I am not afraid of technology. Nor am I one of those holdouts who will only try something new if I can completely justify its value. I enjoy new things as much as anyone, and I grew up with as many electronic toys, tools, etc. as anyone in my generation. We had computers in college, but the internet was just getting popular (Rhodes College, class of ‘93). I bought my first computer and got my first email address in ‘94.
However, I was somewhat skeptical about jumping into social networking, especially from a professional point of view. I guess I was comfortable with my blogging, email, and internet searching. Social networking seemed different from those items. For me, trying Facebook and Twitter was the electronic equivalent of firing a BB gun for the first time. I was intrigued by the prospect of entering a world filled with people who share my interests and talents, but also somewhat hesitant to share my ideas and thoughts.
What if I actually “shoot my eye out” when I try this social networking thing?
As with the BB gun (I wanted to show my father that I was mature enough to handle such a device – no longer a “baby”), I eventually found some justification. For me, I remember all my graduate courses, conferences, and speakers I have sat through over the years. I remember thinking, “The one constant value in all those wonderful experiences has been the people I met, the conversations, and the ideas shared.” I can capture that experience again, live it every day, and do it for next to no cost by using a few social networking sites.
I have now been tweeting a little over a month, and I have had both a personal and professional Facebook page for a little while. I can say without hesitation that the sharing of experiences and ideas through these mediums has been the most exciting professional development I have explored in quite some time.
Now, I am trying to find ways to guide others to this same experience.
If you have stories or suggestions that have worked for you, feel free to share.