When social media came along, killed off long-form writing and scattered the masses across the platforms, all of a sudden, my blog became a ghost town. It didn’t help that the spam bots worked overtime which meant that I had to constantly moderate, check and block comments that came from dubious sources.
Truth be told, I miss the old days where I could engage with people who were interested in what I shared ON my actual blog and not out across in different social media spaces where the comments, threads, stories, links and references were lost in the noise.
For a while, I was appeased by using social media for different purposes to sense make but I had the niggling feeling that social media platforms simply made my thinking more “scattered” because I was worried about the perception of what I was sharing to the audience of that platform.
It didn’t help that people were sharing their own opinions on how I should be doing my own social media.
For my blog, however, they had no say in the matter. That was my own mental space online.
Many people know that I love Twitter. It’s the one social medium that has allowed me to tap into a variety of global networks and resources that have been critical to my work in corporate learning.
However, in recent years, I deliberately expanded my networks to include people in different fields of music, art, science, comedy, startups, economics and technology who in turn have basically moved my thinking up a notch or three. However, once my network became collaborators where we worked on projects together and where we came from different backgrounds and industries, that’s when I realised that a personal transformation was taking place.
I didn’t come out the same person as I went in.
I guess you can say that I was “enlightened”. They exposed me to different ideas, perspectives, insights and made me see the world in a completely new light. They expanded my world view so much so that I questioned why I had been taking such a narrow view previously. It made my “Learning and Development” view so tiny in comparison.
My year of reading fiction and the classics last year also did something else to me.
The books I read represented mirrors to my life and of others. They made me think for myself, to question, reflect, wonder and consider.
As I sat there listening to others share their personal opinions of the book at my book club and link it to their own life’s experiences or values, I began to wonder that I’m doing myself a disservice if I:
- read the same books that everyone else is reading;
- follow the trends that everyone else is following;
- watch the same movies that everyone is watching;
- network in the same networks everyone else is in;
- do the same stuff that everyone else is doing;
- and share the same stuff that everyone is sharing.
The value of thinking for oneself means that you need to put in the work and spend time reflecting and coming up with your own ideas and creations – not following, sharing or copying other peoples.
As such, I realised that I’m always on the lookout for people who enlighten me – and guess what? They could be out of the network entirely.
They could be the “outliers” who are not participating in the noisy conversations online. Who cares if they’re not connected to anyone else? They’re more likely head down working hard at creating something new, making discoveries and making the world a better place.
They know when the time is right, the right people will come to THEM. For now, they’re focussing their mental energies on something far more important than being lost in the noise.
As such I’m on the search of these outliers. I’m more interested in people who will provide me with enlightenment but do it in such a way where the intent is a mutual personal transformation for the purpose of knowledge and wisdom than profit.
Oh, they’re out there. I just need to find them.