'm Renee and it's okay if you're not okay.

Keith: At the end of September, it was suicide prevention month. The Zero Reasons Why Teen Council hosted a march and rally and on the Plaza in KCMO and one of the teens there, Avery, brought up, uh, this, uh, this idea that I thought it was really fascinating. She used this phrase, "we need to unlearn loneliness." We need to unlearn loneliness. And then she went on to talk a little bit more in connection, I think to phone use and social media and things. And so I thought that might be a really interesting place for us to talk and spend time today thinking about unlearning loneliness, especially our stories, our experiences with social media, what have been our struggles and then what have been the positive ways that we have utilized social media to not be lonely in our own lives. So before we jump into the great content that we all have, let's start with a disclaimer and then I have a special plug to do. So first, the views and opinions expressed in this podcast do not necessarily represent those of Johnson County Government or Johnson County Mental Health Center. And then second, it says, we're talking about social media and you know how we shouldn't ever use it. I want to invite everyone to use it. So if you'd like to get some exclusive information or know about this podcast in advance, make sure you join our Facebook group. You can find it at facebook.com/groups/itsokaypodcast or just search for, "It's Okay if You're not Okay" on Facebook and find the group. You have to request to get in it because we don't want spam bots in there and you'll get approved and we will see you there and get to hear from you. So it's a great way to connect with other listeners. Okay. So who wants to jump into this topic?

Renee: Yeah, I'll go ahead and start. I definitely have personal experience with having more connections with friends, families, acquaintances, classmates that I wouldn't be connected with and getting to know things about them, about their families, maybe about things that they're going through. At the same time as I was thinking about this and saying this, I also am kind of bummed that I don't necessarily really think that it's made me have better relationships with them. I'm just connected. Does that make sense?

Keith: So I, in contrast to that, I joined...So Facebook came out in, uh, 2004ish and I graduated high school just a little bit after that. So I joined Facebook when it was exclusive to college students only right before I went into my freshman year college. And so my Facebook friends list grew to like 1800, 1800 plus people. I have since then had several layers where I've cut it down. I decided that I only wanted to be friends with people that I actually care about knowing in real life. Like I actually contact them and like care if they know about my kids and I know theirs. So I cut that down to like from 1800 to like 800 and then to 400 and then to 200 and now I'm probably in like that around the 300 range, which felt really weird because I basically just cut lots of contacts off in my life.

Renee: "Contacts." See, you use the word contact where I would say connection and I, I, my family comes to mind. So my extended family, well okay. Even my immediate family comes to mind when I see something. Oh, Oh cool. They did this. Oh they had a basketball game. They had a football game. Oh, they were out at the pumpkin patch today. That's cool. But I, I have to admit that it, I don't then call them or seek out that information from them directly because they've shared it and I've liked it. I mean, that's a, that's a personal relationship, right. Sharing something and liking it. Hello? I liked it. I mean that, that acknowledges that we've had a conversation.

Keith: Yeah. Or the other side was the one like, like you, you hear like through the grapevine, some big news and then someone replies, "Yeah! Didn't you see that on Facebook" and you're like, you didn't realize it has happened. It's like old news "They posted on Facebook like two weeks ago."

Renee: I say that to my mother a lot. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I hear that from my mother a lot. "I saw on Facebook." I know mom you saw on Facebook.

Keith: Yup. Yup. Okay. So context though. So how does that play into unlearning, loneliness or how does that play into our relationships?

Kate: Well, when I think about relationships, I think about the people that, um, are the healthy supports for you. The ones that you would kind of trust being in your corner when things were getting hard, when things were good, and you're wanting to celebrate the people that are kind of those true friends, family. And I think about the people that you can talk to face to face, not always comfortably. I think sometimes there's a misconception that by having a conversation with someone, if it's good, it has to always be comfortable, has to go with the flow. And sometimes face to face can be uncomfortable and that's okay. But I think about that more so than connections would be someone that I just don't ever engage with outside of it. And I would never pick up a phone and say, Hey, how's your day going? Or send a text or, yeah.

