Thursday evening, the Social Media Club Columbia had a roundtable on blogging. I sat there with some kind of facial grimace that I hope resembled a smile, all the while remembering that my last post here was, to put it mildly, ancient.
Does it help at all that I poked around to read the blogs of some of the other participants, only to discover that the majority were as neglected as mine? No. I take no comfort in that at all.
In my goal planning for this year at work, I determined that I should create 48 blog posts over the year. That’s not an unreasonable goal for a business blog. So far, I’m on target.
I hate to admit it, but sometimes I’m a much better theoretician than practitioner.
I’d appreciate it if you would skip over to the business blog and read the post I wrote for Clean Out Your Computer Day. It’s one of those that writes itself for me.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
When I was a kid (shush!), it was the rage to dot your i’s with hearts, and punctuate most things with smiley faces.
Somehow I did end up with a pair of yellow smiley face earrings, and a rather large metal smiley face necklace. I’m not sure how that happened– must have been a gift. Probably from that person who always used to tell me to smile.
I was a serious holdout. In my weaker moments, I played with the bubble writing, but natch. To this day, I’ve never used a heart as the dot over an i. Or a flower.
What I do go all curmudgeon about is the smiley face.
The logic is simplistic: Readers can’t always glean the substance of the personal written word, and need a hint to understand the emotional overtones of an email. Hence, the proliferation in the use of the emoticon; i.e., the emotive icon.
Yes, I use the :-) quite a bit, and I cringe each time. Actually, I tend to use :) . The big yellow ones didn’t have a nose, and it’s easier to type. :P
I do have a certain fondness for :P .
But what are we conveying by punctuating our emails with smiling emoticons? Are we saying, “Hey, don’t take it personally”? I think sometimes we are.
Just as frequently though, I think that little emoticon is an attempt to pull the wool over the reader’s eyes, as in, “Yes, I just said something really nasty, but I’m going to put this little smiley face here so we can both pretend I didn’t really mean it that way.” Who are we fooling?
I wonder why we feel so inadequate in our written communiques– both as scribers and as readers– that we must resort to using a visual representation of our meaning.
Working in social media is a bit of a paradigm shift for me. The fact is, I’m one of those people who can go a very long time without talking. I worried that my children would not learn how to talk, because no matter how good my intention, I would stop vocalizing. My internal dialogue would be going full steam, however.
I’m not much for small talk; I’m capable, but it’s not an enjoyable exercise. One of the primary goals of a social media strategy is to engage people in conversation. Now, one might think that the 140 character tweet could circumvent the small talk issue. Um. No. Not for me.
For example, the pundits advise not merely tweeting the link to an article you’ve found interesting, illuminating, or otherwise noteworthy, but adding a few words to say why you found it noteworthy. My inner voice says, well, I wouldn’t have forwarded it if I didn’t find it of interest, now would I? Then I sigh and remind myself that ESP is not an ability shared by very many people, and someone else may not find said article as enthralling. Save the time of the reader, whispers Ranganathan.
It’s not that I don’t have anything to say: I do. My internal dialogue is very busy, and can be very opinionated. Perhaps I censor that inner voice a little harshly.
By this time, if you’ve stayed with me this long, and you haven’t been living under the rock next to my cave, you might suggest I have the classic symptoms of an introvert. And you would be right.
But here’s the paradox. A social media platform can be a wonderful mouthpiece for the clown behind the curtain. “I am the great and powerful Oz!”, one could bellow, and no one (except that confounded little dog Toto) would know that the voice comes from someone who dreads the prospect of going to a gathering of more than five and having to exchange small talk.
A Google search for “social media introverts” results in a wealth of hits– 1.4 million. Who knew there were so many introverts out there expressing themselves through Twitter, blogging, and curating content?
I had one of those Chatty Cathy dolls. The novelty wore off with astonishing speed. It was a small talk nightmare. Those eleven sentences were not at all entertaining after the third or fourth repetition.
And that just might be the cause for my silence.
