Easter - 2018

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Communication Skill Change as a result of Social Media

Has social media changed the interaction with people in our communication skills?

I define communication as a transactional process unique in human beings by the exchange of symbols through verbal and non-verbal languages. For example, when I communicate with someone else, I am transacting symbols of communication with the other person and expect some response. The transaction continues as the person responds and the process continually builds on what was previously transacted.

If we agree on the definition of communication, then is there a change within our scope of the communication transaction as a result of social media? I believe there is and the first step in improving our communication skills is in acknowledging the changes.

A good case study is how our society has changed in the usage of magazine publication which was once a huge print business in the world. A good review of the impact on the magazine publishing world is written by Parul Jain, Zulfia Zaher, and Enakshi Roy in Magazines and Social Media Journal of Magazine & New Media Research. The title of their research and finding is Magazines and Social Media Platforms: Strategies for Enhancing User Engagement and Implications for Publishers. (3Vol. 17, No. 2 Winter 2017).

A few highlights of their work that I found worth noting for our question are:
  • “Most stakeholders expect organizations to have some presence on social media platforms, and a lack of it is considered unacceptable and non-normative in this day and age” (page 2). 
  • “Given the nature of social media platforms, an audience that engages with magazines can critique the content put forth by the magazine, create new content on that magazine’s social pages, interact with fellow readers, and express both positive and negative emotions online” (page 3).
Jain, Zaher, and Roy make a noteworthy quote for our question from Malthouse, Calder, and Eadie:
  • "Less engaged customer would be one who merely provides simple feedback, such as 'liking' an image on a social media platform, while a more engaged customer would be one who “actively engages in co-creation,” such as producing content for the brand"2 (page 4).
As we examine the changes in communication, we must also accept the use of social media platforms is a diverse field. In 2015 Magazine Publication Associate reported of the top five followed/liked magazine brands on media National Geographic and Vogue were listed. Interestingly, the vast diversity in the magazine’s primary theme was also reflected in the diversity of the platform in which the user was engaging the magazine in a social media setting. Which I see as a direct tie-in with Jain, Zaher, and Roy’s earlier statements that: “one of the main motivations for engaging with a magazine on social media was the accessibility of magazines across multiple social media platforms and various devices” (page 11).

In response, Jain, Zaher and Roy concluded: “Our findings suggest that the participants gratify different needs (such as home d├ęcor and fashion) utilizing specific platforms that are more likely to cater to those needs” (page 16). Another response is: “Magazine readers expect publishers to maintain an engaging and relevant social media presence” (page 18).

The changes are not limited to magazine publishing. The above is simply one case study which illustrates the larger truth: Social Media has change the scope of our communication skills. We are no longer a society focusing on one medium such as a magazine, newspaper, journal, or media outlet to access information. Social media allows for the reader to share the information across large audiences through their social media platforms. Communication as a transaction is evolving with the digital age. Social media expands readers access as well as allowing a reader to look beyond the vast material to a specific search criteria. It would appear as a result of social media, our communication skills are growing and increasing for the better while making “it is a small world after all.”

There is one thing that has not changed ... You know I love ya, Don

1. Parul Jain, Zulfia Zaher, Enakshi Roy, Magazines and Social Media Platforms: Strategies for Enhancing User Engagement and Implications for Publishers. Magazines and Social Media Journal of Magazine & New Media Research. 3Vol. 17, No. 2 • Winter 2017

2. Edward C. Malthouse, Bobby J. Calder, and Wayne P. Eadie, “Conceptualizing and measuring magazine reader experiences” (presentation, Worldwide Readership Symposium, Cambridge, MA,2003),285–306.


Sunday, April 14, 2019

Easter: A few reasons why it is the greatest day!

Easter is the day we celebrate the events that changed all of ETERNITY! Easter the Greatest day that ever dawn, from the greatest story ever told of the great life ever lived…Jesus has risen and he is alive working among his people. 
           The what of Easter is very important, but the WHY of Easter is Amazing. We know the details of his death and resurrection, but do we know “why” this is the greatest day that ever dawn?

