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Thu 11 Apr 2019 01:42 PM

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Socially intelligent in a digital world

Individuals today need to increase their self-awareness, learn online and offline ethics, and respond to social media addiction

Socially intelligent in a digital world

We can’t deny today that social activities and technology have brought great benefits to our current society, although there are indications that show and portray the way people endorse themselves offline vs. online, which has undermined their image in some respects.

If we look at today’s world, we need to frame individuals into four main dimensions: perception, social and emotional intelligence, and ethics. While the basic individual nature remains constant, the four dimensions are shaped to some extent by the interactions with our environment, particularly through the use of technology.

Today, you get to meet individuals in person and you might assess this person from his or her body language, career or business, lifestyle or many other things within their lives; and the minute you follow them on any of their social platforms, you get shocked with the unethical way of them portraying themselves online which shifts the image you had and diverts you to criticism.

We can all choose not to let technology control us, and be in charge of our own behavior.

People don’t understand that we need to use technology in a way that an individual’s perception, social and emotional intelligence, and ethics are supported and not disturbed by digital devices. Education or training can be a means of helping learners use technology in a positive way, minimising its negative potential, and showcasing the individual the same way offline and vice versa. Some people might not have the ethics to deal with other individuals socially away from technology since they are portraying something different.

Technology is one of the important mediums to showcase ourselves and what we do. People’s choice and level of interaction with technology can allow them to live in harmony with it. The suggestions include increasing self-awareness, teaching online and offline ethics, and responding to problems with technology addiction through training and other programs.

One of the most important methods is increasing self-awareness and avoiding technology habits. Self-reflection on what someone can do vs. how much time is being wasted on social media can lead a person to ‘clean-up’ from social addiction. Technology users today and those dependent on it, have no power to make ethical decisions due to emotional disturbances and competition online. This might lead them to become aggressive with people, depressed, unfocused or not even realising the potential they have beyond being online all the time, which leads them to become socially unintelligent. Additionally, online users might forget what “ethics” are, and how to be ethical with everything around them. Ethical behaviors, if not portrayed properly, with time, become a habit and the habit can lead to the formation of another personality – good or bad.

There is no doubt that technology has impacted our lives in many ways and majorly socially. However, we can all choose to let it control us or to be in charge of our own behavior. While some of us have become addicted to various behavioral patterns related to social media, others do not allow technology to take over their lives.

We need to use technology in a way that an individual’s social and emotional intelligence is not disturbed

We, as educators or trainers. we can teach people, especially the younger generations, to help them form habits that will position them equally socially online and offline. But we need to start with the young generation and stress on topics such as communication, etiquette, body language and responsibilities that come with using social media.

Education will for sure help stimulate the creativity of the individual, their perceptive abilities and ethical values. Technology, however, when not portrayed well, can distract the process of strengthening an individual, even sometimes diminishing their abilities.

The conclusion is, whether you want to succeed in life online or offline, you will need to portray the real you and this what will make you socially intelligent, loved and respected by people around you. Once we train ourselves to be in control and to work on the right channels that suit our lifestyle, we are then ready to build an empire on both frequencies that can benefit us in the long run.

Zeina Akkawi, Co-founder of The Playpreneurs Club and Managing Director of PAZ Marketing

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