In this Live with Lisa: Candid Conversations Series, I interviewed Josh Saenz as we reviewed the topic: Social Media.
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Featured Speaker Biography
Josh Saenz is the Business Development Manager at Planet Home Lending in Lakewood, CO. He specializes in real estate marketing, personal branding, and social media strategy. He has coached over 2,000 Colorado Realtors in over the past two years. Josh is passionate about cultivating deep, rich community both in his career and personal life. Outside of work, he enjoys hiking, cooking, mentoring teenagers at his church, and spending time with wife, Kaitlin, and their two boys, Josiah and Levi.
Lisa: The Documentary, “The Social Dilemma” is getting a lot of buzz. It actually scared me, for myself and for my children. What did you think of it?
Josh: I loved “The Social Dilemma”! I think that it is bringing a necessary conversation to the general public and exposing what some of us have suspected for a while but had little hard evidence about. For a few years, I’ve been reading and listening to people talk about the dangers of social media—not just the datapoints, addiction, and monetization of our attention—but what social media is actually doingto us. It’s changing the way we feel, talk, love, think, and live in our world. That’s what I’m most concerned about.
Lisa: How did it change the way you use social media?
Josh: Watching that documentary was kind of “the last straw” for me in deciding to use social media differently. I’ve learned over the years in each part of my life (whether family, work, friendships, health, etc.) that nothing “just happens”…You don’t wake up one day and you’re automatically successful, or rich, or reaping the benefit of deep relationships…those things are a result of a series of hard choices and commitments over time. I believe that our guards have been down for a long time with social media and have thought “I can just have fun on here…It’s harmless…I’m in control”. The control, however, seems to be in the hands of Silicon Valley more than our own wills. Practically speaking, I decided to take control and put radical boundaries on my usage. I literally calendar the time I spend on social media. I have not had the apps on my phone for months now, and logging onto the platforms on a desktop just isn’t the same as scrolling with your finger in your hand, so it makes it easier to not care as much. My overall philosophy is “Use social media, don’t let it use you”. If you don’t put it in it’s proper place, you will not reap the benefits it has to offer without being taken advantage of in the process.
Lisa: How will you handle it going forward with your young children?
Josh: My wife and I realize that we get to shape our own family culture. Isn’t that cool? We have the ability to decide what life will look like for these little dudes we are raising! That being said, we understand that we can never pass onto our boys what we don’t posses ourselves. So, if we are digitally addicted, unable to be fully present in a group of people, or can’t manage technological tools with healthy boundaries, I can’t expect my kids to either. It helps that our network of friends with kids similar ages to ours have also voiced concerns and together we have realized that if a bunch of us “normalize” these tech boundaries, our kids and many of their friends will have a similar experience. We also limit screen time and password protect all devices.
Lisa: What do you think are the dangers of social media?
Josh: I think the dangers of social media for us right now is the fact that we can be swayed to think and believe certain things over time. If we are not careful we can allow ourselves to be subject to propaganda or misinformation. Additionally I am concerned that social media is doing some things to us that ultimately are proving to be negative mentally, socially, and psychologically.
Lisa: What are the benefits?
Josh: Social media is an incredible tool! It can help us connect with people and get the message of our brand out to a large network of people. In a sense, it is the new search browser for shopping, recipes, service providers, and the like. So for business, it is the new “yellow pages” of today.
Lisa: How do you think it will it be used in the future?
Josh: I think we are seeing enough people disenfranchised with social media that the trend will continue in the same direction. I often say that millennials have led us into hyper digitalization and social media but I also think that millennials will lead us all out and towards more humanization. I think we will see a decline over time, to be honest.
Lisa: How can we protect ourselves and our children?
Josh: Boundaries are going to be the best way to make sure we and our kids are healthy long-term.
Lisa: I’m going to age myself here, by telling you I started in sales in the 90’s, when there was no social media. Social media has expanded our ability to promote ourselves and our companies on a huge scale. How can we continue to utilize, and remain safe?
Josh: At the end of the day social media is a powerful tool that can be leveraged for brand messaging and networking. However, it’s can never replace face-to-face human interactions. People who lean on social media as a totalizing strategy for their business will see an end to the success in this realm. I often encourage people, “never do online what you would not do in person”. Consumers are longing for face-to-face relationships. We see this data emerge particularly in financial situations where Millennials are the first generation since The Great Generation to prefer to make financial decisions face-to-face. In a low trust consumer world, we must be thinking about operating in “high trust”. Documentaries like “The Social Dilemma” show us that we are approaching a day where social media trust is eroding quickly
Lisa: What are the safest platforms?
Josh: I think the safest platforms are the ones where you are taking the most precautions and have clear boundaries for yourself.
Lisa: How will your teaching on social media change?
Josh: My teaching on social media will continue for sure. I’m not anti-social media, maybe just tempered in my approach. Social media can never replace face-to-face relationships. It is one tool out of many that can be leveraged for positive purposes. I think I’m more concerned these days with the kind of people we are becoming rather than the kind of platforms we are using. That’s what I am focusing on in my educational courses.
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