📝 Notes for the Curious: Edition #71


I spent this week in Berlin with the Facebook Community Team as part of the Facebook Community Leadership Circles program. It was a chance to bring together nearly 100 participants from 43 countries who between us represent groups which connect 430,000,000 people globally. Isn’t that incredible? From 100 to 430,000,000 in just one room. This is why I truly believe that no one person is ever too small to create impact in the world. All you need to do is start. Out there, there will be other people who notice what you are doing, like the way you are doing it and want to join you. Those people will bring more people, who bring more people, until you are no longer one, you are many and the power of many in action is a sight to behold. I was there as a participant but also to speak on the topic of Managing Conflict for Community Leaders. It has been a highlight of my year and a gift at the end of such a challenging time.

I’m considering, still, where I want 2019 to take me and I am getting more comfortable with not having as many plans as I might have done in previous years. Every year I take time over the festive season to complete Susannah Conway’s Unravel workbook. It helps me to review the year that’s been and start some deeper thinking for the year to come. How will you be closing out your year? Do you have a ritual that you use every year? If not, maybe now is the time to start.

Now, let’s get on with the last Notes of the year…

1) Connected but alone

Humans have never been more connected. Technology has changed how we experience interactions in our world. Yet, we have never felt so alone. My work in community has always come from a deep personal understanding of what it means to feel lonely and a desire to ensure that others have a way to feel less isolated in the world. Loneliness is now such a serious problem that it is being tackled at a governmental level in a number of countries. Loneliness is dangerous, but it mustn’t be confused with solitude. Being alone, the ability to sit quietly with yourself is another skill that we are losing in our fast-paced hyper-connected world where we are never more than a scroll away from another person. It’s time to reconnect with solitude.

2) Make more time for yourself

At this time of year, the idea of time for yourself might seem laughable but it is so, so important. Use these three steps to claim some of your time back.

3) Don’t take it personally

I’ve always hated that advice, because although it is true, it doesn’t help. When you feel attacked then it is really difficult to separate out your personal feelings from what is happening. I do firmly agree with the advice in this article and I hope it is also helpful to you if, like me, you are occasionally the target of other people’s drama.

4) Red Table Talk

I am mildly (ok, totally) obsessed with Red Table Talk on Facebook. It is part of Facebook Watch, the company’s entry into the original programming, video on demand market. I had been skeptical about this effort until I saw the Humans of New York: The Series last year and with the launch of Red Table Talk I have become very interested indeed. Red Table Talk covers the conversations I wish we could be having more broadly in online society but based on nine years of watching people interact online, I know that is not possible right now. I think that the reason I eagerly await each episode is that I am hungry for these deeper conversations. So much of what we consume is surface level and superficial. It is content for the sake of content, just filling our 24 hour media consumption. Something I want to dive into more next year is why we can’t create spaces online that are safe enough to have these conversations at scale and whether we will ever be able to change that. Until then, try an episode of Red Table Talk. Let me know what you think.

5) Is society making us sick?

Johan Hari thinks that it is. In this enlightening interview with Ezra Klein they dig into the intersection between society and mental health. I’ve been very open about having endured episodes of depression in the past and a burnout in 2014. I’ve long understood that depression is part biological and part environmental but we tend to focus mostly on the biological cures. This is a great podcast to listen to over the festive break while you plot how to bring some more calm and balance into your 2019 as well as what external stimuli you may want to be staying away from. Here’s to a healthier, happier new year.

Until the next Notes,


P.S. The next edition of Notes for the Curious will be our annual round-up of all your favourite articles from the Notes in 2018. As a data-geek I track the articles you click on most and store them away like a magpie to help me search for more things you will enjoy reading in future Notes. Can you guess which ones were most popular this year? You can find the 2017 round-up here. Remember, the round-up is a bonus edition of the Notes, after that we return to our regular publication pattern of every two weeks for 2019.

Who am I and who do I help? I’m Emmy McCarthy and I make small businesses better and help people create leadership in their communities.

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