A quick snapshot of my “LinkedIn Today” for March 30 at 11:24 am:
- Six Ways to Acquire New Customers via Social Media: 1505 shares
- The One Skill All Leaders Should Work On: 984 shares
- Cultivating Charisma: How Personal Magnetism Can Help (Or Hurt) You At Work: 805 shares
- Don’t Dread Tomorrow’s Mandatory Switch To Timeline, Studies Show It’s Good For 95% Of Facebook Pages: 408 shares, tied with
- Can Too Much SEO Be a Bad Thing?: 408 shares
- Experience Is The Next Frontier In Marketing: 402 shares
I’ve joined the forces of those who use the neighborhood bookstore cafe as their home office. We hover around the electrical outlets, plugging in our laptops so that we can work at full power. We pay for our seats with extra large coffees and bookstore memberships so we can access the wi-fi. We ask complete strangers– our office mates– to watch our things while we head for the restrooms and do a quick browse on our way back.
What brought me to my office away from home? Mostly it’s the realization that once I’m home, the distractions are overwhelming and chaos seems to reign. My creative output slows to a trickle, and even dries up. And so I’ve fled my refuge to find a place where distractions are more easily shut out, including my neighbor who is singing while wearing headphones. I’m an ex-pat from my house.
The ambiance here is casual but studious. The piped-in music is soft. I’ve learned that eavesdropping can be fun. The typical drivel I block out by second nature. But every now and again, the most fascinating conversations tickle my ears; quiet discussions between complete strangers who are just whiling away some time, relaxing and sipping their coffees.
The new strategy is working out thus far. I’ve set up a schedule, and I’m ticking things off my to-do list. I’ve updated my LinkedIn profile, and re-written the About page on my website. I’ve caught up on some other writing; I’ve made notes for some new blog posts.
I look forward to my nights in the bookstore cafe. Do you have a special place where you find you are more productive? A bolt hole to escape to? Tell us about it in the comments below.
I’ve been doing some interesting reading lately. I’m listening to Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World by Jane McGonigal (@avantgame), and I’m reading My Life as a Night Elf Priest: An Anthropological Account of World of Warcraft, by Bonnie Nardi. Both are fascinating. I could insert a rant here about the differences between listening to a book and reading a book… but I’ll desist (for now). I might mention that I listened to Dan Tapscott’s book, Wikinomics, last year, and The World is Flat, by Thomas Friedman.
I have been playing more in large part to McGonigal’s book. Things IRL haven’t been golden lately, and oddly enough, I stopped playing WoW. After listening to Reality is Broken, I realized that perhaps not playing was not the best strategy. Interesting. So I made an effort to begin playing more frequently, and I’ve found it really does make a difference to me. It’s at this point that I find I really wish I had a hard copy of McGonigal’s book at hand. I’ll get back to this in another post.
Nardi’s My Life as a Night Elf Priest is also fascinating. One of the more attractive features is that this book is not a collection of essays, but an ethnographic exploration of World of Warcraft. I’m only in chapter 3, so I won’t talk about this book any further.
Last year I read Digital Culture, Play, and Identity: A World of Warcraft® Reader, edited by Corneliussen and Rettberg (@jilltxt). This is a book of essays by people who actually play WoW. I would like to be in their guild!
I promise all of this is building up to something; it’s still incubating, but I guarantee some sort of paper will result. In the meantime, Atzilut is level 84, and that’s something to enjoy.
(Edited and reposted from The WoW Librarian.)
Yes! I have a level 80 night elf druid! Just moments before I earned the 1500 Completed Quests achievement. I leveled when I turned in The Broken Front quest.
I am so very happy. <do happy dance> <– Gee, I ought to be able to write some code there…
Signing off… May the stars guide and watch over you!
After a bit of deliberation, I’ve decided to move my website (wowlibrarian.com) to a new platform. It’s been in Joomla! for a while; now it’s in WordPress. I’ve often used my website to test Joomla! updates and plugins; my website at times suffered for this. (Yeah, that’s a “duh” statement.) I learned about an online sandbox for testing software packages at LITA last year. Now if I can find my notes…I’ll be testing from there instead.
I’ve just downloaded a plugin for WordPress called CrossPress. This plugin should allow me to “post once, publish many”. I guess we’ll see in a minute. If you read this on wowlibrarian.blogspot.com, you’ll know it worked.
Atzilut is at level 78.5! I’ve been playing more regularly lately, and it’s done wonders for me. Looks like I’ll get to 80 before Cataclysm is released.