Don’t Be Afraid of Change

This week, I met people who discount blogging and social media as a valid form of transmitting stories. How short-sighted. In this day and time, new media, alternative media and social media are not only valid, they’re extremely important if you want to send your story to the masses.

I can sort of understand the hesitation. It’s fully based in fear – fear of doing things differently, fear of the unknown, fear of doing things wrong, fear of not knowing and being rendered obsolete. I feel for people who worry that they’ll fall by the wayside in their profession if they attempt the new channels of communication and fail.

But that’s no reason to thwart change.

Change is the only constant in life, you know. It’s inevitable. The world changes by the minute, though we notice it by day – awaken to a new weather, a new sky, a new sunrise. You don’t fear the difference from day to day; you expect it and often we celebrate it by snapping pictures of the incredible colors outside our morning window.

When my eldest son was 6, he knew his father and I would no longer be married come May. He’s a good boy and well-behaved, but on May 6th, his Kindergarten teacher rang me to say that suddenly, he’d been misbehaving.

“For how long?” I asked.

She looked at the calendar and noted that it had been since May 1st. Yep, the anticipation of such a big change was enough to send him into a tailspin of fear, driving different behaviors.

As soon as the divorce was inked final and we completed the sad process of my ex moving out to a new location, my son breathed deeply. The behavior went back to his typical good one. He realized he would still see his father all the time and that the change wasn’t the end of the world, just the end of one definition of family as a new one settled in.

That’s a big change, for sure, but little ones happen daily – a client canceled our breakfast meeting and rather than worry about what it meant I celebrated the gift of new time to complete projects. It meant the schedule shifted – no more, no less. Nothing to dwell on.

I tell my husband all the time how much I love when people cancel. It frees up pockets of time I thought I had tightly scheduled! Thank you. Thank you for changing what I had planned.

The forms of communication available today are vastly different than what I learned in college. I learned how to write on archaic big bulky computers with green pulsing cursors. I learned that news wire stories came over an inky, loud teletype machine.

I learned to tape-record interviews and to take notes on a thin reporter’s notebook I held in one hand. I learned to research in a library and look up phone numbers in a thick yellow phone book.

That isn’t what communications looks like today, of course. I take notes on an iPad or even my iPhone, everything is on the Internet, and many methods of communication are brand new – social media, online magazines, and more.

We must change with the times if we are to continue thriving in this lifetime. We must embrace new forms of technology and frankly, we will do better if we are early-adopters rather than hangers-back who bite their nails while other people try out something new.

Not everything will catch on, but many things will, and we must be proficient in communicating well in this day and time. It’s a necessity if you choose a profession of communications.

I know people who refuse to embrace social media, for fear that their personal information will be blasted to everyone, everywhere. Last night, a friend told us that her high school yearbook photo is online through a reunion site and she wasn’t the one to post it. Everyone can see it, she relayed.

If you’re already out there, you may as well embrace it, right?

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