Week of Living Connectedly Wrap Up
I’m going to start this post with a big admission of failure in my #weekoflivingconnectedly. I could do an analysis of my metrics–i.e. number of postings, pics uploaded, etc–but I will say with relative confidence that I didn’t meet the quotas of tweets, Instagram pics and other goals I set out with last week. I could not keep on top of my existing social media sites, much less explore the new social networks I had planned. I am a big, fat social media loser.
As I reported, the experiment started great. I got a big social media endorphin rush after I dumped all of my gmail contacts into both Facebook and LinkedIn (the latter site, I still don’t quite know how to use). Years of various correspondences had trapped some pretty cool people’s email addresses; because of my contact dump, many of those people became my Facebook and LinkedIn contacts (there were also a bunch of people I had no recollection corresponding with…people I love of course). I was excited to be connected with these people, however loosely.
Having this larger network gave–and will give–me access to more ideas, resources and so forth. And when I choose to share my own ideas, resources and so forth, those things will have a larger audience. These are all good things.
But after a couple days of frenzied social media activity, I realized the level of technological connection I sought to achieve required a lot of work and attention. And I made the mistake of conducting my experiment on a holiday weekend–a time when I really didn’t want to work or give my attention to anything other than chilling out, friends and family. For three days I all but relinquished technology and my online presence went dark. And though I had ostensibly “connected” to 300 or so new people, as far as the weekend was concerned, I was really only interested in connecting with a half-dozen or so people–and none of that connection was to be done online. I could have forced myself to keep the experiment up during my precious weekend, but it felt like a major pain in the ass to do so.
My words should not by any stretch be construed as a condemnation of technology or social media. I took away a couple valuable things from the week that I might not have gleaned had I not started the experiment:
- I (and probably you) have a much bigger network of awesome people at my disposal than I thought. Who knew that so many cool people doing cool things were just lurking quietly in my contact list? But I never added them to my electronic network because I was shy or thought it presumptuous. But networks aren’t built if you don’t take actions to initiate and maintain connections with people. What I learned is that social media is really good way of doing that. And I also learned that people are waiting to connect with us. No, most of these people won’t become “friends” in the deep sense of the word, but some might. In the future, I will have no compunction about connecting with people online and expanding my network in turn.
- Ideas die when they aren’t shared. Years ago, my laptop’s hard-drive crashed. I lost countless things I had written–stuff I had poured a lot of time into and was quite proud of. After the initial shock of the loss, I realized that the only things not lost were those things that had been shared or published. Only the things I had given away were retained. It is easy to argue that the nearly ceaseless stream of information the internet dispenses creates an entropic tangle of information, too tangled to ever be digested and understood in a meaningful way. But I think the web also affords us the opportunity to share the things that are important. If those things are deemed unimportant, they get buried, being relegated to bits of unloved information burrowed deep in some lonely server. But if they’re good ideas–and, yes, often when they’re not good–they have the opportunity to flourish, grow and live. I think I will be quicker to share ideas after my week of living (semi) connectedly than I did before. This is a good thing.