Connecting to the Social Media Pendulum
Mark [0:00] I’d like to welcome Zoe Hollingsworth from Creative Geelong who’s a co-worker here and also runs her own businesses, Video Conference coach and Podcast Extraordinaire. Welcome Zoe and thank you for being part of the Heart of Connection podcast.
Zoe [0:16] Thank you so much for having me. Oh, I feel the field inside and like just reading out that little bio. Like Oh My God. Right, that’s me, okay hi.
Mark [0:26] How are you?
Zoe [0:27] Doing pretty well. It’s just like getting into – we’re currently in the Creative Geelong studio space at the
moment. I haven’t been in this little box area with all the padded lining in a little bit. Then once you get in here, you sit down, you close the door, and you realize Oh, this is what silence feels like.
Mark [0:50] And I must say from doing, you know, I record a lot but I move around. This apart from K Rock would have to be one of the quietest places I’ve conducted a podcast recording. So thank you for the opportunity to sit here and have a conversation with you about a connection to Self, Others and “All That Is.”
Zoe [1:12] No, thank you so much for coming.
What Does Connection Mean?
Mark [1:13] My pleasure. So Zoe in terms of connection, what does the connection to mean? How – when we’re talking about connection, it’s a pretty important concept in the world so they say?
Zoe [1:28] Yeah, connection to me usually, you default into like, you know, the definition of what that actually means. But to me, it feels like reaction and actually understanding people on a human level. Not just as what they do or what they say actually reacting to them as a human. Like for example, one thing that’s always been commented about and my friends and my family and a little my clients is that I make them laugh. Because, well then what type of connection is there other than laughter because that’s a universal trope of everyone understands. When someone’s laughing, something’s funny. So then you gotta have some fun.
Having Fun, a Way to Connect
Mark [2:09] Is that a way to connect?
Zoe [2:11] Definitely. Bringing people to a level where they can feel open enough to start laughing, or actually have a genuine smile on the face. Like you can see it in their eyes and the crow’s feet, in their eyes when they’re actually smiling. That’s a deep connection, as opposed to just smiling or just being like, haha, that was a fake laugh, by the way. (Laughter). And that was a real one.
Mark [2:36] The opposite to obviously laughter is crying, the other side of the emotional scale. How do you connect to that side of life and what happens to you when you, unfortunately – yeah, sometimes we, unfortunately, need to connect to that side of ourselves? How do you manage that process in yourself and do you try to bring it back to laughter – how – what’s your balance?
My Learning Curve of Connecting to Emotions
Zoe [3:05] Well, I don’t like to admit it, but I don’t exactly have a process. I’ve always been taught since I was young to be tough, to be strong is to show no emotion. Secondary to that was positive emotions. Well, what we quote-unquote to believe is positive emotions. All human emotions are valid there. There’s no such thing as a positive or negative emotion. It’s just what’s happening at the time. And being able to frame my mindset into that idea of, ‘okay, I’m really sad and I’m crying right now’. But that’s not inherently a negative thing. It’s a positive thing that okay, I’m experiencing this. It’s going through me and it’s in say the past three to four months that I’ve been able to actually experience crying or sadness or actually come to terms with my depression or anything of those other aspects of my bipolar disorder, to understand. Okay, this is breathing, this is normal, let it wash over you and then get to a state of connection where you’re able to open up to other people and actually accept what they’re bringing to you. As opposed to just being like, okay, here’s my wall, you are not allowed on this side, I’m allowed on my side. You stay on your side.
Connecting to my Protective Walls
Mark [4:21] What is it like on your side of the wall? When you do have that?
Zoe [4:26] I’d like to say it’s pretty but it’s not.
Zoe [4:29] You know, the grass is greener on the other side, because when everything on your side is quote-unquote, falling apart. It’s actually not but you’re mentally perceiving that it’s falling apart. Everything looks kind of gloomy. And then, once you get – I hate to use the term, get over it.
Zoe [4:50] But once you recover from that state of being to be able to be at a level where – okay, I feel okay or I feel better than I was before. So I’m ready to take down that brick wall, brick by brick and actually start facing other people – starting to face through the day.
