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                                                      Social Media…

Good afternoon dear reader & welcome to my world for another week. My typical weekend includes a Saturday of clearing up outstanding issues in my office & preparing for the following week. I then just about always go to my local swimming pool, where I swim four days a week; isolate myself in a room with a byke  for an hour & read my NBR for 30~33 kms. Some of you may be thinking, goodness, a man who can do two things ate once…

Last weekend I had the pleasure of reading an excellent article by Jacqueline Rowarth in the National Business Review. It covered predominately many areas of social media & the implications on both business & society in general. It was also her farewell & last article her readers & I will have the pleasure of enjoying after 12 years of excellent contributions. Accordingly, I thought to drop her a note by email. My thoughts are now replicated here this week my friends:

Hello Jacqueline,
I read with some sadness of your final article in the NBR this weekend. I will retain fond memories of many an excellent missive I have read from you over the last 12 years. And to conclude with a superb item on social media & the “degeneration into ‘spreading poison’. “

We have a small insurance business here in Nelson & I also write a weekly newsletter (blog if you like), for the last 11 years, which I still like to consider, to use your delightful expression, as an “outlet for thoughtful & insightful ideas”.
This I consider ii also part of my relaxation strategy & typically with a leadership leaning & inspirational focus (for want of a better term).
Personally I believe the biggest problems facing our country & therefore economy today fall into three categories, I fondly refer to as the three ‘Ps’ of:
Productivity, Poverty & pitifully poor engagement levels. You wrote on this topic also back on September 15th.
To a large degree, I feel this is a result of the advances in technology & as you refer social media issues where the development has exceeded our ability to actually perform.
Sure, there are areas performing well. Air New Zealand service has improved exponentially for example. Regretfully however, many corporates no longer apologize for delays in responding to telephone calls, rather refer you to their web site which simply takes time & therefore reduces further our productivity. Intellectual capital has been decimated in favour of anecdotal benefits yet to be proven, & the social implications of people on the scrap heap after what they considered a life time career with nowhere to go & no skills to get there. And who cares, Salvation Army & churches do, but many in our secular society unfortunately, disapproves of their availability now. Even on Page 10 of the NBR this weekend we have a chap from Stanford University telling us electric cars will take over in four years & car-related jobs will vanish in seven years… However, what about the people, he tangata, he tangata, he tangata, it is all about people, the people, the people ~ obviously not as there is no reference to resulting outcomes.
As you say, “Enlightenment will require effort on the part of parents (who with respect, do not know how), teachers (who have other priorities, including administrative bureaucracies, or do not care) & employers (many of whom are struggling themselves just keeping the head above water ~ & do not start me on compliance) in an attempt to refocus people on the benefits of concentration & immersion…”
I agree “further progress depends on it”, regretfully I am unsure if we are up for it.
Our small business won the Chamber of Commerce Customer service Excellence Award three weeks back ~ I am a believer of ZAG ZIGGING when everyone is doing the latest Zig Zag.
I, or one of my people, contact every one of our customers personally at least annually, if not more often. Telephone now & the call will most probably be answered, or responded to within an hour. Contact a corporate competitor now on the same topic & be referred to a web site…
The “dream of enlightenment”, is here, it is the future, in my little world; regretfully I am unsure if we as a culture & with current values have the willingness to go back, reflect or even change direction.
My apologies for going on a little, but your writing has always inspired me ~ this, I will miss.
With my very best wishes.

To my absolute delight & pleasure I received the courtesy of a reply:
How very kind of you to write in positive fashion.
I do very much appreciate the fact that you took time out to do so, and the fact it is positive means a great deal in the face of the social media avalanche. I have read your email with pleasure, and look forward to reading the newsletters. The dream of enlightenment – what a good vision. I’ll keep trying for it, but not through social media.
All best wishes

There is a choice my friends. Regretfully, I believe our culture is heading down a totally different path & journey, to who knows where. I guess perhaps we will see the social implications as they develop.

Thank you for taking the time to be with me once again. I hope my journey may encourage you also. This is Kenn Butler in Paradise, Nelson, with my best wishes for the week ahead. I look forward to being with you all again next weekend.

Inspiration from Dr Jacqueline Sara Rowarth is Chief Scientist at the Environmental Protection Authority. She has a recognised history in academia and has a strong public profile as a science communicator. I have a copy of the NBR article & I am sure both Jacqueline & NBR will be happy for me share with you if you are unable to obtain on-line.

Kenn Butler
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