Friday, August 13, 2010

Growing Your Online Presence and Balancing Your Life

"12 Healthy Habits to Grow Your Online Presence and Keep Balance in Your Life"
Cool Cat Teacher Blog (July 24, 2010)

"A Little Reflection before Getting Down to Business

"This just came on my Pandora radio station as I'm doing my monthly 'file maintenance' and moving pages around. (See my Facebook posts on technology productivity for more on this.) When I came to my presentations folder, I saw a journey. A journey of people and faces and places. Those who gave me chances early on and things applied for - not knowing any better, I guess...."

Don't give up on the post just yet. Many paragraphs later, there's this:

"...I sincerely hope that I've helped as many as have helped me. There are too many to name. For really, the story of so many teachers is like mine -- we joined in and began sharing and those who shared back far exceeded what we gave. So, I thought I would codify some of the lessons I've learned."

"Healthy Habits to Grow Your Online Presence and Keep Balance Your Life

"What we measured out has been measured back to us ten fold. So, this is the message you to, the teacher from this mini trip down memory lane:..."

After that there's a 12-point list of pretty good ideas, each with between one and four paragraphs of discussion. Most of it boils down to "play nice," but I think it's worth your time to read through the list:
  1. Share.
  2. Respond.
  3. Comment
  4. Link Generously
  5. Read (or Listen) Prolifically
  6. Distribute yourself
  7. Beware of Flattery
  8. Life Life Online AND Off-line
  9. Latch Key Your Legacy
  10. Laugh (a lot)
  11. Take Every Presentation Seriously
  12. Expect Criticism

Dealing With People in the Real World

Let's remember that online communities are as 'real' as a coffee shop. We can't spill cappuccino on someone online, but we're still dealing with people.

Flattery Feels Good, But - - -

The seventh point, "beware of flattery," is about 'incoming' flattery. This post is aimed at bloggers who are career educators, but I think this advice applies to everyone: "When you believe your own press you can become arrogant and there is a lot of flattery that runs around."

I think the reverse is true, too: Empty praise of someone else probably won't do them much good in the long run; and can harm your own credibility.
Intelligent People and the Stupid Slobs Who Don't Agree With You
While I'm on the subject, disparaging remarks about 'those stupid, ignorant slobs who don't agree with you' probably isn't a good idea, either.

One of the online communities I'm in has quite a few folks who pride themselves on being very broad-minded and tolerant of other people's ideas: provided that the other person agrees with them on all essentials. In some ways, it reminds me of doing time in American academia. (Isn't the Lemming "apathetic?" I've discussed this before.)

Here's a fairly typical exchange of ideas:
  • "So I have a lot to say. I think I am reasonable and intelligent. My blog is about finding reason in politics...."
    • "Finding reason in politics? That could be harder than finding a coherent thought in Sarah Palin's head! Good luck."
Before anyone has a stroke, I'll acknowledge that there are chauvinistic conservatives, too. Me? I'm Catholic - which is yet another topic. ("Conservative? Liberal? Democrat? Republican? No, I'm Catholic," A Catholic Citizen in America (November 3, 2008))

Bottom line? If your goal is to be considered "intelligent" by a tight little group of like-minded people, go ahead: heap scorn on the doo-doo heads who don't entirely agree with you and your pals.

The rest of us, I think, are well-advised to assume that not all of Earth's 6,000,000,000-plus people are divided into the smart ones who agree with us and the stupid ones who don't.

The Cool Cat Teacher blogger comes at this idea from another direction in the 12th point.

Is There Life Off-Line?

The next point, "Life Life Online AND Off-line," is important. And doesn't just apply to that nerd with the pocket protector over there, or the game-addicted teen.

Moving along.

Not All Laughs are Created Equal

The tenth point,
"Laugh (a lot)," is good advice. Being the sort of person I am, the laugh my memory called up was the shrieking cackle of a B-movie mad scientist.


The 12th point, "expect criticism," is more common-sense observations and advice. Including this bit of insight:

"...You set the tone for your blog. If you flame and post when you're angry you will use poor word choice. If you attack personally, you will have that reflected back at you...."

Of course, if the only people you care about are those who are just like you: well, flame on. I don't think that's a prudent approach: but that's my values at work.

Pretty Good Advice, Actually

Bottom line? I think this is a pretty good set of advice for folks whose ambitions include communicating with others. Definitely not a waste of time.

Related posts:
A tip of the hat to Parentella, on Twitter, for the heads-up on a post that linked to the post I micro-reviewed.

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