Keith: Yeah. I so I have layers in my social media accounts that helps me shape this. So, um, both Facebook and Instagram, uh, I post a lot more about my personal life and my kids there. And so I only accept friend requests or follow requests. I have my privacy settings set really restrictive and I only accept requests from...And so it's personal, you know, everyone's personal choice. I've found this to be beneficial for me. Those are only people that I really want to know things about my kids. Uh, and so that's not my professional contacts. That's not, um, uh, it's, it's really a select few people. Then I have one more layer out, which is LinkedIn where I only will accept a connection request on LinkedIn if I actually know you and had, I've had an in-person conversation so, and that sometimes is we were at a networking event and I met you once. I can accept a connection request on LinkedIn. Um, and then Twitter is open and out and anybody can follow me on Twitter. Uh, and I may or may not follow you back. Just depends on if I like what you tweet about. And so I kinda have those three different tiers. And then Renee, you and I have talked about even clients at the mental health center: "What are the some things to consider there about connecting with clients?" So I, I've made a personal decision not to connect with clients I work with. So I, I don't see clients, but because I'm the communications person, I get to tell client stories sometimes. And so I've decided not to connect with clients on LinkedIn or on Facebook because uh, just for their privacy mostly people can draw that connection and maybe there's some word on the road they don't want, um, their mental health journey to be known. So I don't make that connection. But anybody can follow me on Twitter.

Renee: I'm sitting back and just a man, I'm, I'm dumbfounded truthfully that I have just come to the recognition or the realization that I'm in my forties. I've lived a life where the first half I really didn't have the influence of social media and the second half I've really had an overwhelming life, lived in social media and then struck with the thought of, gosh, I know that there are folks that I intersect with, especially um, young adults, especially folks in school, a school aged kiddos, school age youth, that that's been their life. And so I have to just kind of recognize my own perspective is that I really have had, I don't know if it's a blessing, a curse of living life experiences with and without. Cause I'm going, man, Renee, how do I make sense of, I just told you I was connected to extended family and know things that I never would know unless I go to like the family reunion every three years. That's awesome. When I get to know about my family in Pennsylvania, my family and in Michigan. Shout out clan if you're listening. Yeah, they're not [inaudible] but I will send it to them So I'm connected and I love knowing that stuff. But my perspective is that man, but I grew up having relationships with them. Right. I grew up with that, that connection and I, I'm sorry, I just have to see it through that lens, but as a, so that's, that's me, right? As a person, I've got all this extended family. I'm super thankful that I get to stay connected. I have a funny, a funny experience that I had recently in the last couple of years. I was at my high school reunion. I won't tell you what year, even though I already said my age and I scanned the room and I was like, huh, I don't when you talk to any of you because I follow you all. We're all connected on Facebook and I know exactly what's going on in your life. I didn't feel like I needed to have these conversations. What a missed opportunity though. So I'm even talking about unlearn loneliness and the fact that I made an assumption on that point that I knew everything, um, about those people in that moment and I didn't take the opportunity to go have one on one conversations with.

Kate: Yeah, that's a really interesting perspective because it kind of plays in a little bit to what I was thinking when we talk about how we've used social media. And I think when we talk about social media, there's much more often really negative connotation around it. And I don't think that's always fair and that's probably not going to be, I'm going to get tomatoes thrown at me for saying that by like social media. Yeah. Cause I think it, we need to look at how we choose to use it. Cause I, I find it interesting because I use it differently than maybe others would because of the journey I've been on. I thrive using social media to connect with friends and family that I can't see on a regular basis. Kind of like what you were saying. And feeling some type of connection to them. Even though I could not tell you, you know, all these in depth things but I feel that I know them because of that. But I struggle utilizing social media with peers and close family. And the reason for that is because I doing some of the comparison game and that plays into some of that on learning, loneliness, mental wellness, all of that because it's, I'm more connected to them on a relationship level. And so it feels closer to me in terms of, well they've done this or they've experienced that and I'm over here. You know, in lala land trying to figure out life. And so that part makes it difficult. So I think in having a conversations about social media, it's important to know why we want to use it. How were you using it and what is actually beneficial. Kind of what, back to your point, Keith, of having those layers because it is difficult and there is a lot of strengths and there's also times when it can cause some harm.

Keith: Yeah. Both of your thoughts just now, about the high school reunion and then close peers. They, I think speak to the reality that we have to remember that people do. The only parts of about a person's life that you see on social media is the parts they've chosen to share. And so yeah. So like in the family or the high school reunion, you knew the parts about your high school classmates that they wanted you to know and not anything they didn't want you to know.

Renee: True story. Oh, Keith just broke his microphone

Kate: and Kate was the one that put that together. So that was a big old fail. [laughter]

Keith: That is, that was surprising.

Kate: Oh, sorry about that.