Connecting to Acceptance of My Vulnerability
Mark [5:15] Is that coming to a space of acceptance of your vulnerability when you’re doing that?
Zoe [5:20] Oh definitely. There were so many years that the idea of being vulnerable in front of someone or around someone. Oh, that was fear-inducing. That was like butterflies and you’re about bust out of your stomach – the idea of being vulnerable in front of someone. It’s like, oh, no, you can see I’m weak. Oh, no. Oh, no. You can hurt me even though why would you do that? But that’s the mentality and the thought of I can’t be in front and vulnerable in front of someone because they could hurt me.
Mark [5:52] This is really interesting because video coaching which is exposing yourself in front of lots of people via video, which is counterintuitive type thing.
Zoe [6:10] Counterintuitive.
Connecting to my Video Coaching
Mark [6:11] How does that work?
Zoe [6:13] Well, it does work after a while. But it’s once you get past that headspace. That’s one thing that I’ve learned that I’ve been able to actually provide that connection and provide that to people that ability to actually be vulnerable on the camera. Because a lot of people can be vulnerable to other people because we’re humans. Our memory is worse than a goldfish. Like, we only remember certain things and because our brains are so fallible, we can remember certain events a certain way. But with a camera its technology. It’s called – it’s that thing that will record everything, anything and everything that you previously pointed out. But it won’t, you know, blur out the wrinkles or it won’t make you look any thinner, it will actually show the world as is because that’s what the camera is doing – its technology. Being able to face up to that fact that yeah, this is what I look like, or yeah, this is how my energy level is today. Or, yeah, this is how I feel today, cameras reflecting that back at me. But because when we’re recording videos or recording podcasts or when we’re recording things for prosperity, we’re also recording them for other humans to consume, to listen to and to watch. And if you keep remembering the fact that there’s another human on the other side of the process. Then there is that inherent confidence of okay, I feel more relaxed because I know another human going to be seeing this.
Video – Acceptance of Self
Mark [7:48] Is there also as you’re doing it, is there an acceptance of yourself through the actual video because you’re seeing – your seeking your crow’s feet, seeing this and seeing that and I’m wondering has that process enabled you and facilitated for you the ability to come to a much better connection to acceptance of yourself?
Zoe [8:11] Definitely seeing all those things reflected back at you, whether you like it or not, is something that just brings you back to the core of your being. Which for a very long time, I didn’t want to do. I didn’t want to push that anywhere near me because I just want to look at the world. How an edited, highly edited, highly stylized way of looking at the world because that’s what I prefer to see. Until I actually realized that no view of the world is wrong. There’s no connection in that. There’s no inner human.
Zoe [8:47] I don’t to say humanity. There’s no real understanding of humanity in those type of edited, stylized view of the world. When you actually look at other people. When you look at the video, that someone you have doesn’t foreign of them. You know, when kids are running around – that’s natural, that’s normal. And that’s something that we as humans can actually connect to, because you’re actually showing the vulnerable self, as opposed to just being like, okay, I need to put this up. Very much like little analogy before.
Does Social Media Create Authenticity?
Mark [9:17] I wonder with the advent of social media, whether we’re actually now starting seeing more authenticity of people, rather than being telecast through TV shows. There’s much more realism now through the opportunity that social media has given us?
Zoe [9:33] Definitely have you ever heard of the pendulum effect. So whenever there’s either a new trend or a new fad, or a new state of being. So say, for example, in regards to Facebook, where when the first adopters, it’s a bit slow, the pendulums all the way at authentic. Just because there’s not a whole lot of internet, there’s not a whole lot of people, that’s fine. And then it violently swings the other way, where it’s all very much manufactured, very unauthentic, very stylized, because everyone’s trying really hard to look, you know, extra sexy, or whatever they’re trying to achieve. And then we’re slowly pushing back at the moment to that place of authenticity. Because we all want to go back to that stage go back to that ideology. Of course, we pick up the knowledge that we did from the unauthentic side, but on our way back to authenticity, that’s what people actually wanting and craving. And that’s the same that applies to any social media, any form of TV for example. TV is a bit slow on that whole coming back to normal authenticity. But that’s, we’ll work on that. But anything always has to go to the one extreme before it goes back to authenticity.
