There is a lot of debate currently on the value and relevance of social media for mindfulness related endeavors. A few days ago, I asked on IMC online community, whether anybody else besides me, was planning to attend the Wisdom 2.0 conference. And got these two dissonant responses:
I personally believe Internet social media and mindfulness don't go well together. There is an element of addiction involved here. One can give excuses like "limiting", "doing it mindfully", "doing it with purpose", "keeping a check" etc. The very fact that one has to look for such excuses makes me suspicious. It is like someone telling drinking alcohol in moderation is ok. Just like one does not need alcohol, one does not need these virtual reality medias. There are tons of libraries, books, real world sanghas and even google to get all the information anyone truly seeking would need.
Buddhist evangelism should be by example. The Internet social media is turning it into a joke. There are also people who are pretending to be highly ordained monks - not sure what sickness causes them to do that. Respected monks should distance themselves from this. They can publish articles which are very helpful but not get involved in the virtual reality world.Second response:
Isn't this true with almost anything though? Every experience has pluses and minuses and buddhist social media seems to have more extreme peaks and troughs. I had a few friends who reacted much as you did after the article in Tricycle sometime ago describing the online difficulties of a few practitioners. In the end though it seems that respected monks should participate if they so wish and can help bring some good to a larger audience. As for those of us in the audience, a re-read of the Kalama Sutta is most helpful.Personally, I am more in the second 'camp'. And will reiterate response I made to Maia Duerr, in her recent post on same topic, Mindfulness and Social Media: Not an Oxymoron!:
Like you, I don’t see any problem with the two words ’social media’ and ‘mindfulness’ coexisting. There is such a thing as mindfully tweeting, and blogging, and facebooking . . . And blogs, tweets, and Facebook updates can be great media to broadcast mindfulness related experiences. Of course like anything, social media has the potential of being abused and becoming addictive. That does not mean it should be abandoned altogether.Where do you stand on this debate?