Keith: That's okay. We're good now. Okay. What you liked about our thoughts? So thinking about that, about, you know, people only are posting the parts about their lives that they want you to know. It is easy to get into that comparison game. And particularly the more that you have connections on social media that are not people, you know, in real life, the easier it is to put out a false self. Uh, because no one, because of the people who are, you're connected with who don't know you in real life, they don't know that it's a false self. It's just what you've put out.

Renee: Yeah, absolutely. I think I agree with you, Keith. Let me say what I'm going to say and then you can just decide if I agree with you or not. I agree that I, I choose to put whatever I choose to out on social media. I will maybe contradict myself a little bit and even say, but if we're also having a conversation, I can choose what to tell you. So I think that because maybe there is more. So, um, I don't know. I would say sometimes pictures or I think to kind of bring it back to our topic, our perspective of what people post, some can can alter our kind of state of mind, right? If I'm going, Oh that dinner looked good, I tried to make that, that that vacation looked really good. I wish I could have gone to that. Or man, I am so glad she got to go to the beach for a week. Right?

Kate: So how can we change that?

Renee: Yeah. So how do we engage with it? And then also how do we narrate that for ourselves? Um, I think has a lot to do with the, the loneliness or lonely factor of social media. Because I will absolutely play both sides of the fence on this one. That there is, I think personally I have experienced increased loneliness because I've engaged with social media and in moments of loneliness, social media has been there for me as a way to maybe promote some more positive thoughts for myself and feel connected. So I, I kind of have a, I don't know, thought, I don't know if it's a unique experience. I would love to hear from our listeners. Anybody else kind of have this dialectic, right? Two things happening and I'm struggling to understand it, right?

Speaker 2: Yeah. But me too, I live in this world as social media is my career. In fact, I got into PR starting by social media management for nonprofit work.

Renee: I am baffled. Like I couldn't do that.

Kate: Me either. I mean, truly, amazing.

Keith: We all have, we all have things that we do and that's just happens to be the thing that I do and, but it's made me have to have some specific ways I think about social media because I can be on social media all the time, but my experience is just like yours that I have experienced it in very positive ways and very negative ways. Both those things are true. Okay. So I have a, I have a social media life mantra. You ready to hear it?

Kate: I'm ready.

Renee: Oh he did not warn us about this.

Keith: I set this up a little bit too high. It's not that cool. But my rule of life when it comes to social media is that social media should augment real life relationships or social media should enhance my in real life relationships. And so when I see social media only as a tool to do that, that it enhances the relationships I have with people in real life. It changes the way I utilize it, both in the way that I respond to other people's comments and what I decide to post. Uh, and who I engage with on social media, who I choose to follow, what types of voices I allow to speak into my life. It should augment, enhance, make better in real life relationships.

Speaker 1: Meaning you have to have a tangible relationship with that person before you engage on social media.

Speaker 2: I would put this life mantra about enhancing your in real life relationship in contrast with "replacing real life relationships." Social media should enhance in real life relationships. It shouldn't replace them. So it's not, so this rule of life about it should augment or enhance in real life relationships doesn't always mean I only connect with people that I know in real life because, it's particularly on Twitter. I connect with people that I've never met. It's always fun if a celebrity tweets back at you. Right? I mean that's fun and I'm, and I haven't met that many celebrities, but it should, it should still fit into who I am and in my everyday life. Like, me not being somebody else on social media than I am when I'm at work or at home and could lead into, um, could it lead into like real life relationships. I remember, um, I remember a project that somebody I follow on Twitter date a few years ago, uh, I can't remember a Twitter handle, but her name is Kate. So shout out to Kate. Uh, she did #IRLproject and what she did is she identified some number, like 16 people, she followed on Twitter that she really wanted to see what they said. And then um, went out of her way, like to set up in real life meetings with these people. Like so across the country, crowd source funding project, did it would allow her to travel and meet these people in real life. And then to then she wrote this blog reflecting on what the experience was to like or to meet them in real life and whether they were like the person that they were on Twitter and if, and you know, all that. And that really just impressed upon me the value or the opportunity that social media can play in actually forging in real life relationships. I have had multiple in person meetings because of people I've engaged with on Twitter that it's developed into, "Hey, let's get together for coffee" and people that I'd never would have access to if I wasn't engaged on Twitter.

