So I LOVE the show “How I Met Your Mother.” I always say it is the “Friends” of my generation. Last night, one of the main characters, Barney, said something that so related to this post (which I have been sitting on for 5 days now) and has prompted me to finally finish. He said “Crazy stories are my thing! … You all have a passion that drives you. Well if I have a passion it’s taking life and turning it into a series of crazy stories. If you can do that without me, then I don’t even know who I am anymore.” OK so maybe that is a little dramatic but on the course here. I thought OMG that is me, I love to tell stories. I love to tell stories about the insane things I witness or do. The best part, the stories are true, and real. Though I may leave out the lame or even the sad parts and leave the good stuff, it is my story. Some people are better than others at telling these stories. I work with a teacher who used to teach social studies, kids loved to listen to him tell the story of what ever part of history it was. The odd part is that even if we tell them or not, most of the time we are interested in listening to a story.
Last month I led a conversation at Educon with Gerald Aungst about storytelling. When getting the presentation together I did a lot of research on how our brains enjoy telling and hearing stories. I also read a lot about how when information is put into story form it can create a relationship with others because we put our personal opinions as well as our spin on the stories.
That brings us to the post I am sitting on. I missed an online meeting last week and when reviewing the PPT of what I missed I saw the question was asked “Do you use different accounts for personal and professional social networking?” It kind of threw me, because seriously there were many places I could not answer either way. The only social network I can say that I never use professionally is Pinterest. It is my one escape that has nothing ever to do with school (even though I know it has great resources there). On the flip side the only social media I use completely professionally is this blog. Everything in between is just a hodgepodge.
So why the hodgepodge? Well it is called social media for a reason, right? Social part is big for me. When I first joined Twitter I didn’t really talk to others, I just read tweets and clicked on links. Then I started putting my own links out there, but it was just when I had a random moment. I think when all of it started to change from this place just to read this or that was when conversations started happening, when I started asking questions, when I started answering questions. Then noticed that those who’s tweets I would notice more than others where the ones who put their personality into it, those who had conversations, even if those convos were with themselves. I began connecting with these people – who were mostly teachers – more and more. Relationships started to develop. So many of them are now my best friends, BUT what is most important, I learn from them. The real reason I started a Twitter account in the first place.
The reasons the connections happened goes back to the research I did on storytelling. When we use social media “socially” we are telling our story. Even if we use it professionally, our story can get told as well. Like I said above, when we tell or hear a story we form relationships. It at least starts a conversation that can lead to that relationship. Do I share everything? Heck no. I may tweet a lot but like Barney, I just tell the awesome part of the story. I have plenty of “blah” and fears I am not comfortable putting out there.
As I said, this blog is the only social media I use completely professionally, but if you have stopped by here before you may realize it is my professional story. I share my ups, my downs, my frustration, my fears. When that happens we find things we have in common or things we disagree on. I got a ping back recently from a college student who’s assignment was to review my blog and he called it “annoying.” To him, and I am sure many others, I am. He felt as if from just reading my blog he knew me enough to know he wasn’t too fond of my personality. I took that as a good thing that I am being me here.
If our students came to class everyday to just get the facts, regurgitate the facts, stay quiet, then leave, school would not have much purpose for them. They would distant themselves from it and would not retain as much as they should. When we use social media just as a place to drop off facts and pick them up, we may learn some new things, but we miss out on so much more. We miss out on the social part of learning. We miss others stories, or even scarier, others miss out on hearing our story.
So, what is your story??
**Just a little disclaimer, I missed that online meeting and I can bet that quote is out of context. But it is a conversation that keeps coming up lately in my life so took it and ran with it.**