Alison Garwood Jones

The power of pause

May 19, 2012

Maria Shriver has a foothold in all the major social media platforms: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, WordPress and, presumably, whatever promises to be the next best thing. Media and communications are her career. But how she uses them is worth noting.

There are enough voices on the internet going for cheap attention. Expensive attention, as Seth Godin likes to call it, is much, much harder to garner. But Shriver is one of the few who have figured it out. She believes it all comes down to the power of pausing—in life and in journalism.

“I’m asking you to learn how to pause because I believe the state of our communication is out of control,” Shriver told a group of graduates last week (including her daughter, Katherine) at the Annenberg school of Communications at the University of Southern California.

Speed should never replace good thinking, she said. But because our relationship to the internet is still young, it has. Right now, I think we’re tearing through digital media like a bag of Halloween candy we’ve dumped on the floor. The sugar rush makes us mean and cranky and dangerously loose with the truth.

With time, maybe we can approach social media more like a fine dining experience and in doing so use these tools with more intelligence and deliberation. We built these platforms and we can choose to change what goes on them.

Ladies and gentlemen, Maria Shriver:



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