Renee: I would be remissed if I didn't just kind of bring my clinical perspective in if that's all right. Tiering, I just want to talk about the physiology behind. Oh, that's probably way too fancy of a word physiology. I don't really know what I'm talking about, but uh, we feel something, right? So things chemically happen in us, in our bodies. We are wonderful machines. We are wonderful beings, but we have different responses when we're with people physically, right? Whether it's a physical touch, whether it is you, you're in a group of people. I also should probably tell our listeners too, I am a ridiculous extrovert. 28 on a 30 point scale of extrovertedness. Okay, that's a new word. Look it up. And so I know that being around a group of people, I'm an energizes me and it fills me up in ways. And let's say that doesn't mean I have to go out to power in light. Maybe it's going to the grocery store and waving hi to somebody. Maybe it's going even to the movies and sitting with others. Maybe that's going over to my best friend's house and it's going over to my parents'. But I know that I that need to be filled with the company of others. So that's, that's kind of me and I know that need. But if I'd come back to my, I want to share something clinically. And what happens to us too is we experience mirror neurons and that is the act of, you know, one person does, one person observes and there is a shared neurological response in that. And that's really powerful. And our brains can only do that when we're in the physical presence of one another. Um, I think it's why I really loved the therapy setting to sit in a room with someone and to make that eye contact and, and share. Um, it's, I think it's a really powerful space to be in. And I, but I also know that you don't have to have that every single time. So really recognize, again, this dialectic of, that's really important for me as a person and a clinician to have those IRL physical, um, moments with someone. But guys, there are also times where it's, uh, a text. It's, um, a funny conversation with maybe somebody that I haven't met or it is engaging in social media to kind of go back to Keith's space that just kind of does augment my relationships, augment my life a little bit or come and just make it a better place.

Kate: Well, because that was gonna bring me to one of my thoughts of a little bit of a different approach, um, that I see with social media is that sometimes, so you're an extreme extrovert. I am an extreme introvert so I'm on the other end and sometimes I have used social media to be that stepping stone to become comfortable, engaging real time. And I've done that also with individuals that I have been speaking with on social media and I have said, okay, so we'll, we'll talk via messenger as they feel comfortable, which has been interesting beyond the other end of that where I'm now trying to make someone else comfortable doing what I'm not always comfortable doing. And then Facebook has a really cool now like phone call options, so you can do calls there and that could be that next step. And then you work to kind of build up that courage to step outside of that comfort zone and then start having those real time, fantastic relationships. So if someone's listening and they're like, I just am not ready to go be at a grocery store and wave at someone, then try reaching out to someone on your Facebook page or Twitter or join a group and make comments, respond back to someone and start at that point. Because what we do know as well is that when we start reaching out and helping others or reaching out help for ourselves and get that ball rolling, it becomes so much easier to keep doing and so at some point eventually those real life relationships will be less scary.

Keith: I am grateful for the two of you on opposite ends of that spectrum expressing how you use it differently because I think that that's a really important point for our listeners to know is that the way that I use social media, that's, that's healthy for me and the boundaries I've set up is it going to be different than somebody else. And Renee and Kate are perfect examples. They're like opposite ends of this introvert/extrovert.

Kate: And so caveat on that and say is as someone who's an extreme introvert, it's important to have balance and know that I can't use that as my meaning for not establishing real life relationships. It's a stepping stone and not a reason to just never engage. And so I want to make sure I say that you have to have fine balance and know that sometimes being uncomfortable is okay and you're going to need to establish that so that in times of need, when someone else has a need, it doesn't even have to be you. You have that personal relationship. And so I had to make sure I put that caveat on it and make sure you find balance.

Keith: Absolutely. It goes back to it should augment in real life relationships, not replace them. It can't be the only way you engage with people.

Renee: And it can't be the only way in which you address your loneliness, right, or your happiness or right. Kind of replace any, it can't be the only, um, and so, right to unlearn lonely. I think you've got to learn what loneliness means to you, what mental wellness means to you, and whether that's, you can do that on your own. Fantastic. I would probably need to talk it out because I'm just that much of that talker, feeler, exchanger. Kate, why am I doing this all of the time? I need to, and Kate would give me amazing feedback about that. Um, so I need to know my own relationship with, with my feelings when I feel this, maybe why I feel this and how I want you to engage in social media differently. Um, cause I, I, I will, I will twiddle on social media and it's one o'clock in the morning and then I, wow, I've done this to myself now. So I'm a grouch the next morning. I struggle with that because it just sucks, I mean because I love the people of it all. I love seeing what they're doing and yes, and cheering him on and having this positivity. But then so that's where my extrovertedness um, can get away from itself. Again, just kind of go to Kate's point. That's how I have to reign myself in. When I stop, stop looking into other people's lives. Stop connecting, stop liking, take a step back, be okay with yourself, be okay with your environment, be okay. Right here. Have some mindfulness and choose a different activity.

