Platitudes in vocational education

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Most platitudes are ‘nice words’.

A platitude is a trite, meaningless, or prosaic statement, generally directed at quelling social, emotional, or cognitive unease.

They sound good. They are hard to disagree with.

Platitudes are dismissive. They don’t, for example, fix the vocational education and training system because they are trite.

Somewhat like the Linked In groups that promote “we encourage sharing information and discussing topics related to the VET sector” but then moderation takes place in an anonymous and selective way.

The discussion is skewed towards platitudes and away from the ‘hard topics’, and ‘inconvenient’ comments are not Posted. A selective approach to skew the discussion outcomes or placate some members, perhaps.

However, the group members are unaware of the manipulation they are being subjected to.

Watch the thread following a particular Post:

“Great article”. “Good job”. “Nice Post”. Some commentators even repeat the content of the original Post as if that is comment —– Tick and Flick. Don’t rock the boat.

Anything with deeper substance, perceived ‘too hard’ or a definite reverse viewpoint is often Blocked in case ‘someone gets upset’ or there is direct manipulation for other unstated reasons.

Maybe it will ‘go away’ if we make it difficult to engage.

Reality check

Social networking can result in negative outcomes, some with long-term consequences, for example:

  • The social network user is being treated as a product. (e.g.,The Linked In group may really be a marketing site related to the platitude.)
  • People spend increasing amounts of time on social networks, they experience less face-to-face interaction and lose the ability for civil discourse.
  • Some members and moderators allow the spread of misinformation that may be perceived as fact even in light of evidence to the contrary.
  • Creation of a culture in which a personalised comment is used to cause irreparable harm to someone’s reputation – defamation.
  • Loud, platitudes and aggressive language networking is associated with depression, substance abuse, poor sleep patterns, suicide and poor professional performance.

Linked In members are adults and are in full control of their own requirements.

Members can Block anyone, anytime for any reason. In this respect, it is incumbent upon professionals to navigate the world of online communication. There is only so much (i.e., zero) anger, attacking, non-constructive criticizing, lying, spreading of rumours, manipulation, self-absorption, attention-getting, self-sabotaging, and violence directed at me via online comments that I am prepared to have other professional online people subjected to.

It is important to remember that while the use of technology may have negative effects on psycho-social development, technology can be used in ways that optimise, or even maximise, people’s development. If professionals keep that notion in mind it is possible to go far in helping us achieve greater and healthier levels of our own and others’ development.

While social networking has clearly demonstrable negative impacts, it is most likely here to stay.

Deciding whether you will use social networking is an individual choice.

By using it responsibly and encouraging your colleagues to do the same, you can encourage the harnessing of the benefits of social networking while avoiding the drawbacks.

Censorship

Why, then, does moderation need to evolve into censorship, and limit the achievement of greater and healthier levels of our own and others’ development?

Better to leave the Linked In group that serves individual, platitude rife wishes rather than seeking to implement beyond such ineffective behaviour.

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