I recently wrote on a piece on 5 Steps to Using Twitter and Facebook Consciously, and decided as a follow-up to explore mindful tweeting.
Considering more of us are spending an increasing amount of time on sites like Twitter, it seems prudent to ask how we can make that time, particularly when we are posting (or tweeting), a mindful rather than a mindless act. In other words, how can we bring our full attention to this process such that it adds to rather than diminishes the quality of our life?
Below is my take. Some of this, of course, is likely just as relevant to posting on Facebook and other social networks.
1) Bring Awareness to Your Body Posture
"Mr. Duffy lived a short distance from his body." -- James Joyce, describing a character in Ulysses
One can certainly be mindful in any posture, but I notice that when I am tweeting and my body is hunched over, jaw tight, and eyes peeled to the screen, I am generally not very mindful. I am usually completely lost in my thoughts, and later that day a sore neck and back reinforce this fact. The first element of mindful tweeting is to notice body posture.
Awareness of body posture is different than judging or even correcting, but instead involves bringing awareness to our body when we are tweeting. Once we do so, we can adjust our posture as needed, but rather than view posture as good and bad -- you were sitting "wrongly" and now you need to sit "correctly" -- instead bring awareness to your body posture as you tweet, and let that awareness guide any change of movement, if there needs to be any. Awareness, more than following ideas of right and wrong, is the point.
2) Balance Inner and Outer Awareness
"The biggest (and hardest) lesson I've learned in life is that the external world is just a reflection of the world within." -- Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos
Related to this is balancing inner and outer awareness. The tendency, for most of us, is to focus on the external more than the internal. We are not aware, for example, of our breath as we tweet; all our attention is consumed with getting our post up. However, an imbalanced "inner" is likely to produce unclear and unhelpful actions in the "outer," including our tweets.
We can be aware of the act of typing when tweeting, and also aware of our inner state, including our breath. Awareness of the breath helps to stable and focus the mind no matter the action, even tweeting. A harmonious inner inevitably helps support a harmonious outer.
3) Trust Silence
"Do not speak unless you can improve on silence. " -- Native American Indian saying
The third is to make space for and trust moments of silence or non-doing. When composing a tweet, for example, can we allow there to be stillness, a pause, a time for reflection, or are we in a rush to get our words across? Is there a sense of haste, feeling that we must post immediately, or are we focused and patient?
A mindful approach to tweeting trusts and allows moments of pause. Rather than struggling to find the right words, we let the mind settle, and "calmly invite" rather than "hurriedly force" the tweet to come.
If Every Act Matters
There is a quote, often attributed to Gandhi, that reads, "What you do may seem unimportant, but it is very important that you do it."
Every act we make impacts the world. While we need to decide what acts to perform, possibly the real issue is not just what we decide to do, but how present we are when we do them. All these acts, after-all, make up our life. And if we are going to spend part of this precious life tweeting, it only makes sense to be present and show up for this act too.
Soren Gordhamer is the author of Wisdom 2.0: Ancient Secrets for the Creative and Constantly Connected (HarperOne, 2009). Website: http://www.sorengordhamer.com.