Kate: And I like what you're saying about being right here and in the now, because that brought me back to something I was thinking earlier when we got this question tossed out to us of what do we think. And the first thing I had immediately thought of is how do we find our own value and self worth and self love and all of that outside of social media. Because I think sometimes we talk about loneliness too. It can even come down to, because I've heard some youth that I've worked with say this of, I put up a picture and I don't get in any likes or I only get a certain number of likes. So that means that, you know, I wasn't pretty enough or I'm not liked enough or I post some status and I don't get a response. And then you feel like your value is shaken and you're lonely to shape. Right.

Renee: Keith tweeted about this!

Keith: And quote my tweet because I can't remember what I, what I tweeted.

Renee: I mean you said something like you tweet something and no one likes it. Should you take it down? I think I liked it.

Keith: Here's the reality. I've been in this social media world for a while now, more than 10 years. And I've done coaching sessions on personal branding. You know, like all the things are on social media. I've also changed careers a lot. So in, in the midst of that and the of that, I built up a, uh, a Twitter following, small, small. And I'm always amazed though that even though I have X number of Twitter followers, I can tweet things and not get engagement. And so I often second guess, you know, I tweet, I put something out and I'm like, Oh no one liked it. This is dumb. I should just remove it.

Kate: Can we just say you're not alone in that? Make sure that you understand. Yeah. We're all in here nodding our head like yes.

Keith: So that is why I leave things up even when no one likes them. But that that is true as a social media professional, literally every piece of content that I put out, I have immediate analytical data on whether it was successful or not. Think about how that can make you feel the work week, whether you're doing it well or not well. And so that's something that I've had to process as a communications professional. Like just being, getting used to having quantitative data about how effective I'm doing my job multiple times a day.

Renee: No thank you. I'll wait for my annual evaluation.

Kate: But see, and this is where my mind is going. Because then I hear you say you have the quantitative data, but there is no way that you can track the impact that you've truly made. Even if it's one to five, however many people where they've read your tweet, I hope I'm using the words right, read it and gone "That was profound. This changed my perspective. I feel more hopeful." And you can't track that. And so that's what's hard.

Keith: Welcome to the world of social media marketing and analytics. In your personal life you don't have the opportunity to track data along in that way.

Renee: Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

Keith: Of course. I have all that data set up on my own personal social media accounts. Not on Facebook. No, not my personal ones, but my professional ones. So no, like my personal Twitter, LinkedIn, I look at the data about who's engaging in my, in my content. "I got this many impressions, this, this many link clicks, uh, the reach is this big."

Renee: I just post pictures of my vacations guys,

Keith: but because of my career, I don't let that...I've struggled at times in the past. But as far as the longterm healthiness, I don't let that define my self worth.

Renee: We're really kind of taking this conversation to, to not only unlearning loneliness or to do that, you've really got to know yourself. You've got to know limits. You've got to know boundaries all within the healthy scope of self and healthy scope of relationships. Um, and I think we've shared just some really neat ways to do that. How we do that. Some people might go, Ooh, I agree with all of them are like, Oh my gosh, none of those work for me. You've got to know yourself. And I can tell you, I think we've talked about this in this room before, is where, you know, Keith really acts as a voice here in our mental health center. A voice here on our podcast but also really has like an editorial, um, persona here as well. I know that sometimes in real life I wish I had someone like Keith, uh, editing and engaging.

Keith: So what I'm hearing is everybody needs a Keith.

Renee: Yes. Oh my gosh. Everybody needs a Keith. [Laughter]

Keith: This makes me think of our episode on self care and thinking about the compare and contrast between rituals and habits we put in for our long term holistic health and the activities we do as coping. This is a, that's such an important conversation with social media. There are so many times that we use social media as a coping mechanism. Thinking about when you are in, Oh, this is my most awkward situation when I have to take my kid to the bathroom, like in a public place and he's in there for forever and I just have to stand there while everybody else is walking into the bathroom and wondering why I'm standing awkwardly in the bathroom. And so I get on my phone even if I have nothing to do on my phone so people don't talk to me. So, so it's like it's, we use it as a coping mechanism for awkward relationships with people or to avoid awkward interactions with. We can also, we also can think about social media in terms of our self care, like longterm practices. And so I think in that self care episode we also talked about times that we unplug or turn off social media for a day or those are, those are options, but just boundaries about how can our engagement with social media add value to our lives in the longterm and not diminish our relationships or diminish our lives in the longrun.

