Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Exclusion Zone

I kept away from social media yesterday. I felt that my SoMe (social media) communities were engaged in a collective discussion around a topic for which, although I had some sympathy, I was not 'qualified' nor engaged with enough to want to participate in or discuss, nor to raise any other topic which could be construed as 'off message'. The topic, of course, was the death of David Bowie.

This got me thinking about why so many people have a view that social media is 'not for them'; how they feel excluded from 'the club'; that they 'don't have anything to say' in those spaces. I get that. I have found a community - and a voice - in social media, principally in my professional field of Learning & Development, but also in other areas of personal interest. And those communities  have been enormously important and supportive to me and my family in this last year, for which I am eternally grateful.

But sometimes, it feels like I'm the only person in the world who hasn't been touched by - or indeed, cares enough about - some events. And that triggers my 'not belonging' injunction, big time. I feel myself drawing back into my shell, wanting to keep my head down, whilst trying to resist an underlying anger and almost contempt for others' genuine and sincere sharing of their individual feelings. This makes me feel even more unworthy and shallow, as though I am lacking in empathy or cultural awareness, whilst all around me are remembering, emoting, respecting and sharing their grief and their loss. 

This is difficult stuff, by the way, and I share my thoughts here advisedly. I made the mistake several years ago (2011 in fact) of expressing a contrary view to the death of another cultural icon in a fairly dismissive tweet, and was rightly called out on it. I blogged then about how that changed my perspective and thinking about intent versus impact in social media "What Else I Learned on my Holidays"

Nowadays, I try to exercise consideration (and thereby constraint) in my SoMe activities. I am very conscious of the appropriateness of topic or comment in the face of others' national, community, collective or indeed, individual experience, which is immediate and heartfelt. Whilst I recognise the importance and significance of David Bowie's leadership in our art, music and culture over the last 50 years, and I totally get how important he was to so many people - particularly, it appears, in my SoMe and PLN (Personal Learning Network) communities - and whilst sad for his family, friends and admirers for their loss, I remain pretty untouched by his death.

So I stepped back yesterday and let everyone get on with it. No offence intended.  As my Jewish In-Laws say at times like this, I wish you a long life.

Monday, 4 January 2016

New Normal (2)

And so it begins...

Today is Monday the 4th of January 2016, the first day of my 'new normal' working life. Regular readers of my blogs will be aware of the challenging year 2015 was for me and my family, a milestone year of fantastic highs and significant lows. That is now behind me and I will refer to it no more.

2016 is the year where I choose what I want to work on, how I want to work on it, and with whom. I have over 30 years' experience in Learning and Development, as a business owner and in the public and the commercial sectors. I have succeeded in my various roles and responsibilities by learning as I went along, stepping up into hitherto unknown territories, relying on my own quick study and the wisdom of my colleagues and co-workers, getting whatever training was necessary - and then getting on with the job, the best learning technique of them all.

My proposition is simple. I believe that no-one goes to work to have a miserable time and that, with the right support and encouragement, we can all have fulfilling, purposeful working experiences which benefit us, our colleagues, our customers, our families and the wider community in which we all live and operate. I believe that adult to adult dialogue and conversations between and amongst colleagues and facilitators is the way to achieve this - be it peer to peer, manager to colleague, or 'learner' to 'trainer/consultant'. People make mistakes. I've made mistakes. The big mistake would be to make that mistake again because we didn't learn from it the first time round. So listen. Don't judge (everyone is fighting their own battles that you know nothing about).

And now I'm choosing to step into a #newnormal working life and am offering my experience and pragmatic approach to L&D, Learning Technologies and Social Media to anyone who would be interested in working with me to improve themselves, their people and their outcomes.

If that's of interest, get at me via comments here, via Twitter, LinkedIn or About.Me