The swinging pendulum of Social Media
Mark [10:51] Whereabouts on the pendulum are we at the moment?
Zoe [10:55] I’d say imagining the authenticity on the right pendulum – sorry, the right side and then unauthenticity on the left side. I think we’re a little bit more in the middle. I’m sorry but in the middle. I think we’re off the middle, more on the unauthentic side. So say for example, at the moment would there’s still a lot of highly edited socialized – as a collective group we are moving towards authenticity and real human connection. But of course, as I said, we’ve still got all that baggage from being highly unauthentic and everything being manufactured. You know for the gram. For other peoples viewing pleasure. And say, for example, you can definitely see that on Facebook. Where Facebook is over 10 years old, and we’re moving back to the authenticity but it’s also losing a lot of people. Because of my combination of the stuff that they’ve been doing. But people kind of us losing that interest because they’ve got other platforms to on. They’ve got other platforms to be authentic on. They’ve got other groups and fans to be authentic with on other different platforms, while Facebook is kind of like, we’re still good. We’re still here. When they’ve already shown us that they can’t be authentic.
Connecting to the Pendulum of Unauthentic Social Media
Mark [12:18] Can you describe what happens to connection when it’s on the pendulum of unauthentic?
Zoe [12:25] So when it’s on unauthentic in regards to other human connection, you get a wave of people posting images or videos that are highly doctored. In the sense of, that’s not how the real person looks. You get an all highly authentic statement about how they’re feeling or how they – what they’re doing at the moment. To say for example, back in say 2014 there was a wave of people. I don’t want to say going into hospital, but they were being put into a rehabilitation facility because they would be saying. Let me rephrase that they would be going into hospital because they were harming themselves, they were hurting themselves. But online, they had the completely opposite persona that they were, you know, going out every night that they were, you know meeting up with friends and you know having a great time. And all these photos – like multiple a day posting up posting, posting up showing this world, they are crafted but in real life – that’s not what’s happening. They were actually disconnecting from everyone, and just disassociating to the point where they would actually hurt themselves. And that’s where the high unauthentic pendulum gets up too. And I’m sure all of us can think of examples of that type of thinking or maybe even know someone who’s been through that experience. When we’re currently coming back to the authentic side is people are actually taking social detoxes. People are taking that time to actually connect with their friends and their family before going on Facebook.
Social Media’s Impact on Mental Health
Mark [14:23] It opens up a question for me. What impact does it have on the mental health of the recipients of this social media?
Zoe [14:35] You learn to grow up quite quickly with any innovation of technology. The generations pick it up faster and faster and faster. And they learn essentially adult lessons quite early and a lot quicker and even the same for people who weren’t young when the social media giants came to prominence. Even other adults, they learned that there are just so many things that were, you know, outside of their control. And because there’s this whole other world out there of other people and not people with great intentions, you almost cut yourself off from meeting potentially new people because it’s that fear factor
Is Social Media a Pressure on Young People?
Mark [15:25] As someone at my stage of life, to me, I’d I would not like to have grown up in the social media foray. It seems – looking as an observer looking on the outside. There looks like a lot of pressure on young people to connect to themselves and to images and to themes that are pushed through social media. I’m wondering whether that’s a valid observation.
Zoe [15:57] No it’s definitely a valid observation.
Zoe [16:01] As I said that – an intensity of you have to grow up quite quickly. Because you know I think – I can’t remember what exact number it is. But I think it’s like 150 was the maximum amount of numbers in like a clan or a group for a very long period of time. Because that’s how many people we can, you know, keep together without ultimately trying to kill each other. To put it frankly.
Our Connection Numbers – Group & Tribes Sizes
Mark [16:26] It’s the average size of a tribe or something?
Zoe [16:28] Yeah, something like that. I could be wrong in regards to specific numbers, but it was something around the hundred and 50 numbers. But say, for example, small villages, groups of family and friends. Usually, that group is around about that size. But now you’re looking at, you know Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, all those places where you can have, you know, people reach up to 10,000, you know, friends of quote-unquote. You a million followers and all these things, which does sound like a lot of people, and that’s because it is. But then there’s a lot of that wave of authenticity coming through with bots with fake accounts with people with mal-intentions because you’ve got so many people coming into the mix. And for young people to try and work on that is something that humans haven’t had to deal with. Why would we? Why would we need to communicate with more than 150 people at a time to keep close to us or to have connections with? Because why would we need more people than that?
