It was only in his first week of candidacy that newly elected Franklin Delano Roosevelt knew the importance of reaching out to his electorate. As he stepped into office, he found himself looking at a banking system that was leaving the country in fear. Thirteen million Americans were unemployed and struggled to make ends meet. The country was in the middle of its greatest depression. FDR knew that he had to reassure the American people that we would triumph in the midst of peril. He discovered quickly that the most effective way to reach out was with the clever use of technology via mass communication. Sound familiar?
Thus began the Fireside Chats on March 12, 1933.
From his first chat, FDR would go on to address the nation twenty-nine more times explaining everything from New Deal initiatives to updating the nation on the progress of WWII. At its highest point, his Fireside Chats would reach over 60 million Americans. Never before in history had a large segment of a population had such access to the Leader of the Free World.
Parallel this moment in history to today….
It seems almost as if we have 24/7 access to virtually anybody to the point where our lines of privacy have blurred. I was one of those people who you could call cynical about the “connectedness” of society. The reason I felt this way was simply due to the fact that I was viewing this entire conundrum from one side. It is very easy to get very negative very quickly. I witnessed slander and arguments commence for honestly no reason at all, and the worst part was that I could tell that this “connectedness” was beginning to change the way I viewed and felt. It was getting dark fairly quickly, and I knew a change had to be made. As this was going on, I was also in the process of attending our statewide educational technology conference (TETC). In just the few days I was there, my mind was completely opened to the other side of what I had written off. Through the use of social media (Twitter specifically), I was witnessing the gathering of like minds whose sole purpose was to share any and everything so that students could benefit. The funny…or maybe not so funny thing was that I knew this use was already out there. The problem I had was that this knowledge was only head knowledge and not heart knowledge. Believe me, there is a difference.
In one particular session I attended, the presenter continually mentioned the notion of reflection. Often times we blow through our days and never afford our lives the opportunity to reflect on what we actually have done, and this reminder hit me like a ton of bricks. It was shortly after I finally removed the bricks that our presenter suggested that blogging is a great way to reflect on these moments.
…and so my Fireside Chats were born.
I can assure you, I’m not a natural when it comes to blogging. I was actually the person who just a month ago would have actually laughed at you if you would have told me that I was going to create a blog. What I have learned in the past month or so is that where there’s no tension, there’s no growth. If I’m going to grow personally, professionally, spiritually….I have to be willing to push past the edges. Even if it’s scary, and even if I’m uncertain of how this may all end up.
Finally, I truly hope that there is something that you can gain by reading these words as random as the may seem at times. Even though we can all admit that social media has its dark side, light is superior to dark. It always has been, and it always will be. The good far outweighs the bad, so that is why I’m taking my leap of faith and standing with the positive side of social media to share my musings of the world through my Fireside Chats.