Relationship Status: Happy Bystander or Instigator?
NR Sverdlin
518

What a fun comparison, Noa Radosh — I really enjoyed reading this! As you’ve mentioned, relationships are complicated and I feel as though I am very much in the Happy Bystander phase with my community. As a social journalist, I know that I am ready to make the long term commitment to my community, but what I’m learning is that this is not a “love at first sight” relationship that I am entering into.

Fostering connections and building trust within the community will certainly contribute to the overall relationship in the long run, but getting there requires patience, dedication, and a whole lotta selflessness. In the words of Kelsey Proud, “Journaling is for the writer. Journalism is for the community. It’s not about us.” Honestly, I feel like that should be the mantra for social journalism — our agenda is to best meet the needs of our community exactly where they are when we find them. For better or for worse. In sickness and in health. You get where I’m going with this…

For my community specifically, I am learning that as much as I want to integrate online platforms (like Medium, for example) into the way I communicate and share information, I have to take into consideration that most senior citizens are very uncomfortable with technology and I might need to think through more tangible ways of delivering information. Once again, Kelsey Proud really hit the nail on the head for me in our readings by saying “you can’t push digital on a community that isn’t talking there.” Ultimately, the goal of Wire the Wise is to slowly introduce older adults to these types of platforms (because we have seen the benefits of how technology has greatly enhanced the quality of life for many of our participants). However, it is important to understand that other communication outlets need to be utilized as seniors slowly begin to trust in their ability to use these platforms effectively.