Renee: Yeah. And we get to make all those decisions for ourselves. I've had to, I've had to speak that power to myself a couple of times recently and I was getting, Facebook was just kind of really overtaking, I need to delete my Facebook now I'm going to delete my Facebook account and I had to go, "Wow Renee, you're legitimately blaming Facebook for your interaction with it. No, you need to take the icon and put it on your, not your homepage of your phone. You need to throw it on the second screen." Control when you want to access to respond to a notification. You need to turn your notifications for Facebook off. I need to, if I feel there's a family member that might get ahold of me that way, I need to let them know it is my power to do that and engage with it sparingly. That's my choice.

Kate: And knowing that's okay.You don't have to know every single thing that's taking place.

Renee: I'm blaming Facebook for I'm not sleeping and I'm no, all right. I have to really recognize my choice on how I use that to either augment the, um, healthy feelings and healthy behaviors I'm having or perpetuate some of the, you know, negative coping or negative feelings that I'm having. I just want to hopefully speak power. Talk to our listeners as well. Have conversations about that with people that you trust and love and care about, uh, and also reflect personally

Kate: And if you're struggling to reflect then reflect with someone else and they say, you know, I'm noticing I'm not sleeping very well and I'm noticing, you know, I get the little notifications on my iPhone of like you've been on this screen for this percentage of time and so you can just use it as a starting off like, Oh my gosh, I've been on awareness, awareness and then talk with some about, but I don't know how to bring that down. Or if I bring it down, I have fear I'm going to miss out on something and then process through and get strategies from someone else who might be outside of the situation. If you feel stuck in doing that self reflection because that could be hard and vulnerable. Yeah.

Keith: Before we wrap up, I think there's one other aspect of social media that it's important that we touch on because I know our director, Tim DeWeese and and others here at the mental health center talk about this in public a lot. Um, and the importance of civility in, um, civility and kindness and compassion for everybody's mental, mental health and social media can be a place that is very uncivil and that can impact how a person feels about themselves and others. An example that I have myself is, there was a time a couple of years ago that I first got engaged in politics and I then I began to see some of my friends who were, you know, long time friends start diminishing anybody who's a part of the political party that, that I tend to align with.

Kate: I can just feel my chest starting to tighten for you.

Keith: I have worked really hard to have healthy boundaries and healthy practices on social media. I've grown, it's like, you know, like I've grown up as an adult in it. So like there's times when I was, you know, acted like teenager in maturity and now I feel like I have an adult maturity on my social media and so I don't tend to engage in those conversations. There were times I just wanted to comment on somebody's "Do you realize that I fall into the category of the people that you're diminishing right now?" Like just to give a personal like person they know in real life that they have called a friend and been around a table with before. Do they realize that there's somebody in that group? And so like the way that that made me feel of course was "This person is really ousting me." I don't get, it's not like I took it personally. I knew that friends weren't talking about me, Keith. But that's just one place where the way that we talk about people on social media can impact how a person feels about themselves and their relationships.

Kate: I have real strong feelings about this. Renee jump in.

Renee: You don't know if I have have really strong feelings because I'm going to go back to what I have had to do for myself. So I guess my really strong feelings are, rewind to the beginning of this and listen to our disclaimer because I'm about to make you need that really quick. Don't read them guys. It's vicious out there. It is vicious. It is evil. The comments are polarized. They are mean. They are hurtful. Even when I agree and maybe I am on the side of an agreement with the post and people are commenting in the context of what I agree with, they are doing so in vial, explicit, hurtful, mean ways. And I don't need to read that. I don't need that in my life. I do not go and click on comments. I can't do it. It's just not for me because it hurts me and I'm not going to put myself in that position. So you're right. I don't know if there might be some, some folks that go, gosh, but maybe I'm not informed. Maybe I'm not seeing it from both sides and I disagree that I need to read hurtful vial, vicious comments to understand that other people's opinions can live amongst me and my opinion can live amongst them and that that's okay. That that's not in a hurtful world for me. Comments can be vicious. So I got to put that out there. It's, that's a hard part of social media for me. Guys, it's yucky. Sorry Kate.

