As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light of meaning in the darkness of mere being. – Carl Jung
What does it mean to be? For me, being is about understanding who I am as an individual and also, who I am as part of a collective. How I live as an individual and how I live with others and the world around me defines who I am. In today’s world, we all have many roles in our onground and online lives that define us and our relationships, ultimately creating the life we live. There is choice and our actions as an individual and interactions with others impact the depth and breadth of who we are or possibly who we could or might be. So, who am I?
Here’s a word cloud on ‘being’ me:
I did this exercise to illustrate how social media has enriched my life, my ‘being’ in all realms — personal and professional. Social media has made my life excitingly complex in terms of who I am and how I live, learn and lead. For sure, the role of blogger, tweep, facebooker would not appear if I was not collaborating and contributing using social media in my life.
Here are some of my favourite resources that allow me to ponder deeply on ‘being’ in social media.
The Conversation Prism 3.0 created by Brian Sollis as well as the poster entitled: Behaviorgraphics: Who is the “Me” in Social Media are visuals that allow me to position myself in a reflective stance thinking about what tools I use, for what reason I use them and how they are the right ones for what I’m looking to do. Am I looking to connect, create, innovate, collaborate or communicate and most often it’s a combination some or all of them all. How am I listening to others, sharing with others, connecting with others and contributing my thoughts or ideas in way that enhances our collective wisdom.
In her new book, The Virtual Self: How Our Digital Lives Are Altering the World Around Us, Nora Young asks us to think about the positive and the negative in ‘being’ online. She is particularly interested in self-tracking as many of our activities and interactions are done in the digital realm. Her words make me think about what it means to be a self in the digital world and what it means to be a citizen. There is that important balance of private versus public that must always be part of ‘being’ in social media. I like that life moments are so visible and capture-able now and I’m going to say that I want my ‘being’ to be open, transparent in ethical and responsible ways.
Last week, I had the pleasure and privilege of learning with HWDSB Aspiring Leaders and they asked so many meaningful questions about being a connected educator. Feel free to toggle through the slideshow that guided our time together:
During this session, I made reference to a must read for them entitled: The Connected Educator by Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach and Lani Ritter Hall. This is a key ongoing resource book for me and my ‘being’ in social media from a professional stance. This book takes you on a reading and doing journey. It defines the characteristics of a connected educator and then shares with you how to be one and how to get busy doing it. It’s all about taking the posture of a learner first who values the connected learning model, collaborative learning culture and leveraging tools to be a connected educator. This book is about becoming and being a real connected learner and leader in the 21st century.
Lastly, my most recent read of Howard Rheingold‘s book, Net Smart really put my ‘being’ in social media into context from a very real and authentic stance. It is my right and responsibility to cultivate my ‘being’ online. I must know how to make use of tools without being overloaded as I continually think critically about my own media use. What I value most is that he shares what he’s learned about how to use social media intelligently, humanely, and, above all, mindfully. He underlines that there is no single recipe for a mindful life in the digital mediasphere, reflection is required.
Being in social media is key to being in life today. Be google-able, be findable and be shareable as this is part of being in a connected life.