This is my 150th post on this blog and it comes after an almost 6 month hiatus. A lot has happened since then including a wedding day, a honeymoon and 90 orientation sessions over the summer. Craziness!
Over the past 6 months I’ve uninstalled Facebook and Tweetdeck from my phone, ran obstacle course races, volunteered at obstacle course races, presented almost 70 orientation sessions, traveled to Europe, cruised the Mediterranean, went back to school, discovered Reddit, and haven’t played a video game.
Here is what I’ve come to realize, there is a lot of noise out there on the internet.
I scan Tweetdeck and Facebook at work and at home and see lots of noise.
I listen to the streets on my walks to the subway and home and hear lots of noise.
Noise. Noise. Noise. (queue the scene from The Grinch Who Stole Christmas)
Within the noise though, I’ve been able to find music and conversations and brainstorming and storyboarding and all these great things. What no longer amazes me is people who run from sites such as Twitter. The places have become full of noise. Even LinkedIn and G+, which were once sort of barren wastelands, are now thriving with activity albeit not always of the highest quality.
The way I’ve been able to cut through the noise is to find value. Imagine being at a party and you meet someone or a group of people in a really intense conversation about something you are enthused about. What do you do? Do you yell over the music? Or do you say, “Hey, want to move over here where the music isn’t so loud?” That’s all I’ve done or have had people do to me. What I mean by that is, take the conversations out of the main space. I’ve had more conversations on GChat, Gmail, Facebook groups, and Linkedin than I have on Twitter. I went from tweeting almost 20 times a day to maybe 2 or 3.
Now I’m not saying banish incessant tweeting and sharing nor am I saying to stop what you are doing and making noise. Noise is great, lots of great things can happen when a bunch of noise harmonizes and finds a rhythm. What I am saying is take your conversations to the next level. Engage in other ways through other venues. Connect on Google Hangouts. Write e-mails instead of 140 character messages. Pick up the phone. Write a letter.
I’ve done those things and it has made me realize that from my 3 or 4 years on Twitter, I’ve been able to meet some really incredible people and make some really great friends. Of course I realize that doesn’t mean I should stop Twitter or tweeting as much. One of my greatest sources of energy is connecting with other people and having intellectual sparring matches; two things that Twitter is fantastic for.
I guess the point is, take a sabbatical whether it is for a week or a month or six months and see if you recognize any differences. For me, it was realizing who I missed connecting with and how much of those connections relied on Twitter. That realization has given me all sorts of material to reflect and act on, just imagine what it could do for you.