Social Media and Being a Professional

Illustration by John Tenniel of the Red Queen ...

Illustration by John Tenniel of the Red Queen lecturing Alice for Lewis Carroll’s “Through The Looking Glass” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have been in a number of conversations lately where my colleagues and friends are grappling with staying on top of their game, so to speak, both online and in the office.  Not only are we coping with the well-known information overload, but we have the desire to improve, deepen and expand our skills, knowledge and expertise.  Each of us is evolving a methodology to accomplish this, but it changes a lot and, with so much change, it can be difficult to feel like you’re really progressing.  It feels so much like the Red Queen‘s comment in Lewis Carroll‘s Through The Looking-Glass : “Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!”

So how am I using social media, in a broad sense, to keep up?  My daily routine changes a bit every day, but generally I check in on my professional organizations’ Facebook pages and take part in the conversations.  I’m starting to get more engaged in some LinkedIn groups, but I have yet to pare down the groups that I feel I can make a meaningful contribution, so I am still mostly lurking.  Following Twitter is a bit like dipping your hand in a flooding river, but I check it about once a day to see if there is anything that I find particularly of interest.  I will also tweet any worthwhile articles and their links.

My work on this blog is not consistent enough for my tastes, but I’m working on that.  My biggest challenge here continues to be the feeling that I need to spend a great deal of time honing and crafting a post.  Awhile back I read Dan Pressfield’s inspiring book “Do The Work” and I may reread it.  It helps me to overcome what he calls The Resistance. In fact this post is part of this effort on my part.

I visit a number of technology news sites and blogs every day to stay current, learn something new and maybe make a comment or two.  As a communicator, community manager and social media professional, following the thought leaders and contributing to the conversation is important, and actually kind of fun.  I have to be careful here, as it would be very easy to get lost in the conversation and then the morning is shot, so I limit myself.

On the more formal professional development side, I have taken courses, completed an advanced degree, and am presently looking into stretching my competency even more into instructional systems.  I feel that the rigor that the instructional community has demonstrated, as well as the new work around ways of learning and measuring learning, apply widely to many other areas of working with and helping people.  I wish to discover how this body of knowledge and practice may evolve and perhaps contribute to that.  I have always held to the tenet that, although online, it is still all about people, so understanding people can only help in any kind of relationship or community work, both online and offline.

That’s the snapshot of where I am today.  Consider what you want to accomplish and how you might plan for it, realizing it will grow and change….still, better to make mid-course corrections than drift.

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