Why This Blog?
One can only stand on the sidelines and watch others play the game for so long. Eventually – at least for me – the urge to contribute is so overwhelming that you must enter the game. For a while I’ve been interested in online communities, social media, social learning, informal learning, connectivism, and how to help people network with each other for their mutual benefit. To that end, I began this blog as a place not just to capture my thoughts but to engage in conversation with those who share these interests. We will learn more together than on our own.
As time has passed, other personal and work-related interests have also bubbled to the surface to the point where the blog’s subtitle is now “like a blog of chocolates – you never know what you’re gonna get.”
There are a few streams of thought and practice converging in this blog…
1. In my role as the internal community manager for a Fortune 100 company’s in-house social media platform, I have the great opportunity daily to witness and influence the use of that platform. It is a joy to nibble away at silos, connect people who otherwise would never be connected, and take action that benefits my colleagues and my company. I will share this blog via that platform with anyone interested. The creative and reflective act of writing will help me be a better community manager. Since December 2011, I have served as an external community manager for several public-facing social media platforms for my company, so additional experiences and insights from that world will find their way to this blog as well.
2. Even though I opened my Twitter account in early 2009, it wasn’t until late 2010 that I got serious about using it to follow some amazing men and women from around the globe who daily share insights and resources worth passing along. This blog gives me a place to glean from and reflect on those resources in addition to others beyond the Twittersphere.
3. Since there is only one me, and that me is a mix of personal and professional interests, I started in 2012 also including some posts of a personal nature here, usually from the perspective of my Christian faith and practice. I don’t think it’s possible or necessary to try to divorce one’s personal life from the professional, so what you see here is what you get – the real and whole me, for good or bad.
I don’t normally use sports analogies, probably because I’ve never been good at team sports. After all, how many people do you know who got kicked out of Little League like I did? Do they even do that these days? I don’t think so. Today I’d get a trophy. I guess that’s one reason why I like running – my success or failure is completely up to me (and the cooperation of my best running buddy ever – my dog, Callie). But to extend the thought of getting into the game of making a positive contribution to my professional and other areas, I can only promise that I will give it my best. I expect to strike out at times and I expect the readers to let me know when that is the case. I may never hit a home run, but I will try. I need coaching and I welcome it. I suspect I can help coach others on occasion.
But therein lies a dilemma and where the sports analogy breaks down. There is no terminal point at which learning or community maturity or being successful in accomplishing business goals or living out one’s faith is over and we all go home having completed what we set out to do. We must keep exploring, asking questions, making new discoveries, issuing new challenges, shedding old skins and trying out new ones that fit for a season. Some may find that disconcerting, but I do not. I find it exciting. Thrilling, in fact! Otherwise, I would not devote so much of my discretionary time outside normal work hours doing this for the pure joy of expanding my knowledge and trying to make a positive difference in the lives of others.
For the leap year of 2012, I posted one lesson learned per day for all 366 days, with each post being no longer than 366 words. It was an effort to live reflectively and to be more disciplined at writing consistently and concisely. It was, by far, the best personal writing experience of my life.
For 2013, posts will continue to come from life and work, from books read, and a host of subjects.
So welcome to my public journey. Join me in the conversation. And let us together move beyond discussions of today’s (or yesterday’s) best practices as we discover tomorrow’s next practices.