Time management. It’s a term that seems niche, but the more I read and write about it, the broader the definition becomes. To get the subject of this post, I will restrict the definition to one of ‘maximising the use of time on the things that matter.’
And go straight into the weekend’s events in Iraq. I am not talking about the assassination of the Iranian general, though. I am talking about the social media storm which followed.
As soon as possible after the incident was reported, social media posts began ringing around saying ‘Trump did this’ and ‘Trump did that’. Emotions ran high, depending on which side of the political divide you sat. The Left said the man was a war-mongering despot committing us to World War 3, a helpful conclusion designed to keep us all calm, I am sure. The Right commended Trump for taking positive action – an unusual term for killing someone.
But here’s the thing. Most posts I read, read like the posters assumed that Trump woke up one day and decided to top this fella. Never mind that the Left forgot that their narrative (an oft-used media term) was that Trump is an idiot, so couldn’t even spell or pronounce the general’s name. And would probably have put the H in the wrong place in Baghdad. Like I just did.
I try not to waste time espousing opinions on things I know next to nothing about. It wastes time engaging in arguments which I can’t win because I am unarmed. Yet there is a whole world out there of people who engage in this regularly, thus wasting time which could be better spent in the Circle of Influence.
One thing I do know, based on watching The West Wing (and the documentaries which I then had to watch because they were so informative), is that decisions like this involve a whole bunch of experts. And time. Yes, the President makes the final decision, but not until he has been briefed by the military, intelligence experts and various diplomats. Such advice includes the why to do it and the how to do it. The Why, in this case, appears to be based on the General’s involvement in a lot of outside-the-combat-zone terrorist activity. The How, we know.
But there would have been a whole lot of ‘What If’s’ considered about the aftermath. And considering that the US has apparently been surveilling this man for some years, we can reasonably assume that there would have been a lot of information available that led to the decision.
All of which means that while the ‘proper’ media seems to be trying to address it sensibly (partisanship aside), the time spent by all too many of us on Social Media debating the issue based on a belief that he just had an idea one morning and made a phone call, has been ill-informed, un-authoritative and emotional. Which does not reflect the best use of anyone’s time.
Social Media has its uses. It has its limitations. But above all, it has an all-encompassing ability to divert us from what is truly important.
I use it to entertain and, occasionally, brag. I do not use it to display pictures of undrunk pints and uneaten dinners. (I lie – I did, once, show a picture of a partially incomplete meal from a San Francisco fish restaurant because it was the first meal that had ever beaten me.)
It is a great place to start a debate, but if you are going to do that, at least make sure that your opening comments are based on a reasonable level of understanding. Consider your post and ask, “Is this all as it seems?” If you can’t answer that, do the research. You’ll be better informed, which is a great use of time.
And you may save the time you would have spent sending a post that would have made you appear stupid.
Ralph Waldo Emerson once opined, “What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.” Which may be more about character but the message remains clear.
Be in no doubt. Posting ill-informed opinion says a lot about you.