I’ve often suggested that social media resembles bringing what would have been talked about at the dinner table, during a walk in the park, over a coffee at the local shop or a beer at the local pub into the main stream. People have adapted to getting vocal on issues through social networks. In this regard we are all on a steep learning curve of how to express opinions. Some feel more comfortable than others to express opinions in these new channels and networks.

Sometimes it is easier to express opinions in a private conversation, or group chat, over that dinner hour or in a  pub environment. But social media is encouraging us to express opinions in a much more open environment. I have found that it is not easy for all of us to just naturally express our opinions in a “medium”. Let’s face it, social networks are actually “media”. What you post is live broadcasting something to your closed knit group of friends or to a much broader public audience – depending on how you’ve set your privacy filters.

What’s really fascinating about this social networking phenom is that we are now able to express opinions in matters of debate, public policy or just casual conversations about what is evolving in the news. These networks have opened up opportunities for people to engage in conversations and take their table talk to a public forum. Even traditional journalists are allowing us into their space with “comments” following their columns. If we learn to express opinions in a respectful manner, without personal attack, without trolling those who express their opinions, without pre-judgement, this social engagement may help make a difference in defining how issues are assessed and managed in our greater society.

What may have been a closed political process for “those in the know” in the past, is now an open dialogic model – thanks to social media. Pick any topic, virtually any topic, and you will find a conversation happening, where we are able to express opinions.

I do understand that there will be varying levels of comfort in speaking up or speaking out on an issue. I know for me, and my team when I was in the corporate world, we did a lot of listening and understanding before we had the courage to jump in and be an active voice. My provocation is jump in. My suggestion is engage. My position is that we should actively learn to express opinions and play a role in public debate and discussion that can have an effect on how matters are dealt with in our communities. Why let a conversation become one sided?

Respect for others’ opinions, perspectives, and an opposing view should be ground rules – in my humble opinion. But if we have these ground rules, opening up channels to express opinions can only bring out balanced debate that should result in a greater good and harmony. We can achieve this by talking through issues and opportunities that are important to each of us and our greater community.

So what conversation our you going to express yourself in today ?  Go for it !   @FergDevins @DevinsNetwork