Friday, December 24, 2010

The Word at Christmas

The story of Christmas found in the Bible is the perfect example of what this blog site is about-- what it means to live Beyond Words. If you aren't familiar with the story of Jesus' birth, there is a passage in the Book of John that talks about it. It's one of those "mystery" verses that begs you to sit and ponder over it for a little while...or for a lifetime. "In the beginning was the Word. And the Word was with God and the Word was God...and the Word became flesh and lived among us...full of grace and truth." (John 1:1,14). That Word was Jesus.

God's idea about how to reconnect with humanity started as a Word (a mere thought or idea) which then found substance in the flesh through the life of Jesus which then became the ultimate model of living with grace and truth. This is the same power of words that God used at the dawn of time. "God said 'Let there be light,' and there was light."

Words today have the same power to create. And with that power comes responsibility because we can create grace and truth and beauty and light, or we can create havoc and destruction and discouragement and disharmony. We hold the power to create life or create death in human beings. As far as I'm concerned, the world at large does enough to destroy the dignity of life and I don't want to contribute any further to its demise. I choose to look for the redeeming side of all that life hands me. Even the challenges and the failures, the disappointments and irritations can lead me to learn and live more passionately than I did before they arrived.

As 2010 comes to an end, I've already determined that my challenge for next year is to live a more grateful existence. I want to welcome the challenges, the pains and the losses with the same sense of gratitude I use to welcome the joys, the victories and the reunions. I have a feeling, if I'm able to keep at it, that this attitude and these words will have the power to create a more peaceful life of contentment, regardless of my circumstance. Maybe I'll even begin to understand what it really means to become grace and truth - the Word made flesh.

May you all find that Word that embodies life and love and contentment in your New Year.


Friday, July 3, 2009

Why Twitter is Good for the Soul...

Before I entered the Twitterverse, or sent my first Tweet across the network, I held court and invoked harsh judgments on anyone and everyone who wasted their time on this “mindless endeavor.” I want deeper connections and conversations than the space of 140 characters allows. I write books, for heaven’s sake, and I’ve grown accustomed to 140 pages of open sea on which to launch my message. How meaningful can our conversations really be if the measuring rod is a mere 140 characters deep?

But since jumping in to this ankle-deep flow of words, I’ve changed my mind. I see that Twitter may be good for the soul, and for the soul of the writer in particular. Here’s why…

1. I have to choose my words wisely. When I first started writing, someone told me to imagine the economy of words in this way. You have a message to communicate, but it costs you $1.00 for every word you use to accomplish that task. This helped me learn to cut the unnecessary verbiage and write tight. Same principle applies to Twitter, except every character counts, and my words must be few.

2. I’m more authentic. I can think of no other place than within the realm of social networking where all my worlds come together in one place. I don’t work separate accounts with separate names, one for work, one for family, one for church, etc… I like the fact that my high school friends see my church friends, and my family hears what I’m doing in my work world. My life feels less pigeonholed and more congruent thanks to social networking.

3. I’m no longer isolated in my work. Although the world may think otherwise, every writer knows they cannot write alone. They need to be inspired, supported, critiqued, told they aren’t going crazy, edited and prayed over. I have a whole team of folks I rely on for all these things and I get a touch of it all in my social network.

4. I have opportunity to give and receive kindness from my Twitter community. In the spirit of Robert Fulghum (remember All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten?) I believe this is what Twitter is all about…or maybe it’s just what happens in my own unique community. I hope others find the same to be true. I notice personalities emerge and see what’s important to certain people. I connect one follower to another knowing it may enrich their world, or to a video clip or blog that expresses what I know they are thinking about. It creates a tangible touch of kindness in an otherwise cold world of technology. And it really is that simple, as simple as the kindergarten rule of being kind to one another.

Ankle-deep is good. It’s the same pleasure I get when we walk ankle-deep along the edge of the ocean, knowing there is so much more beyond even as my feet touch that vastness in some small way. That’s what I’m doing on Twitter. I’m walking along the edge of an ocean of knowledge, spontaneity, humor, wisdom, business savvy, kindness and everyday life, happy to touch the vastness of each life in some small way.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Reclaiming our Humanity in the Social Media World

I just returned from a public relations conference (Vocus 2009) which grappled with the impact of social media networks on our lives and in our businesses. And while there was plenty of technical head knowledge to absorb, I was pleasantly surprised to hear a still small voice beneath it all calling us to be more human as we interact through an ever-increasing number of technological wonders.

Here are three Rules of Engagement to reclaim our humanity in the midst of the hype, the endless stream of messaging and the ever-changing landscape of social media

1. Listen First. For individuals or businesses that might mean being selective in where we tune in and to whom we give our attention. Anyone can bump up their number of friends or fans on Facebook or their followers on Twitter, but why? What is it we want to achieve with that number? If I'm listening to a smaller but select number of individuals on my Twitter feed, then the information will be a potent mix of conversations and connections that will truly become a meaningful community to me or my company. According to new media expert and founder of FutureWorks, Brian Solis (, "It's the listening that separates social media experts from theorists."

2. Be Transparent. It's easy to hide behind an on-line name. It's easy to take on an identity that you'd never be comfortable with in the face-to-face encounters of real life. Because of this potential, it's imperative to remain authentic and to interact within our communities with common courtesy marked by your own unique voice and personality. This is the essence of what it means to have your own personal brand. The more authentic it is, the more powerful it will be.

3. Give More Than You Get. I'm talking about more than just commenting on someone's blog or re-tweeting a message for a friend, although that can be common courtesy. Real life is out there and people are sometimes asking for a more human touch. A media contact recently posted a tweet that said she had been in a hit a run accident (she was the one hit). A quick note to check on her emotional and physical condition was all it took to find out she was more hurt by the fact that someone didn't stop to check on her than by her physical injury which was minor. Empathy goes a long way within our social networks in maintaining real life relationships. This is also at the heart of good service for a business.

Just like our real world, our e-world operates best by rules of conduct and etiquette. Generally, the same ones apply to both. What Rules of Engagement would you add to this list?

Twitter: @mkcrockett
Facebook: Marsha.Crockett