Renee: No, no. That actually bought me some time to try to process through how to, how to say what I'm feeling in a way that is nice and appropriate. Um, I guess I'm going to speak to the people who may be saying those hurtful comments and just encourage them to realize that there are people with feelings and emotions behind every computer and every phone. And sometimes if we're engaging with technology and we aren't building those face to face relationships, we can forget who's behind it and who they actually are and what they're feeling and I just, I encourage everyone to think about that and pause before they hit send and think about how they would feel if they were receiving a message that they were getting ready to put out because sometimes we can get in that heat of that moment and if you are in that, just pause and come back to it because just so many of hose hurtful things I've read, I just feel like they would never have said if they realized how someone's going to feel or if they had to see that emotion face to face. That's the kicker there. If I had to say something and I know that so I'm behind a computer crying because of response to something I've said, I'm not going to have that same emotional response to that then if I'm sitting across from her and a, and I say something harsh and rude and she is crying in front of me as a result of that interaction. So just my thing is, again, speaking to people on the other side is just don't forget the people behind it. Yeah. That's the more than a nice screen name that you see.

Renee: So a lot of times I say, especially in my profession, "say what you mean mean what you say, but don't be mean." Just a kind of a statement, a mantra I like to live by, the thing that I want to emphasize just a little bit around the social media world is there is no rate, there is no volume, there is no tone, there is no articulation in text. Okay. So the way that you want to maybe inflect something or have tone or or a pause or a little more or you can't do in text. And so it is only on the receiving person's end of that to decipher what you meant because you can't hear, you can't see the person, you can't. And so it does take some extra attention to write something. And I don't think we have given the attention that our text deserves. Um, I just, I just don't, I don't think we have done that collectively,I'll just say as a nation because I don't do international social media.. I as a, as a nation, I just don't think we give the respect to text, um, that we should.

Keith: And yeah, I agree. And I would even take it one step higher in as social media channels move more and more towards video. So thinking of Instagram stories on Facebook and I'm sorry, Snapchat and then stories on Instagram and Facebook that it's a lot easier to make generalizations or, um, "us and them" type statements when you're talking to your phone instead of when you're talking to a person. Right. Uh, and so one of the strategies that professional social media managers use when a user comments on a, on a post on a page that's um, in a way that, um, is a really aggressive or hostile comment that might have some actual, there might be some truth in it, some weight to it. But the one strategy that I use and others use is to try and take that conversation offline. So not going back and forth in comments but inviting a phone call or an in person meeting to sit down and have that conversation because it's going to be a lot more productive and effective because you can go back and forth in the moment and not have to stew about what you're saying as you're waiting for a response. And I have taken that same approach in the way that I engage personally on social media. That if there is you, you know, thinking about my face on Facebook, so people that I care about, cause I was the only people I'm friends with on Facebook are people that I actually personal relationship with. When people want to engage in some like, so I'll put something on my Facebook and somebody comments in a way that becomes a divisive, uh, conversation. I don't, I don't debate in that space and I will invite a coffee or a phone call to have that conversation and will not engage in that in social media.

Renee: Do you leave the comments on your posts?

Keith: I do because, um, I don't tend to, on my personal Facebook, have people, um, swearing at each other or being vile. When that happens, I take them off on my, on my personal Facebook page, whole different set of laws dictate what a government page can do.

Renee: And I really am asking, uh, I've never had that experience right where there's been really mean vile, polarized comments in something that I posted.

Keith: I do not post things that tend to encourage that type of conversation to start with. And so when oftentimes you think about the types of posts that get that response or posts that are already overgeneralizations or like a line in the sand, "This is how it is. My way or the highway," and that's just not how I roll. And so I don't get that type of response.

Renee: Most of the time I post pictures of aquariums that can really hurt people. Double edge sword. [laughter]

Keith: Any kind of last minute wrap up?

Renee: I love that our conversation about unlearning loneliness has really talked about knowing yourself, being a, being, knowing yourself, being okay with knowing yourself, being okay with maybe challenging some of the things that you're thinking, feeling, doing, talking to somebody about it. I'm all in the spirit of having a healthy relationship, healthy engagement with social media so that you're using it, um, to be your best self, to make life better, not to track. Absolutely. That's great.

Keith: I'm Keith.

Kate: I'm Kate.

Renee: I'm Renee, and it's okay if you're not okay.