The Older I Get, The Less I Know
Thanks to the wisdom of two of my younger friends, I have joined Twitterdom. I’m not exactly sure what this means for either my consulting practice nor my blogs, but I am fascinated by the exchanges that exist in the ether – comradeship among people who have never met, yet are joined by common interest. I never thought you could put passion into 140 characters, yet my friends J and V have proved me wrong. The power of a delicately placed exclamation point! The seductiveness of a thoughtful question tossed out into the world without anticipation of a definitive answer but the responses of fellow ponderers. I have followers already – though I admit that I have no idea why.
The benefit of a circumspect technological footprint is evident when working in a law firm. The concerns of client confidentiality, the toxicity of leaked memos, the intellectual property that requires protection, the danger of corrupting the platform – these are but a few of the drivers that inform the philosophy. I ‘googled’ myself once and found an article I had written, a quote or two taken from one of my presentations, my name in Who’s Who – man, was I relieved. My footprint was smaller than my actual shoe size. There was nothing remarkable; as entries go, I was anonymous. I refuse to check now – between Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, this blog – my God, I am standing virtually naked in cyberspace (not the greatest visual I admit). The good news of course is that no one would recognize me if they fell over me.
I have always been a proponent of the face-to-face conversation – I still am. There is nothing like looking into someone’s eyes, assessing the shorthand provided by body language, enjoying the rhythm of the spoken word. And yet, along with the need to continually get my grey roots highlighted, is the need to continue shading and highlighting the different hues with which I approach my life. I will always delight in the familiar – and I am learning to delight in the experience of the new.
On Facebook there is a discreet group who remember me as a camp counselor. Their memories of me singing, hugging a vulnerable child warm my soul. We all want to be held gently in other peoples’ minds. Of course what I note is that the posted pictures reflect that as hideous as I was in 1972, things got better in 1974 (but the kids were all adorable). There is a nexus where childhood, camp and adult friends meet – at the point where I was convinced that Barbra Streisand and I were going to be thisclose, and my concern for others trumped all other priorities (except Streisand). The consistency between then and now is remarkable despite my awareness that I missed the Broadway boat. For all I have done, have I moved no farther than this? My boss used to say that there was no one better at promoting the abilities and talents of others and no one worse at self-promotion than me. The more things change, the more they stay the same in some ways.
If the core of who I am has remained fairly unchanged, so much around me continues to evolve. This is what engages my curiosity, this is how I want to keep increasing the layers of my life. I’m getting on board folks, albeit tentatively. I am learning from those who are so much more advanced than I in the ways in which communication chains are now being forged – whether for a moment or a lifetime. That said, I hope we never abandon our collective ability to write a love letter long hand and give each other time and space to speak without abbreviation. If I reluctantly enter this accelerated arena, I’m nonetheless enthusiastically drawn to its membership. There is a whole lot of energy out there and it’s contagious.
Alas it’s true, I don’t know yet when to use the hash tag or the @ symbol. I make up my own acronyms because I have no clue what half of the commonly used ones stand for. But as Lao Tzu said, the true leader knows when to lead from the front and follow from behind. Clearly I’m too young to lead this charge and happily will follow your lead. Lol.