Easter is a great day of celebration. Yes, Jesus suffered greatly under the passion of his purpose in going to Jerusalem. Yes, he struggled under the weight of doubt and fear of his disciples. Yes, Jesus pleaded with his friends to be with him as he experienced great sorrow and grief. Yes, Jesus was flogged and beaten to the point that his intestines were exposed and his flesh was torn from his body. Yes, he was exhausted from the lake of sleep for 48 hours and a illegal trial in the middle of the night. Yes, Jesus was forced to carry a wooden cross over the bleeding flesh through dirty, dusty, and crowded streets of jeers and curses. Yes, they took nail spikes and drove them through his flesh and feet in order to pin him to the cross. Yes, Jesus was naked, humiliated, and lifted up for all to see and treated as a criminal. Yes, Jesus was rejected and insulted. AND YES, because of our sin…Jesus was forced to be separated from His father God which was the hardest part of all…all these facts are important and devastating.
BUT, the most amazing thing is why he willing offered himself as a sacrifice. This was not another execution…but that Jesus was willing to take the blame. Jesus was willing to be our Sacrificial Lamb. Jesus takes everyone one a journey to the Cross… He did all this because He LOVES US….HE LOVES ME…HE LOVES YOU!
             You see the “what” of the tomb is that it is there that Jesus put all death, destruction, and sin to rest…the “why” of the tomb is because “God so loved!”  John 3:16, “For God So Loved!” God didn’t just love us…He SO loved us. God’s love is agape love. Agape is selfless, sacrificial, unconditional love, the highest of the types of love. 1 John 4:11 states: “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”
          Max Lucado tries to capture the depth of Jesus’ love in with these words: “He’d rather go to hell for you than go to heaven without you.” The hardship of life is transformed by the "why" of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. The "what" of Death…the "why" is Deep Love. 
You Know I Love ya...and Easter is the greatest day ever! Don 

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Persistent Endurance ... the lessons of water.

Ravi B - Flowing (Vibezy Riddim) "2015 Trinidad Soca". - https://penitent.deviantart.com/art/Water-Flowing-22215255
Persistence is defined as continuance till the end. And endurance is defined as using strength to continue despite pain and fatigue. The difference between the two is that persistence is remaining steady in hopes to finish while endurance is bearing pain so that you can finish. Yet, great power emerges when we combine the two elements. The successful possess a persistent endurance against the hardest situations.

I am always amazed at water. The combination of two hydrogen and one oxygen creat a powerful force. It is the model of persistence endurance. Water has a way of pushing through amazing obstacles, one drip at a time. There have been many instances where what seemed to be an insignificant drip was really a tiny part of a larger body of water pushing through a little at a time. Water is also very adaptable to what it wants to accomplish. Water can be calm and peaceful, but become raging and destructive. A lake can rise inch by inch and suddenly become a flood. A bay can combine with wind to be an agitator and bulldozer.

Imagine our lives as if it were more like water. We could be determined to push through our obstacles to serve whether by peace or by force. Water can trickle along gently, flowing across pebbles and shaping them as we move over them. Water changes things...persistent endurance changes things. It exerts gentle pressure over time and softens hard rocks into rounded pebbles. Water combines with others to gain power. A stream joins with other streams to make a river. A river combines with other rivers to make its way to an ocean. Water is not satisfied with being a mere drop, but makes its way drop by drop to being a grand ocean.We are best when we work together as one.

Water carries things. It carries life along its banks. It carries progress from place to place. Water moves people and things from where they are to where they need to be. The persistence of successful people ... serve others ... Serving with persistence is not about the “me,” serving with persistence is about clinging to the hope of our dream by serving the “THEM.” Much like water as it flows carving out landscapes and bring vital hydration to the land.

