The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

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By Forrest Hershberger
View From The Handlebars 

Adapting Communication Methods


January 20, 2021 | View PDF

A protest turned riot and almost in the same breath social media platforms showed how private they truly are.

Twitter and Facebook banned Trump and most anything that supported him or his ideas. This might be a short-lived grandstanding as Twitter’s stock fell by at least 10 percent within the first few days of the decision.

Maybe society needs to look at this strategically. What happens when a storm hits and cell service is suspended? After the shock and frustration wears off, there’s the books, the DVDs, the coffee shops. There is the option of going “old school” when technology is suspended for whatever reason.

I started gravitating toward coffee shops — various definitions of eateries with a flow of people — several years ago. Maybe part of it is recalling scenes from my college days when the cafeteria, pub or hamburger stand was less about the menu and more about the exchange of ideas and experiences.

For as much as universities promote the classes of curriculum, sometimes the best education happens after the lecture is over. Think about it. Students are encouraged to see the world beyond what they know, expand their horizons, to sound cliche. Lectures and classroom interactions do that, but so does an endless cup of caffeine and a fifth quarter review of the previous hour.

It is the coffee shop experience.

Since those youthful days, the coffee shop experience has included casually observing people with my own keyboard and creativity taking place. The table was rarely closed, usually open to anyone who would stop with a greeting or conversation. Sometimes I would see friends, peers or readers who stopped for their morning boost and happened to see me at a table. To this day, some of the adventure is who will enter my day and what story they have to share.

That experience has continued to our current location. It is the education that occurs when two people meet. The acknowledgement of the coronavirus encouraged people to stay at home more, rely on video conferencing and cover our faces when in public. Question: how many times when talking with someone do you learn more by how he or she acts, the expression on their face, than in what is actually said? Maybe we need to come back to center, even at the cost of stepping back in time. Disconnect enough we actually hear what other people are saying and feeling.

There was a question on a social media platform recently that reminds me of a song title: “Dear Younger Me.” The question was “If you could give one piece of advice to young adults to succeed, what would it be?”

Quite honestly, the question has a variable that needs addressed. What is success? Is it having a yard bigger than a golf course, a house that needs a staff to maintain it, or is it as simple as developing contentment? Do we lose our definition of success when we peer across the neighbor’s fence or do we appreciate their successes with them? Too often we, people in general, define success as “one more,” regardless of what it is. We forget the quest comes at a price. The 70-hour weeks means missing basketball games and music recitals. It means relationships that are often defined in the boardroom and missing the relaxing moments walking in the park, workouts in the gym or disregarding the planner for an afternoon coffee.

Maybe, just maybe, the reality of how vulnerable and controlled social media is will remind us of how important one on one relationships are. What value is a healthy existence if we have no one to share it with?


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