A Connection in the Disconnection
Mark [17:36] Sort of connection, but this disconnection? I’m not sure, yeah, it’s great for connection at one level. But I’m wondering what happens to them at that other level of the disconnect that? Yeah, you just look around now and you watch people in restaurants and young people. I have stepchildren children at the age of 20. And when you’re out with them socially, they’re all on their phone. They’re together, but they’re all on their phones. And yes, there’s a connection, but there’s a disconnection as well when they’ve been connected somewhere else. And I’m just wondering what that’s the impact that’s going to have on their ability to connect to themselves and as they age, start to see the reality and experience that reality what’s how are they going to manage that disconnection and how do they learn to reconnect to themselves in that disconnection?
Zoe [18:41] I think most people, no matter what age are going to experience that pendulum effect that you’re going so hard one way in regards to always on your phone, always on your devices. When the chance or the ability comes for you to just drop that and then swing the other way. It’s going to be a very dramatic change. So say, for example, there are always these talks about, you know, midlife crisis, and that type of thing where like everything switches and everything changes. Because in practice, and in theory, it was because you’ve gotten to that point where you spent too much time at one end of the pendulum that you have to violently swing to the other end to compensate for. You know, the disconnection or the, you know, the inherent disconnection just because of say, for example, there are some people, even myself, there have been times when I just I’m glued to my phone, because I am not, you know, happy in the situation I’m in. That I have to focus on my phone not saying that your kids are not happy. But like that – the phone is a source of relief because I’m holding on to that for dear life as my form of release. But for people who, you know, in my generation or older, who’ve spent all that time at one end of the spectrum is going to be a violent change and shift to say, for example, that’s already happening with digital detoxes. With people going or dumbing down their phones, instead of getting smartphones, quote-unquote, they’re getting dumber, slash phones that can only text and call. And like the rise in popularity or people have, say, for example, having email times. In the sense that you can only I only read emails like between 9 am and 5 pm, for example. And there was a period of time there – so about 2010 to about 2016 – a period of time that if you did not answer your emails, at any time of day, you were a bad employee, you’re a bad boss, you are a bad person. When now it’s become acceptable of just like, no, you read the emails when you read the emails. And that’s the same thing with me like I’m terrible with emails. Don’t email me anything and expect me to read it within the next two weeks.
Connection is our Innate Skills
Mark [21:01] And part of the connection. 80% of our communication is nonverbal. There are the subtle nuances of the nonverbal energy that emulates between two people. And I’m wondering when people have been so – who have grown up, so connected to social media whether missed that opportunity just to pick up on the subtle nuances of communication around connection and disconnection. And is there going to be a massive learning or a massive fallout, as they’re learning to regroup and pick up those subtle nuances and – maybe I’m exaggerating perhaps?
Zoe [21:53] Possibly. But it’s the same thing that as humans, we all understand, that we need to breathe and that we need to – you know, heart missed a beat. And the same thing with language, that no matter how isolated you are, as a human being – studies have shown that people still understand body language, people under still understand the subtle movements and nuances because it’s been built into our coding and into built into our understanding as human beings. And even though people might be staring through a phone, there’s still using those techniques, and you’re still using that knowledge every single day to watch people, you’re just not doing it in real life. And of course, there’s going to be some, as you say, some people that are going to need to probably learn that. But I wouldn’t imagine it’s going to be an entire global thing. It just might be very selected groups.
Connecting to Silencing our Minds
Mark [22:47] Yeah, that’s really true because from a Buddhist perspective, you know, yeah learning to connect is learning to connect within – sitting in silence is not an easy thing to do. Because that silence-silences is the intellectual brain and everything starts running riot so to speak. How do we get a hold of it? In terms when you’ve disconnected from your social media? How do you connect to others? Do you have a process to connect to others? Do others and you all make a decision that hey, we’re having a social media detox today and where we’re going to go out for tea and put the phones down. How do you do it?
