November 11, 2021 6:40 pm
Condescension on Social Media
I believe the easiest trap to fall into as a coach is to shade your communication style with condescension. It's natural in any scenario where you know more than the person you're communicating with about nearly everything within the subject of conversation. And I have news for you: If you are a coach, it is your job to know WAY more than your athlete and then structure the transfer of knowledge into the athlete as efficiently and effectively as possible. That is what makes us relevant in this industry. The truth is nobody is paying for tickets to watch a coach do anything but express knowledge and ideas.
Some coaches, and this has certainly included me when I'm vulnerable to irritable states, are condescending to the athlete in person. Even if it is just a tone of voice, or through a specific word choice. Although, being in person certainly takes the edge off, and most coaches who love what they do, love to connect and build healthy relationships. We are built for in person interaction as a species.
Where I see the condescension flourish is on social media. It makes perfect sense to me. You're creating content and sending it out into the ether where the value of the content per audience member drops drastically. If an athlete is paying you for a 1 on 1 lesson, they are paying to soak up everything you have to offer during that time. An athlete on social media may see you tweeted, and just by the nature of human attention may keep scrolling after half digesting your tweet. Your deeply thought out take, is going to get brushed off by most of your audience. Some notion of insecurity and inner belief that your content is worth more than a "scroll by" combined with a lack of empathy from a lack of in person interaction, causes a ridiculously high percentage of social media posts to be riddled with condescension.
With this new lens on social media posts, I don't think it will be hard for you to notice the egregious examples of what I'm talking about with just a quick scroll.
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Personally, it's the mild examples that I have a hard time with.
-I thought about including the specific tweet I had in mind that put me over the edge to make this post. I thought better of it. I do respect the author of the tweet in question, and believe that this would actually incite a thoughtful conversation instead of this turning into a destructive slanderous fight. It is my belief that he could have been an ounce more thoughtful with his word choice and relayed the same message. Communication and word choice is the basis of our craft as coaches after all.-
I'm pretty turned off to social media, and frankly I have found little use of social media for anything beyond mild entertainment. The thought provoking potency of conversations with intelligent people, reading well researched multidisciplinary texts, and more than anything in person coaching practice, are all much higher than any scroll through social media has ever yielded. That is why our medium at Sharp Lid will attempt to fall under those categories, and our use for social media will be promotion of our work. Social media will not be the work.