Water is a change agent. It changes barren lands to fertile grounds. It can cut off or it can bring together. Water changes the power balance. Water rises to the occasion. When life pours too much in it, it just finds new paths for it to flourish. When life tries to contain it, water pushes through to where it wants to go.

Successful people ... become more like water. Water is persistent. Successful people are persistent as well. Those who desire success can learn from water and move towards goals, one step at a time. Goals will not be reached overnight, but through the diligence of continued steps. The combine strengths with others forms alliances which propels the successful to where we want to go.

Indulge me while I suggest: When we add and multiply our strengths, we will eventually overflow our present boundaries and flow out into our full destiny. We need to carry ourselves from dream to reality to prosperity by flowing in persistent endurance in our daily living. We should not be satisfied with stagnancy, but keep current flowing and keep moving toward a life full of productivity and creativity and fruitfulness.

Most of all, we should be full of life. Full of life-giving nourishment. Full of life-giving hydration. We should add to, not take away from. We should rejuvenate, not suck the life out of others’ dreams. We should bring forth creativity, not stifle. We should saturate life with details while living in appreciation of distance gained in flexibility.

If ever we need encouragement, we should think about a drop of water and ponder about how water gets where it wants to, drop by drop, building pressure that eventually results in a breakthrough. There is so much power in a drop of water. It is just the beginning. It is only the promise of what is yet to come. You are a only at your beginning and the promise of what is yet to come is achieved in persistent endurance toward your goal.

If a drop of water can move a mountain through persistent endurance, then surely we can serve through the method of persistence and move the mountains on our journey.
You know I love ya, Don

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Leading with Honor and Integrity

"The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office.” – Dwight D Eisenhower

“Honesty and integrity are by far the most important assets of an entrepreneur.”
                                                                                                 – Zig Ziglar

When I think of honor and integrity as valued personality and character traits of a leader, I do not simply refer to sincerity or honesty. Integrity’s essence is derived from the root definitions: entireness, wholeness, soundness. Honor as it is added to integrity extends through the inner core and wholeness of the character of the individual and the organization. It is found in small matters as well as great; for the allegiance of the soul to truth is tested by small things rather than by those which are more important. These are the building stones to which a person rises out of mediocre living to mighty influence throughout the world.

We think that we hate the lack of honor and integrity when we are only hating the consequences resulting in the absence of honor and integrity. We resent hypocrisy, negligent ethics, treachery and deception, not because they are untrue, but because they harm us and harm the culture around us. We hate the falseness of fake integrity, but we are half pleased with the false praise. It is evidently not the element of untruth here that is displeasing, but the element of harmfulness. Thus, the only genuine response is a deep commitment to honor, integrity and higher standards which are often the harder road and more often underappreciated, but the consequential outcome rises to greatness.

Diligence and hard work in maintaining honor and integrity as it relates to our personal lives, as well as to the organizations we serve, produces great success to which every participant gains a proud legacy. These personality traits find root with the leader. It is essential for leaders of our homes, organizations, and corporations to frame honor and integrity around every endeavor of life. These individuals produce a dynamic culture which anticipates honor and integrity in everyone. I agree with Amy Lyman when she writes: “When a trustworthy leader acts with humility, is respectful of others and uses the power of his position and his personal power to benefit others, then he is honorable. And his integrity to those qualities is admirable.”[1] The perception is paradoxical, but the reality is everyone benefits and the person leading the charge establishes a “wholeness” and “completeness” legacy.

Within a world where compromise is the norm, fake news is in many conversations, social media produces one-line rants, and families are seeking genuine authenticity; the world is also passionately pleading for honor and integrity. We must recoil from the deceptions of sensational and easy paths. It is our task to strive for greatness as leaders who fight vigorously for honor and integrity while rejecting untruth as untruth: who resents the smooth and polished falsehood of society which does no immediate harm, but deceives the excellence of life. We must respond to the plea with credibility, respect, and fairness. It is then we will be known as leaders who possessed the valued personality traits of honor and integrity. 