Social Media Detox and Connection
Zoe [23:32] In regard to those two formats. For me personally, in regards to social detox, I use my aeroplane mode button quite heavily. I’d say more than people realize that I do. But say for example, when I go home, or when I stepped through the front door, I immediately put my phone on aeroplane mode because it’s my – this is my home. That’s why I’ve always never been able to work from home just because yet I’ve never been able to work from home because it’s that just that mentality of working-walking into the space of this is where I sleep. This is where I cook. This is where I spend time with my family with my partner. So that inherent. When my phones on aeroplane mode, then no one can contact me. Of course, I don’t do this all the time. But say for example, if I’m having an incredibly stressful day, I just put that phone on aeroplane or just for a few hours. I turn off notifications on my phone. So say for example, I have upwards of about 500 apps on my phone for various different things that are all helpful when they needed. But I don’t constantly need them blinking going off when I don’t need them.
Connecting to Sacred Energy of Family Life
Mark [24:40] When you walk through that front door, it’s on aeroplane mode is the energy in the home a sort of a loving space to for Zoe to just let her guard down and just absorb the sort of the sacred energy of family life? The energy, it’s like, it looked really uplifting as you as you were sharing it. I was just curious, yeah when you come home is it a beautiful recharge?
Zoe [25:18] Yeah, definitely.
Zoe [25:19] I’ve learned to make a home that recharges space. To be able to actually walk in the door, see the puppies, so they’re not puppies. They’re very old dogs, but we call them puppies. That they walk in actually, they look at you, they’re happy to see you. Wonder why? I might give them food or something? But I’m, and you walk in and there’s just that place of recharge that that’s what harm should be. Even for people that may not have opponent harm. Some whether they can get that feeling to recharge is more important, is one of the most important things as humans.
Mark [25:52] Somewhere safe?
Safe Space to Recharge
Zoe [25:53] Yes somewhere safe to have that space as like that place of recharge and relaxation and for people that don’t have the opportunity for whatever reason, they need to be able to find an alternative to fulfill that need. And going back to the previous question for detoxing or for groups of people, I make it a habit of once every quarter. So that’s financial terms. It’s like once every three months in the year, I have a list of my friends and my family that I call up, and I organize a time to sit down and meet with them. So of course, when people are overseas or what have you, I can’t exactly do that. But most of the time, when people that I have that are in that hundred and 50 in that group of people that I meet face to face. I make sure that I organize a time to sit down and have dinner with us, like at a dinner party or have fun, you know, do an activity or you know, go oversee the kids or whatever reason, but just to organize that within the next three months. My friends, we’ve gotten used to that over time, just to have that ability to see them face to face. But because it’s a not habitual, as per se, but just something that, you know, technology doesn’t have to be involved, maybe a little bit of my send reminder text just ahead of time just to be like, “0hey, still on for Saturday and whatever.” And that’s the only real technology involved, other than getting them a call. And then probably texting them just ahead of time. But just to have that consistent, rekindling, you know, four times, maybe two times a year depending on how busy the person is. Because if people are too busy to meet up with a friend or a family member, then your priorities not straight.
A conversation about the ‘All That Is’
Mark [26:18] That’s well that’s a really wonderful night. Yeah, it’s that important process where you’re taking that energy to reach out and organize. Yeah, we are living in a very busy world and we do need to sort of lock it in otherwise, it’s the ‘gonna happen’ and I never happen. In moving, just being mindful of the time and moving the conversation through to the ‘All That Is In Life” – the whatever that is to you, could be your God, it could be a nature, oceans, whatever it is. Any comments, any response to what you’re ‘All That Is’ – how important that is to your well-being and do connect to it and how do you connect to it? Perhaps you don’t and that’s okay.
Don’t Connect to Established Religions
Zoe [28:36] Personally, I’ve never really been one for established religion. Not because of all the baggage that comes with it, but just I’ve just personally never felt comfortable with – we must worship this person or this being or this life form. Personally, I’ve only again within the past six to nine months have I developed an understanding of the universe. And just when things seem to line up or coincidences happen or just everything seems to line up magically I’m just like – “thank you universe” and then carry on with my day.
