You would be excused for thinking that I'd abandoned this blog. I haven't posted since October, a disturbing 7 months ago and an eternity in Internet time.
It's not that I haven't been online. In fact, I've been blogging, Tweeting and using wikis, Facebook and other tools for most of my clients. But that's been the problem. My social media energies have been expended on behalf of other people and I've lost touch with social media for myself.
In the past 7 months, I've used social media to pay attention to the topics that interest my clients and to engage in conversations about their needs and issues. I've set up wikis and Facebook Fan pages for their virtual conferences, blogged about their activities, tweeted cool links, run webinars for their training programs, and taught their staff how to use social media to do a variety of things.
But, although I use the tools every day, it's for them, not for me. After a day of blogging, tweeting and monitoring for other people, I have little energy left to use the tools for my own interests. I've also been unable to engage with the big ideas and the ongoing questions that swirl through Twitter and the blogosphere. My focus on social media has been more pedestrian of late, designed to do things, rather than to think, explore and learn. I miss it.
This is a career hazard for all of us I think, as our clients and employers embrace social media and begin to use it to accomplish their goals. How do we manage our identities and activities on their behalf while still being able to do so for ourselves? Where is the dividing line between what we do for an organization and what we do for our individual development and how do we pay attention to both with integrity and thoughtfulness?
While I enjoy the work I do for my clients, it is not always what I need to do for myself and for my own professional development. What has happened over these past 7 months is that I've allowed the needs of the people I work with to supersede what I need to do for my own learning and growth. So I'm dipping my toe back into the water, beginning to figure out how I can recapture the sense of community and learning that so fed my work and my soul for several years. I'm working on ways to both serve my clients and myself. We'll see where it goes. . .