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Contemplative Twitter, or #co-tw2

Picture 1 I've just finished taking part in an experiment on Twitter initiated by the consummate Techno Shaman George Por. The idea and instructions were posted online, and the invitation was sent out through the Presencing Institute's online community site yesterday afternoon, but for those of you who like their news delivered directly, here's the gist: it was a one hour experiment laid out in four 15 minute segments – the first of which was to contemplate the following question in silence, somewhere away from our computer screens: "What is needed for openness and dialogue through tweets to scale and affect positive change in consciousness and society?

In our next 15 minutes we shared any "fine fishes" that we'd "caught in our stream of consciousness" during our contemplation, tagging them with #co-tw1. Then we spent 15 minutes reading what others had written and the last quarter of the hour in summarizing or re-tweeting those ideas that had stood out for us, and what the experience had been like (#co-tw2).

I thought it was a very successful way to enliven the potential of social media, and it made me feel great; like I am not the only one who cares about the seeds of intention and consciousness we plant in these powerful tools of global communication.

So, not only was it an invitation into collective awareness and collaborative meaning-making, but many of the ideas that emerged might trigger further reflection – in me, in you, on FaceBook, where all my tweets go automatically, and who knows where else the light beams from this multi-faceted prism may travel. Here are some of the sparks:

"Collective organs of sensing and meaning-making nurture our self-organizing collective consciousness, intelligence & wisdom."
~ TechnoShaman

"The emergence of an evolutionary worldview serves as attractor for community and cohering action"
~ TechnoShaman

"Changing the culture of social media from trivia and marketing to one of depth and true significance."
~ AmySue102

"The unfettered heart's call to connect with others and the collective urge to create shared meaning will lead this"
~ AmySue102

"During the 1st 15 mins it was important 2 let go of the question & tune into its spirit / let that spirit emerge"
~ Mushin

"Letting go of all possible results, including scaling, intelligence or wisdom, or any view whatsoever to be open for the Emergent"
~ Mushin

"Coherent intent creates resonance, brings signals into alignment, radiates outwards"
~ IdeaHive

"Hearing nature expressed in so many birdsongs while contemplating "tweets", dialogue, positive change in the world"
~ Cleeengel

"Clear: intention, purpose, alignment Across: chasms, media, boundaries Letting go: into emergent, depth, collective sensing"
~ Cleeengel

Digital Mindfullness

Godblog
As part of my recent focus on living a more balanced life (as opposed to continuing on in the over-scheduled madness of what I will now call "my past"), I'm implementing a number of practices to sustain my good intentions.

These include giving myself more time to read, one of the elemental pleasures of my “real life” (the one I've decided to claim), and what is perhaps even more exquisite, to talk about what I’m reading with other intelligent human beings (that's you! :-).

To this end, I recently caught up with several articles I’d laid aside until there was "time" for them… and I found some interesting correspondences between them.

Reading a piece on digital identity and security in the New York Times, "Brave New World of Digital Intimacy" by Clive Thompson, the last few paragraphs piqued my interest:

“It is easy to become unsettled by privacy-eroding aspects of awareness tools. But there is another — quite different — result of all this incessant updating: a culture of people who know much more about themselves.

Many of the avid Twitterers, Flickrers and Facebook users I interviewed described an unexpected side-effect of constant self-disclosure. The act of stopping several times a day to observe what you’re feeling or thinking can become, after weeks and weeks, a sort of philosophical act. It’s like the Greek dictum to “know thyself,” or the therapeutic concept of mindfulness. (Indeed, the question that floats eternally at the top of Twitter’s Web site — “What are you doing?” — can come to seem existentially freighted. What are you doing?)

Having an audience can make the self-reflection even more acute, since, as my interviewees noted, they’re trying to describe their activities in a way that is not only accurate but also interesting to others: the status update as a literary form.”

What a marvelous observation and an altogether different perspective on the opportunities opened up by web 2.0…

I've certainly found that writing regular blog posts increases the depth of my own self-knowledge and understanding; why not extend that mindfulness further and consciously apply the same self-awareness in some of my other digital communications? 

Then, in the latest Shambhala Sun, an article from Pema Chodron, called “Waking up to Your World”:

“One of the most effective means for working with that moment when we see the gathering storm of our habitual tendencies is the practice of pausing, or creating a gap. We can stop and take three conscious breaths, and the world has a chance to open up to us in that gap. We can allow space into our state of mind.”

This strikes me as a distinct window for opening the opportunity inherent in Twitter's question "What am I doing?" as the ultimate mindfulness exercise.

I've mentioned my "slow work" group; one of the members has been using the practice Pema suggests throughout his day as a way to stay awake to the habitual patterns of his normal workday, and interestingly he is also just discovering the world of social media and beginning to Twitter. The other day he told me about a group of people on Ning who are using Twitter to aid them in a similar mindfulness practice, as a way to check in and support each other throughout the day. They're called Twit2Fit.

There are of course all kinds of purposes to which one can put social media, but using Twitter to develop self- awareness brings a whole new dimension to the digital evolution.

Social Media & Contact Links

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Here are links for contacting me and finding me on various social media.
I welcome inquiries about my work in design and online communication and/or conversation about what you find beautiful.

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