Social Media - Connection Comes In Many Forms
I did my first Twitter Chat two weeks ago. I was invited to co-moderate a #livedchat for one hour on a Wednesday evening (9pm-10pm EST). We 'talked' about being generationally savvy. I had a pre-call voice to voice with co-moderator, Ryan Horne, who briefed me on the protocols and the 'codes' (Q1, A1) for a Twitterchat and we wrote up a set of questions that guided the conversation – all questions 130 characters or fewer, as they then all ended with #livedchat – 10 more characters. Couldn't be more succinct. It was good writing practice.
With the virtual support of Ryan, and his colleague, Bill Martin, I "flew" with my wing men into the Twittersphere. For one hour, with my newly downloaded TweetDeck moving speedily like a departure board at a major international airport, I flew through questions and answers and then in one final sentence, the chat was over. I finished that chat and sat by myself in my hotel room, dizzy. Reeling from the adrenaline - in a good way. It was exhilarating – and then immediately lonely. A colleague messaged me a congratulation text. For the next few minutes my heart rate came down. Parting can be such sweet sorrow.
The interaction was so speedy. Short bursts. 140 characters. Multiple conversations going – answers to questions that were asked 5 minutes ago, answers to questions just asked 1 second ago. The response time was immediate. It was like a spin class with the bikes clicking up and up and up. A good workout that built up my 'social media muscles.' I now have more Twitter followers. I am more 'connected' to others from Nova Scotia to Mississippi to British Columbia (seriously). And, through that chat, I now have dinner plans with 'Twitter friends' in Toronto later this month. Ah, social media! But I have to say I am looking forward to the face-to-face dinner.
The following week after my chat I was back online one of my many times a day and my brother posted a video on Facebook. It was on Monday, February 24th, the day my mother passed away four years ago. It was her 'yahrzeit.' In the Jewish faith, we honor memories by lighting a candle that burns 24 hours, saying the Kaddish and going to temple to be with others in our time of remembrance. My brother went to be with others on Facebook that day. He posted a beautiful short 8 mm video of my mom in her early 40s hugging him at the dinner table. He was around 5 years old. The video must have been taken during a holiday meal. She was wearing an apron. She looks lovely. 101 of his 'closest' friends 'liked' the video and 27 of his friends wrote comments. He was 'with' his community.
These moments made me think about my need for time and space and silence. My need for face-to-face listening and community. Online communication is part of my life. I am not against it. I learn a bunch from it. What am I gaining by communicating in this form? What am I missing? I would glibly say, "Send me an email or tweet me @jenniferabrams to tell me what you think." But maybe going to dinner next time I am in your area would be a better idea. Find me – whichever way works for you.
A friend of mine introduced me to a weekly digest of intellectual 'goodies' and 'brain food' by Shane Parrish entitled "Farnam Street Brain Food" – great links to "content from a wide range of subjects including art, culture, science, books, philosophy, and human misjudgment." I dip in every Sunday and find food for thought. Hence the title, I imagine. Shane is also tweeting @farnamstreet.
I also like 99u. or @99u. "99U Weekly - everything you need from the past week to work smarter and supercharge your creativity." This week I read an article on 10 counter-intuitive ways to be more productive, another on procrastination, and another on sharing data. Their Twitter introduction says it "delivers the action-oriented education that you didn't get in school, highlighting real-world best practices for making ideas happen." Who couldn't use a little bit of that?
Two books on Generational Savvy too. How to Say It to Seniors: Closing the Communication Gap with Our Elders by David Solie, A book that could help in both my personal and professional lives.
And The Age Curve: How To Profit from the Coming Demographic Storm by Kenneth W. Gronbach. A colleague said his regional educational office was reading it to understand how to market their service agency to all generations, especially the Millennials, who go online for many of their professional learning opportunities.
Each month I will share with you information about a few of my upcoming trainings.
If I am going to be in your area, contact me so we can say hello, hopefully in person!
Having Hard Conversations Keynote
North American Association of Educational Negotiators
San Diego, CA
Resilience, Emotional Intelligence & Accountability
Metropolitan Institute for Leadership in Ed.
Governors State University
University Park, IL
Building Relationships: Communication
Basics & Having Hard Conversations
Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula (CHOMP)
Coaching for Equity
Administrators, Teachers, Business Managers
Peel District School Board
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
For additional upcoming events, please visit my Web site.
Until next time!
Feel free to forward this newsletter to friends and colleagues. You may reprint this newsletter in whole or quote with attribution to Jennifer Abrams and a link to www.jenniferabrams.com