You know I love ya, Don

[1]. Amy Lyman, PhD. “Leading with Honor and Integrity.” The Trustworthy Leader, 12 Nov. 2012, http://www.trustworthyleader.org/eng/Blog/8_Leading-with-Honor-and-Integrity.html.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Prioritizing Priorities

We are all challenged with prioritizing our priorities. A priority is “A Valuable”  which is regarded as more important than another “Valuable.” So, how are you are putting the most valuable thing at the top are your list?

Let me illustrate ... Many years ago, two River paddle boats left Memphis about the same time. They traveled down the Mississippi River to New Orleans. As they traveled side-by-side, sailors from one ship taunted the sailors of the other about their snail’s pace. Words were exchanged. Challenges were made. And the race began. Competition became vicious as the two boats roared through the Deep South. One boat began falling behind because the boat did not posses enough fuel. There had plenty of coal for the trip, but not enough for a race. As one boat dropped back, an enterprising young sailor began to take the ship’s cargo and toss it into the boiler. The sailors saw that the supplies burned as well as the coal. So, they fueled their boat with the material they’d been assigned to transport. They ended up winning the race, by destroying their cargo.

My friends, we can never forget God is our first-priority as it relates to the closeness of God. It is easy to step into the social relevance of Christianity as it relates to the needy world around us…only to make our social, benevolent, and mission work our priority and also…our god. Our allegiance is to God and God alone … all other priorities must serve our first-priority. Any other choice is burning the cargo to win the race…only to loose the purpose of the journey.
John 14:21, “Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them."

Matthew 6:33, "Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”  

Always working to keep the priorities in focus ... you know I love ya, Don 

Sunday, May 14, 2017

We have an ego ... how do you use it!

If you don’t think you are conscience of your ego, you are mistaken. Everyone is predisposed to ego and vanity and pride. Yes, everyone!!!!

If you don’t think your ego is selfish…take a group picture and who is the first person you look for? YOU!!! The picture could be a perfect group photo of everyone else…but your eyes are closed or you did not smile…and it is a terrible picture.

The opposite is true as well … If you are the only one in the picture smiling, everyone else is frowning, eyes are closed, and someone could be having a heart attack over on the side, but you look great… and you say, “Oh wow! That is a great picture. Send me a copy of that, lets post that picture on Facebook!!!”

Human beings are driven by our egos and God followers use their ego to reach out for humility. 1 Peter 5:5 quotes Proverbs with “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Our self awareness is an opportunity to demonstrate a greater existence by thinking of others before ourselves. 

You know I love ya, Don

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Is the Entire Bible Inspired?

Marshall (See below for reference) explains the inspiration of the scriptures as a statement of encouragement for those struggling and searching for hope in the final days. He states: "Here the reference is to the appropriate passages in the Old Testament, whose reliability rests on the fact that they were not written by persons following their own ideas but by people who were inspired by the Spirit to a correct understanding of what God was saying to them" (pp. 672–673).

 Does Marshall think there is a limit to this text as it relates to the inspiration of the scriptures? After reading Marshall, I do not think he would limit the work of or the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to a specific text or to just the OT. It is critical to remember the audience of 2 Peter would not have possessed the NT Canon. The question arises; does the inspiration apply to all 66 books of the Bible?

To answer the question, the 21st century reader must not neglect 2 Pet 1.19: "And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts ..." (ESV) The inspiration of the scriptures, both OT and NT, serve the purpose of a lamp shining in a dark place so that the morning star might rise in our hearts. Remaining faithful in the final days is the specific application of 2 Peter. Yet, this same principle can apply throughout the Bible.

The rule for a reader 2000 year later is to avoid reading into the text more than it says while finding inspiration for application to our modern culture. May we never neglect the reading of the word and application to our hearts. You know I love ya, Don

Marshall, I. H. (2004). New Testament theology: many witnesses, one Gospel (p. 672). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.