I've been thinking why I'm spending less time in social networks lately... and this is why -- everyone talks (mostly about themselves) so few listen for ways to actually be someone who is looking to develop a relationship.
Just be a friend, not play one on Facebook.
I wrote a version of this thought on Google+ two days ago based upon my experiences in the last couple of years. It probably came into focus more recently because I took the time to reflect upon what I am contributing with my sharing and writing.
It does take time to build relationships as the exchange with Anna Farmery indicates -- we were able to have the back and forth (even as we both admittedly were on the go) because of an earlier connection made in person.
When we talk about evolution of social, we often refer to the technologies and what to do to optimize time spent on networks -- APIs, best practices, being productive, doing more with less effort, etc.
We also go to the other end of the spectrum and talk about the distractions or partial attention issues, trolling and mob examples, with associated pressure to keep up with the coders.
It's the stuff in the middle that we talk little about.
To me blogging represents that core activity of thinking out loud and making sense of things that is being overlooked in the hurry to establish our creds with mainstream publications on our way to bigger / better things.
Blogging has changed
Aside from acknowledging that blogging has changed due to the explosion of ways to share and channels that make it frictionless to do so, we are far from what I consider a worthy pursuit of rebuilding community for the Web.
A million blog years ago, I wrote:
with an eye on outcomes, from my perspective there are 4 A's in blogging:
ASPIRE -- This means seeking out new forms of connection, aiming for something greater than self, wanting to make a difference, and keeping hope that you will. When I talk to younger generations, I hear about meaning a lot.
ASK -- Blogs are a very large repository of knowledge, thus it affords multiple opportunities to learn and experiment. I remember an old song that said "being a man meant you never had to ask". Asking and interacting are the foundation of what blogging is all about.
ATTRACT -- We are a focal point for conversations at the intersection of what is happening today and what it means for the future. In that sense, we want to invite innovation and creativity into our lives and work to redraw where these new dynamics exist.
ACT-- We need to take our own advice and do something. Try new things, act out on different dynamics, take steps to execute, and then repeat. With new media, the barrier to entry is much lower. Blogging may be easy. The hard part is getting traction and creating something that people want to join.
Personally, with 2,065 posts over 6.5 yrs, I have tried it all on this blog -- short posts, visuals, lots of questions, two full surveys, informal feedback requests, bullet posts, posts punctuated by headlines, plenty of best practices as formats, and so on.
So I'm willing to just write what I'm thinking about without worrying too much about traffic or links, or any of that stuff.
Acts of creation
My own focus on being a creator of original content led me to withdraw from online activity and experimentation to dedicate more time to acting upon what I have learned and continue to observe.
As I said in the G+ thread, I'd like more reflection on how we listen and why we don't provide feedback beyond "this was valuable to me right now/tactically". Intangible, long term thinking/feeling kind of value is not demonstrably appreciated -- and we need it more than ever.
We get what we pay attention to, which in turn means we are the poorer individually and collectively for not acknowledging the hard work of so many outside popularity contests.
Some say: "if you cannot beat them, join them"
I think we need to model different behaviors -- why is it, for example, that we choose to acknowledge publicly only certain individuals who look and talk like us? (and I'm not referring specifically to gender or race, even though there is still a very unfavorable ratio in that department).
We should aspire to become better, not stoop down.
Better is often dressed up like work... it is also tucked into genuine outreach for learning purposes. I do a poor impression of someone who asks for help, and my hunch is you would as well.
The reason why I haven't been posting about what I'm thinking more regularly in the last month is I'm focusing on figuring out how to do more of the right things in my work and say better what I'm working on to figure out how to iron out the wrong turns.
What I'm working on
These days I spend more time on media and entertainment (multi-screen/device, second screen, and social TV) and eCommerce (personalized user experience implementations, SoLoMo, digital in store, user driven responsive design, etc.) with exposure to many beauty brands implementations
I do love the behavior-driven experience strategy and digital/social context building.
It's still early days with social and even the effects of the Web, what we can do and have come to expect online, in our lives.
My observation is that we spend too much time defining and labeling, more than loving what we do and who we do it with.
I want to change that.
Making sense of what we experience is a worthy pursuit, and we don't need to sacrifice the experiencing of it.
Business as usual is bunk
Chris Garrett frames one of my pet peeves gracefully in a recent post.
Developing empathy, being compassionate and offering measured responses, demonstrating character and willingness to have an open mind are all fair descriptions for "professionally human" behavior.
It feels a lot like uploading humanism to me. And we're still doing a tiny fraction of it online.
Valeria is an experienced listener. She is also frequent speaker at conferences and companies on a variety of topics. To book her for a speaking engagement click here.