This morning I have been going through an interesting exercise which led me to this post. Well, I guess really some unreconciled guilt or apprehension really led me to this post… Either that or this post is being created in a way to justify, defend, and reduce / eliminate said guilt. Thinking about it… maybe it is to attempt to figure out where this guilt/apprehension comes from as well.
Like any social network, whether in person or virtual, Twitter is a reflection of the overall mores of society itself. I think back to the times when I was in high school… somehow as kids we simply fall into "cliques" those little social groups where we feel accepted, even occasionally revered. However, in their nature "cliques" are small closed systems that are difficult to get into and often just as difficult to get out of really… Do you remember times with you were looking out at another "cliques" and wondering what it would be like to be part of that group? Perhaps you even got up the nerve to walk over the the group, but simply stood "outside the circle" waiting for that socially acceptable time to attempt to be recognized and/or find the crack in the in that closed group where you could begin to squeeze out a possible place for yourself… Looking for that eye contact, attempting to recognize that small non-verbal head nod or chin flick of possible acceptance by one of the "inner circle." In that rare time that you were lucky enough to possibly be acquainted with one of the members and hoped that they would "vouch" you with the group… Unfortunately, I think that we all have that one person we know who appears to simply fit in with ALL of those "cliques" that are surrounding us… Remember relishing the desire to be(come) that person?! Standing in awe as you watched them simply flit from "clique" to "clique" with complete acceptance and almost a deference by all the members of those little closed societies? Wondering how it was so easy for them – what made that possible?
Unfortunately, I also remember some of the other feelings associated with social mores where groupings are concerned… Like when you move between groups, and you become an outsider to the group you left regardless of whether you wanted to or not… the hope of the possibility of simply bridging the groups, or even dare you think merging the groups… are few and far between… What about when it all crashes apart… you miss that window of opportunity to get involved enough with the "new clique" before the "old clique" closes to you and you are simply left as an outsider to both and feeling very alone…
These feeling are very real and they shape our personalities perhaps even defining them in the strongest of cases. Overall, we will ALWAYS remember which is why we always crave that feeling of pure and complete acceptance.
The virtual social worlds are truly no different… like everything else that touches technology the one difference is speed and range of connection. You can easily see how cyber-bullying, cyber-stalking, and hopefully cyber-acceptance if very real and buried deep in IRL social mores.
(SideNote: sincerely I did not start out this post with this line of thought or intention… wow that might be a completely different post in the future… So, back to the topic at hand…)
So, understanding both aspects of this social mores that I seem to be crawling through here, I hope that you have some background on my trepidation as I embarked upon re-defining my Twitter (and possibly) Facebook accounts. I have truly enjoyed, revered, and learned from every single person that I have followed, but lately, I have been feeling stale, and personally, I'll admit I have not been giving back to this group. I see the great ideas many are putting forth, but to me it is coming across as chaff in the breeze. interesting to occasionally beautiful, but fleeting and quickly forgotten… There is a "sipping the same kool-aid" feeling and because of that I am feeling a decidedly lack of challenge of thought. Please believe me when I say: I know this is not the fault of the "clique" I have grown to love, but it truly is my fault in desiring a different view that will cause me to challenge MY THINKING, MY BELIEFS, MY ACTIONS… Heehee, maybe I am simply feeling an early spring cleaning of my head is necessary…
So, I know that I am looking out over the top of a great group and wondering "what are those folks over there doing?" Maybe I am hoping to be that "guy" who can simply weave in and out of different social groups… I know that I am not really looking for a greener pasture, and I do have a very real concern about being that poor soul trapped outside of both groups and alone… However, I also know that I cannot stay where I am feeling the way that I do… To do that I am not helping anyone especially myself. I am struggling to "keep learning" where I know so much of the material (discussions, topics, tools, challenges, visions)… I want to find a new perspective or lens with which I can re-examine my beliefs, tools, challenges, and vision. I hope that finding this will allow me to become a stronger contributing member to all groups so I can begin giving back again.
Well, if you have made it through my self-justification… I hope to "catch an eye," find that opening, get a small nod of acceptance as I embark on following a new crowd… Perhaps one of you will even act as a patron into a new way of thinking… and when I come back around, I hope I will be welcomed back with open arms…
The image above is called Outsider Screenshot 1 by bdgamers on Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/bdgamersnet/142765512/ – The reason I wanted to use it was the full-circle aspect… I am wondering if no matter who I follow on twitter, will I simple come full circle in my thinking?