Am I done with Twitter? Who would have imagined that I would ever say that? I can’t believe I have even written that down. But I have been wondering it lately. There has been loads of great stuff shared, almost too much. I have been retweeting heaps of genius Tweeps. But I’ve realised where is my voice? What do I have to say? How am I adding value?
This year has been an odd one for my family, a brave one for my business and a quick one in my life (if indeed days can pass more quickly this year than in any other, but it certainly feels like they are). The challenges this year have found me using Twitter in a different way, a more quiet way, a more passive way. From tweeting daily with a tip for L&D professionals in the 2015 #NoPlasters campaign, this year I have found myself quietly just retweeting other people’s good stuff. For some of the year I didn’t want a voice. I didn’t want to talk about death. I did want to talk about building Shedquarters and taking on my first employee, but I didn’t quite know what to say. So I kind of feel like I have been missing out by being passive, by sharing and not contributing, but I feel mostly that I have not been adding value to my #PLN Tweeps as they have been to me. I am not sure if adding value is a pre-requisite of Twitter, and Paul Taylor-Pitt called me out on that. A good challenge, though I concluded my natural state of joy is as a giver not taker, so that is why it is sitting uncomfortably with me that I am taking in my favourite space, not giving.
One reason I have been less engaged I guess is time. I know everyone is ‘busy’, and I am not more than most I suppose. I have three children at different schools and in different clubs which often causes somewhat of a logistical challenge. I run my own business and need to liaise regularly with staff as well as current and prospective clients. I am Lead Volunteer for Learning at Girlguiding UK for which I volunteer one day a week (much like I volunteer an hour and a half a week for my Guide unit – those who know, will know). I also volunteer for other community and charity work. So I guess some of this Twitter shift is a natural switch off. But I miss Twitter. I miss having my own voice in a space I get so much from.
Today I decided to experiment to get my groove back. Firstly I embraced my new way of using Twitter, as a taker not a giver, at least for this morning. I checked in with you all on Twitter sharing my dilemma, and as ever you have been very kind – retweets are useful, why do you need to have a voice, find time, etc. https://twitter.com/MiPS1608/status/908223110733844480 But a good dog walk later I realised that for it is not enough for me to take and be passive, I do need to give. A chance Tweet by Andy Lancaster https://twitter.com/MiPS1608/status/908266377647190016 noting his volunteering life made me think that’s the thing #Volunteering. I get so much from my voluntary life I could encourage others to volunteer, to give back, or simply be kinder. I chucked a tweet out in that vein and was encouraged in Doug Shaw’s response https://twitter.com/dougshaw1/status/908266980192419841. So perhaps I will play here to see if #volunteering is where I will find my voice back on Twitter, encouraging volunteering, encouraging giving back, encouraging trying new things.
Then I thought, how can I try new things? I do so much volunteering, I think my husband would leave me if I do anything more! How can I try new stuff that doesn’t take new time? And I realised I was thinking this whilst on a dog walk with a friend – that was a new thing for me as I don’t get to walk with friends often. I realised thinking about new things too much means new things don’t happen. Just do it, say yes and do it. I found myself typing most of this blog with my eyes closed because the sun was shining into Shedquarters. Then I was conscious that was new. I was conscious of my accuracy and how much better it was feeling the keys rather than watching the letters. Trying new things is fun! Pour your milk into your tea first. Take your coffee black instead of white. Have tonic with cucumber but no gin….OK, OK, what am I saying?!!? (Somethings are best left alone.) But I have decided to try new things, little things, and see what I notice and what surprises me. I encourage you to do the same. If you don’t volunteer now, try volunteering as a new thing. See what you notice. See what surprises you.
Meanwhile, back to Twitter and Guiding.