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Friday, April 09, 2010

Facebook it: You've got to Tweet to stay LinkedIn!

Why social media are important for Reiki practitioners

Janet Dagley Dagley: I love the Internet. I was a netizen even before there was a world wide web. But even I’m overwhelmed by all the Tweeting and Facebooking and social media that have emerged in recent years. My friend Pamela Miles, however, has forged her own path through the social media landscape, not just for herself but for Reiki, and she is thriving there with a growing number of followers and fans. She and I agree that it’s important for responsible Reiki practitioners to speak out and represent Reiki to the public, and Pamela believes social media represent an important public and personal forum. She’s so convinced of the importance of social media, in fact, that she’ll be offering a webinar on the subject April 17. We had a chat about the subject the other day:

JDD: Pamela, why do you think this is important enough to make a webinar?

Pamela Miles: My goal is to raise the credibility of the public conversation about Reiki. To do that, we need more thoughtful Reiki practitioners willing to engage in public dialogue. This is a challenge, because people who are thoughtful are often shy to speak up, especially if they don’t know the rules of the game. And social media is a frontier to explore. It’s more of a culture than a game with clearly defined rules.

My plan is to give thoughtful Reiki practitioners the information and guidance they need to feel comfortable speaking up, an introduction that could help them feel confident enough to risk.

JDD: Sounds reasonable. I must admit I find social media a bit overwhelming, and I’m a journalist and blogger.

PM: I know exactly how you feel, Janet. When I started participating in social media, I had had a website for many years and was very comfortable cruising the internet on my Mac. But social media was really intimidating. It brings a new level of exposure, and risk. I vividly remember venturing onto Twitter with my first trembly tweets! You would have thought someone had a gun to my head!

Since I so recently overcame considerable reticence and am now very active online, I know exactly what stops people before they ever get started. I can address their fears, tell them what to avoid, give simple steps to get started, and share a few easy strategies they can play with to break into an entirely new dimension of what I call social interactivity.

Interactivity is significantly different than interaction, which tends to be more linear. After all, it’s the world wide web, and it gives us the chance to interface with web-like multiplicity. The potential complexity of social media is what makes it so powerful, and so intimidating in the beginning.

JDD: Still seems a bit scary to a lot of us.

PM: I actually think that’s a good thing. It is a bit scary. We want to have respect for the power of social media and use it carefully.

People who have a thoughtful approach to Reiki are careful by nature, and more likely to find social media intimidating because they are aware of consequences. An unfortunate move can get broadcast around the world.

What I want to do is empower people who are careful, give them the information they need to feel comfortable adding their 2 cents to the conversation.

JDD: But really, Pamela, with all the voices out there, can one person make such a difference?

PM: Good point, Janet. No one person is going to tip the scales so that the public face of Reiki suddenly becomes thoughtful and credible. But we can do it together. Each one of us can participate as we feel drawn to, and we can invite our Reiki buddies to join us.

I often receive private email supporting a public comment I’ve made, perhaps a comment about the importance of daily self-treatment. If that person had publicly supported the value of practice, her comment might have encouraged another practitioner to voice her support as well. Thoughtful practitioners seem to think that we are in the minority, but as someone who is in touch with a broad swath of the Reiki community, it doesn’t look that way to me. We’re just too quiet, and it’s time to break that silence. Each of us can play a vital role in improving the quality of the public conversation about Reiki.

JDD: I know just what you mean, Pamela. I wish we got many more public comments on The Reiki Digest, and I’m pleased to see that we’ve had quite a few really thoughtful ones lately. I hope that’s the beginning of a trend.

I follow Pamela’s Twitter feed, and I recommend it: @wellth.

And on Facebook, Pamela can be found here and here. Of course, she has a blog as well, and this week she addresses the Reiki/social media connection with a post titled, "As Common as Aspirin."

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