At some point in the past year (for a variety of reasons) the how, the why, and the when of social media slightly changed for me. I have been reflecting a ton on the purpose of social media to me – both professionally and personally (see Social Media in Education: Who Is It Really About?). I have been thinking about HOW I read online (unfortunately, often just scan) and HOW I interact with others. I have been thinking about the purpose of social media as it pertains to my learning and my life. I have altered the amount of time I spend learning from and with others online.
Over the holidays, one of the books I read was Mark Goulston’s “Just Listen: Discovering the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone”. Among the many things that resonated with me in this great read was that I realized in the past few years, I have spent too much time trying to be interesting online and less time being interested offline (and online). I have spent so much time communicating, learning and connecting that it has distracted me from the DOING both in my school and in my life outside of school. I also know this is all a part of my continuous learning journey to be a better leader, educator, and person… to me, this is growth.
“The measure of self-assurance is how deeply and sincerely interested you are in others; the measure of insecurity is how much you try to impress them with you.” — Mark Goulston
Some people have asked me which single word defines my goals for 2013. Although I do not generally make new year’s resolutions, I believe that the word that has driven me to be better in the past year and into this year is: FOCUS. In addition to spending more focused time with my family and in my school, as well as in my personal and professional learning, I need to focus more on LISTENING and being INTERESTED. I will continue to share interesting things that I read and the successes we are having at Kent School but I will work harder on being more interested in those around me.
“If you want to have an interesting dinner conversation, be interested. If you want to have interesting things to write, be interested. If you want to meet interesting people, be interested in the people you meet—their lives, their history, their story.” — Jim Collins
Related post: Listen With Your Eyes
Chris being interested vs interesting immediately made me think of the Mind Up program I am working through with my grade one students right now. To me being interested is heavily correlated with being mindful and being in the present. Thanks for the reminder. Karen
Thanks for sharing this personal and professional reflection and growth, Chris. I am sure it will help others who are just starting to use social media as well. Great quotes too!
What is the saying…? “It is easier to be clever than kind”. I often try to get my teens to think about how they post.. eg. Are they only trying to be interesting, or trying to be a good friend too? I have to reflect more on what I model for them as well. These online spaces and experiences do pull us in places that we may not always be aware of at first.
You have shown genuine interest in others in all the support you have given many – online and off – from what I have seen. I am sure you will continue to model and share good things however your focus and learning path changes ahead. We all have to be patient with ourselves and with others as we juggle our sharing and doing and family life.
Fantastic thoughts, Chris! Certainly a manifesto for all us educators to live by. It is something that we all should be mindful of. Being focused, listening to, and being interested in others, is certainly the way to genuinely connect with others. Thanks for the insight.
Great post! I agree with you…..being more present for your family and the people you work with is key…social media is great too, but cannot replace the relationships we have with others in person…I think it is great that you have decided to make this a goal…I am sure you will succeed…kids grow so fast. They will appreciate you for it.
I love that in the middle of your busy life you have had the emotional intelligence and awareness to recognize that your cyber-life of learning a lot online is actually leading you to be less interesting than if you just slowed down and learned the old fashioned way. On my blog I am endeavouring to combine both worlds in that my own innately curious brain thinks of something new it would enjoy trying, then I google how to do it, then I do it in real life and then document my findings online. So I kind of flip back and forth from tech-focus to reality-focused and back again.