Connecting to a Flow-State
Mark [29:12] Is there a flow-state when that alignment happens?
Zoe [29:16] Oh indeed. When everything’s just either start working out or when anything doesn’t work out. And then you think, “oh no”, everything’s going wrong – I’m going oh no, no, no and then like little mini versions of you start running around your head just burning. Then something else good comes out of that. You’re just like – oh, thank you universe. Bit of a roundabout way of doing it, but thank you.
Mark [29:41] Do those mini you’s dissolve in that universe?
Dissolving in my Flow-State
Zoe [29:45] They dissolve once – like once, once it clarifies itself. Or once it becomes apparent that like, you know, say, for example, in small business when you know I lose a client, for whatever reason. I just think oh no – the whole world is going to implode. Oh, no, no, no. And then turns out oh no – the universe has provided me, you know, two more clients because I’ve been able to actually fit them in properly or whatever. And I’m not saying that you know, the universe can be input with like God or Buddha or another being, I’m not saying that. I’m just saying that in the space of things is I just thank the universe and thank how everything’s lined up in the feeling of it. But I don’t inherently have a religious or what’s the word you used? “All That Is.”
Mark [30:46] And the ‘All That Is’ and I’m sort of sometimes wondering whether there religiosity is sort of going out with the bath – the babies bathwater. And spirituality or new Spirituality is a new religion perhaps. And what I’m noticing is people are connecting to it – universal lines. There is incredible connections and incredible flow-state. How do we – if you were to work at reconnecting back to that space, how might you experience life to be different?
Zoe [31:24] Actually, don’t know I’d have to think about that one.
Mark [31:29] Based on your experiences that you’ve just described if that was – if you could anchor back there. Not willy-nilly, but with purpose?
Zoe [31:40] Yeah, I imagine if I was able to do that on a regular basis, on not regular as in timed – but as in like when I have a purpose, or I need to be able to get into that space. That would be something that I probably invest time and energy in. But usually, I just have a tendency of trumping it up to fate, or to maybe this is what the world wants me to do. Or whenever I just get too big for my boots, just think I’m a tiny little speck on a tiny little speck in the middle of the tiny universe inside a bigger universe.
A Letting Go
Mark [32:22] Is that a letting go?
Zoe [32:24] A little bit. And understanding that, of course, you know, your time is relevant. And when you get into that big brain stuff, everything kind of just falls to the wayside. But when it comes to, you know, the problems that you’re experiencing here and now, just shrinking back in and being able to be like, okay, I need to focus on whatever my problem is.
My Advice to Young People
Mark [32:48] In drawing it to a close, is there anything, any advice you’d like to give a young woman a young boy hitting through heading into life? From some of the lessons you’ve learned, is there a piece of advice or a message you’d like to share with them and in the hope that it may help them in their connections to Self, Others and ‘All That Is.’
Zoe [33:17] Stubbornness is a positive trait. You can be stubborn and just keep doing what you feel is right. Because that’s something that I’ve always been told is a negative connotation. You know, when you’re bossy or you’re stubborn, or you’re annoying, well, it means you’re persistent. It means you just gonna keep doing and life is gonna throw a lot of stuff out you. But if you’re stubborn and you keep doing what you want to do, for the greater of humanity. What do you think a big on that so I am just wow – humanity?
Sticking with my Passion and Purpose
Mark [33:54] It sounds better stubbornness, how I read that stubbornness, it sounds like that intention, and a passion and a purpose.
Zoe [34:02] You’re very good with words Mark. You know exactly what you’re doing.
Mark [34:06] Thank you for the compliment. But yeah, in stubbornness has that. Yeah, its intention when you’ve got that intention, you got that passion and purpose. And as Zoe’s in that passion and purpose and that intention, how much does she fly? How much does she just move forward and just stay focused for humanity and for herself?
Zoe [34:30] And that’s a beautiful feeling when that does happen.
Mark [34:34] Well done. Zoe thank you so much for this brief opportunity to connect with you and to have you share your story. It’s very moving, to sit here and have this opportunity to listen to your connections. Thank you.
Zoe [34:53] Thank you so much for having me Mark.
Mark [34:54] Pleasure.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai