My strength, it must be said, is my connection to my community. I find, more often than
not, I am a connector and a conduit between people, groups, and ideas.
I actually like that about me; I can take an idea and generate
enthusiasm–get people talking and excited about something. I’m
especially good at events. Call it a gift. I like to think of it as one
part marketing, one part coordinating, one part socializing, and one
part caring. Because I care about my community. I might not be involved
in the sexy stuff at work, but I can watch other groups as they work
with new ideas, and create new ways to mash up data, tools, and
communications to engage each other. I find the dialogue is exciting
and, while I am an arm’s length from it, what about those others who
are a campus away? How much fun is it to have people reach out and say
hey; look what we’re doing. How could you use this idea where you work?
I have also been thinking about how I connect with my community, and how it
doesn’t have to be just via expansive written posts on a blog. For example, we’re
all clear that I twitter. A
lot. In fact, I’ve been using my twitter account for two and a half
years, and there is really, quite a bit of content and documentation
about my life there. Work or play, frustrations and victories, they’re
all there. And why is it that I’m almost at 8,600 tweets? Because it’s
only 140 characters, and I don’t need to write a book to get my point
across. That’s like saying hi to my friends. I’m not Cole Camplese who
rubs elbows with the uber cool EduPunks (no matter how starstruck I am when I
meet one); I’m not innovative. I try new things early, but someone else
usually brings the fire past me first. The VIPs use Twitter to let people know
they’ve blogged something or done something or seen something that is
edgy and relevant to the rest of us. It seems to me I use it to stay connected to my community; touching base brings my own
Another place I find myself gravitating more and more
is towards my tumblr account. Why? Because, frankly, it’s spontaneous
and visual and I get the instant gratification I so desire in this day
and age. In fact, I’ve been using it a lot more than del.icio.us to
remember images, and sites, and things I totally love or that move me.
Del.icio.us has gotten the same feel that my professional blog has taken
on; serious people might see it, so I’d better try to be insightful and
reflective. However, on my tumblr blog, I can post as frequently as I
want–and there are a number of days where I actually post three, four,
or five times a day because I’m moved to get it out there. Three clicks and voila! A statement! And it’s so much more interesting to peruse images, quotes, and brief thoughts, than a text list of links on Del.icio.us (and let me make it clear, I’m not bashing Del.icio.us; it’s a very real, very useful tool. I just seem to love my tumblr account more). There’s a very real sense of creativity on that blog, and for some reason, and that really speaks to me. It’s like sending my friends a link to something cool, as opposed to a work thing. Of course, my tumblr account is mostly personal; I use it that way because it makes me happy, and I frequently go back through and peruse past posts. Posterous is similar set up, but I like the fact that it is pretty much mobile along with me and therefore, really an extension of my Twitter stream.
So why the difference between these types of blogging? Good question. It’s something I will probably ponder on in another post (but remember, I’m NOT participating in a post a day. Most definitely NO.). Is it because I feel pressured to be reflective and euridite? If so, it’s no wonder I shy away–I’m more effective with connecting thoughts and people and touching base. But I wonder if students feel the same way about formal blogging being almost daunting? If we take the creativity and the spontaneity out of engagement, aren’t we just shooting ourselves in the foot? Different strokes for different folks, people. I’ll never know the kinds of thought leaders like someone like Cole knows. But I certainly know people. Some speak in words. Some speak in pictures. I seem to speak in both, depending on the content–is it personal, is it professional? And why do I feel that professional needs to be more words than pictures? That isn’t nearly as much fun for me, and I think I need to rethink my bias here. The beauty of this age of technology is that I can speak in anything I want, and if it is interesting, people will listen, and people will connect.
Sometimes you have to just get out of your own way.