One of the things I’m doing of late is getting ready slowly to remove myself completely from social media (namely Twitter and LinkedIn). At this stage, I’m unsure how it’s going to happen but what I do know is that I think I’ve pretty much reached my limit when it comes to learning how to use it for building my networks and building a digital profile. I don’t want to learn about any more new ones, I don’t want to participate or set up new accounts either.
Thanks COVID and lockdowns, you have ultimately thrown everything I held to account as important to know or follow into complete disarray. In its place, you have made me realise that I can STILL do my work in such a way that doesn’t smack of pretense through using the formulaic thought leadership business models. In fact, there’s no right or wrong answer anymore. I don’t have to lie in their Procrustean bed (more to follow about that).
Instead, I’m going to use my own curation, research, note taking and real life networking skills to directly approach people and explore their ideas without having to have conversations about it openly. That is, I’d like to slow things down and really take in, reflect, write about what I’m finding – that is, more seeking and sense making than sharing.
I figured that my many years online has put me in contact with so many people, given me access to so many opportunities that I wouldn’t have otherwise thought possible and put me front and centre with some wonderful, radical, innovative ideas and people.
It’s been brilliant frankly.
However, I’ve been thinking about how social media is used by many for marketing their business and services and I’ve begun to think that I never felt comfortable with doing that and as I don’t have anything to market or sell myself anymore (I have removed all Services off this blog if you have noticed) than social media used for in-depth discussion and conversation with different networks and perspectives but they now seem to be a thing of the past hence Twitter seems to have lost its value for me.
Of course, these conversations have moved into private online communities and in some way, I’m also picky when it comes to what communities I want to join because believe it or not, I don’t want to get sucked into conversation with no direct outcome. Meaning I don’t want to pontificate anymore.
I want conversations that steer towards making a positive change of some sort.
I’m done talking for talking sake.
These outcomes or ends that I’m looking for instead, can be:
- A collaboration
- A real life meeting
- An opportunity to experience or create something new
- An opportunity to work in a team-based event or project
- An opportunity that has the potential to provide some good back to people or a community
A conference speaking opportunity(not anymore as I decline more and more requests for these now because they’re unpaid OR they simply don’t align to where I am at mentally anymore).
I know that this is a cop out but I’ve begun to think that it’s high time I take charge where my time is spent and having conversations talking about the same old topics (organisational learning and development; future of work; future of learning; etc), is not it.
I’m tired of talking about the same old topics which haven’t changed for so many years so I’ve slowly removed myself from the conversation entirely.
My interest has completely dissipated.
In fact, if someone mentions to be about 70-20-10; Learning Styles or how L&D can get a seat at the table, I’m going to walk away as I have nothing else I need to say that hasn’t been said many times over the years.
I know that this is dangerous to many because in effect, you become invisible to your networks and your communities. As you become invisible, you’ll notice that your online conversations reduce and there’ll be a handful of people who will remain in contact with you through phone, email or online meetings because they’re in the process of doing the same.
Am I scared about the invisibility?
Sure, it’s scary but at the same time it’s pretty exciting because it means all sorts of different things for me.
I can explore different things without having them have to be linked to organisational learning and development; I can be responsible for filling up my own time with my own things; and I don’t get down rabbit warrens in social media wasting time online when I could be doing something else.
I’ve noticed that many of my network who are my age (50s and older) are getting to the point of removing themselves from the ‘online rat race’ and retreating to quieter pursuits. I look at them in admiration and can easily see myself doing the same (well, I’m already doing it 2 days a week as I work part-time).
You know what the beauty of getting yourself off social media is?
It’s the fact that you can still create. You can have your blog, or vlog (like I have this and my YouTube channel) but if I wanted to, there’s nothing stopping me from writing a book – ie going old school. I’ve also been having more email and phone conversations with people which is also great and it makes me realise that not everything needs to be shared. In fact, it’s preferable not to get influenced by the noise and the crowd. It’s nice not to have to be seen as a “leading authority in XYZ”. I never felt comfortable with that anyway.
However, what I don’t want to get myself to do is to create a whole business out of social media either and having to be pressured to share tweets, posts, Instagram photos and get into conversations or create some kind of community around it.
I want to simply do what I want to do for the pleasure of it – not the business of it.
At times, I look at my YouTube channel with some fear. I see the subscribers building up to now I have 420 (?) and I think to myself SHIT!
That’s simply too much pressure to have to “entertain or educate” subscribers. It means I have to consistently perform or create videos so this goes against what I want my YouTube channel to be.
I’m not creating the videos to educate or to entertain. I am creating them to show that “I exist”.
They are mainly for me to keep a record of the things I’m learning and doing.
So last weekend, I got a bit scared at the increasing numbers of subscribers and decided to take it down a notch and have people UNSUBSCRIBE. So I loaded up a video on my knitting projects. I’m hoping that the mix of videos I put up there is enough for people to reconsider their subscription and then elect to opt out. They may be slightly confused as to what I’m sharing and why but that’s okay.
In some way, I think it’s nicer if people stumble upon my YouTube channel as oppose to subscribing and become disappointed in it because they will.
If anything, I’d want them to be inspired to start their own – if I can help with that – then they don’t need to subscribe to mine.