Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Coining 'Mindfulness-Based Social Media'

In the spirit of Wisdom 2.0, and for lack of a better alternative, I would like to coin the new term 'Mindfulness-Based Social Media', or MBSM, to refer to  the delivery of mindfulness related content, through online social interactions that adhere to mindfulness-based principles of communication and practice. Mindful communication means not misrepresenting the truth, not engaging in communication that divides people, not hurting other people, refraining from idle chatter, communicating at the right time, and on a more positive note, communicating in ways that are trustworthy, harmonious, comforting, and worth taking to heart. Mindful practice refers to the wise use of social media, to further promote one's own practice, as well as others' practice of mindfulness, and being especially careful to not fall into danger of addiction. A working definition, that is open to further refinements, and wordsmithing . . .

MBSM is about content, delivery, and form. The content includes all online material to do with the pursuit and exploration of mindfulness, including the Buddhist teachings on, and practice of mindfulness, also the applications of neuroscience to mindfulness, MBSR (Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction)MBCT (Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy), MBP (Mindfulness-Based Psychotherapy), Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention, etc . . . The delivery takes place through the various existing social media channels, including blogs, Twitter, wikis, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Flickr, Yahoo Groups, Ning and other social networks, forums, bulletin boards, etc . . . The form elaborates on the Buddhist precept of right speech, and also the mindful use of social media for personal benefit.

I would love to hear your take on this first attempt. Can you think of another term? A better definition?

Meanwhile, let me share all the links on Mind Deep blog, with some relevance to the topic:

10 Tips For Buddhists on Twitter
Twangha, For Community of Buddhists on Twitter
Spiritual Friendships on Twitter
Taking Mindfulness Vow, on Twitter
Spiritual Quotes on Twitter, Anyone?
The Plain Truth About Wisdom 2.0 and Addiction
Traps and Wonders of Wisdom 2.0
7 Tips for Buddhist Bloggers


  1. Well written! Very timely, particularly for a beginner like me! I often feel enriched by reading your blog. Today's entry is particularly helpful to anyone hoping to learn how to use electronic media positively, gently, and meaningfully. Thanks for sharing your thinking about process as well as about content. I hope you'll talk about all this some more!

  2. Thank you for your thoughtful post. Soon after reading it, I browsed a comment thread on Facebook and was totally dismayed at the hateful (and quite vulgar) remarks from so many.

    Agreed that this is a timely subject. Web 2.0 and Right Speech are inextricably linked, and as practitioners we should apply the same guiding principles of mindfulness online as we do elsewhere. Namely, sampaja├▒├▒a - is it necessary? is it beneficial?

  3. Thank you! I wish the "big ones" such as Twitter, or Facebook, were more proactive in terms of providing better guidelines for communication on their site. Sometimes, all people need is to be reminded. I did send a tweet to Greg Pass, the self-admitted 'mindful' CTO at Twitter . . .

  4. Great post, and what an excellent round-up of your own musings on mindful social media. I took some time to click through the links you listed, and now have plenty to think about!

    With regard to wise speech on Twitter, Facebook, et al., it seems that's a quality we can embody, but not demand of others. But wouldn't it be fun to launch a Facebook campaign under which folks could pledge to pause for 1 minute before posting, and report back on what happens?

  5. Thank you Kristen. Love your idea. Do you want to take it on? :)

  6. Kristen,

    I think that's a fantastic idea too! Let us know if you make it happen, or if someone else does.


  7. Maia, thank you for cheering on Kristen . . .

  8. Love it! I think it's great and may actually give name to the way I have been contextualizing my own form of Engaged Buddhism. The internet and the instant access to gulfs of information and feedback has been a huge aspect of my growing knowledge, gaining awareness, and "cooling". Through the web, Facebook, Twitter, etc. I have found my own version of upaya as it has allowed me to gather and spread (even if slightly) much Dharmic goodness... by way of e-commerce (www.buddhabadges.com), internet interconnection (www.dharmadots.com) and good old blogging by citing random goodies found on the internets (www.formisempty).

    It all makes me so very aware and thankful that I am living right now, at this moment, with these abilities to connect and share and help at my and our disposal.

    _/\_ to you Marguerite! Be well!

  9. Thank you Anoki! I applaud the myriad of ways in which you have chosen to spread Dharmic goodness (your words). I am just curious, what has been your path? What brought you here? Do you have an ongoing practice, sangha?

    With much metta,


  10. Marguerite, thanks for this wonderful dialogue, which us the right speech applies to modern communications as well. Perhaps, all Buddhist posters might remember to practice MBSM while online. And if all Buddhist blogs suggested this practice, perhaps MBSM will go viral.

    In Peace,

  11. Thank you John. Please be on the lookout for my next post, on online privacy and mindfulness practice . . .

  12. Oops, I got the wrong Jack (also named John from ZenDirtZenDust blog) . . . My apologies.

    Jack, do you have a blog?

  13. I like this but I think it is largely a learned lesson that many social media users experience and many social media 'experts" try to teach.

    I suppose I look at it as "meta-mindfulness" when I post anything as far as what my intent is and whether or not this achieves that intent.

    I do like this portion of your definition though "Mindful practice refers to the wise use of social media, to further promote one's own practice, as well as others' practice of mindfulness, and being especially careful to not fall into danger of addiction."

    I think it sounds more of a mission statement that provides the general intent of our online experience without going into the details of how to do so...as every experience with differ.


    BTW, I do love what you are doing here. Thanks for taking the time to do it.

  14. Thank you John (this time I got it right . . . :))

    Like any mindfulness related teaching, I think it is important to keep bringing it up, so that it stays top of mind.

    My sense is most people aspire to mindful communicating, including online. Inertia, hurriedness, and a general context of mediocrity can have the best of anyone, however!

    This is where guidelines, and reminders can play a role. Imagine if Twitter, and Facebook, and Google, etc . . . teased their users every day with an inspiring quote along the lines of mindful communicating.

    Thanks for jumping into this conversation. I very much value your input!

  15. Thanks Marguerite...

    Re: "I am just curious, what has been your path? What brought you here? Do you have an ongoing practice, sangha?"

    My path leads me through an eternally burning door... my bad habits keep making me walk through... the longest practice I can remember is beating my heart and breathing my breath... and my sangha is where I remember to disbelieve all of the above.

    _/\_ to you Marguerite! Be well...