I am an expert in nothing.
Popular advice about building an online presence, a blog, a podcast, or even a twitter account, is to make sure you don’t present yourself as an expert in everything. I have that part down. The problem is, I don’t hit the second part of that advice, which is to make sure you’re knowledgeable and contribute information to something.
As I went through the month of November, I set myself a challenge to write a blog post every day (I didn’t post them every day, just wrote them). I learned a lot about myself through this process. First, my life is busy, and even writing a short post every day wasn’t achievable for me.
Second, and more importantly, I don’t actually have a focus for my content or identity. I am interested in edtech, but that isn’t it. I like blended learning, individualized learning, EdCamps, ISTE, 1:1, Google, Microsoft, Flipped PD, alternative professional development models, podcasting, educational conversations, administration, staff morale, technology tweaks, digital citizenship, standards-based grading, eliminating grading. Change.
Basically, I’m interested in everything.
The plus side is I’m always excited about things. Everyone has cool things to say given that there is always something, and in many cases many things, that they know more about than I do (that was a convoluted sentence, and this parenthetical aside isn’t helping).
The problem is, I can’t explain what I have to offer. Sure, I occasionally say interesting things, but they are small nuggets in a wider ocean. My blog is a smattering of half-formed thoughts ultimately amounting to very little. My podcast is just me getting awesome people to talk to me. I add very little.
I basically know just enough to have a conversation about most topics in education. That’s what my show amounts to, and I’m ok with it. Maybe that works for other people, maybe it doesn’t. Maybe it goes against all conventional wisdom, maybe conventional wisdom is useless. I don’t know.
What I do know, is that I want to reach out to my audience, my PLN, my followers. I want to make an effort to build true and powerful connections. So, this month, I will be making an effort to tweet at followers I don’t normally connect with. I want to know more about what they’re about, what drives them.
My goal is to reach out to five to ten followers a day and try to start conversations with them. I will look through their twitter feed, see what they’re talking about, and try to make the tweets I send personal. I think this will encourage them to reply, instead of generic “Hey, what are you up to?”
Stephen Hurley put this idea in my head a couple months ago, and it has just been sitting there, waiting for me to do something with it. So, I will
In the process, maybe I’ll find something more about me. If I can make it work without being weird, I will ask them why they follow me, or what they get out of my content. Maybe I’ll find out what I’m most passionate about or what I have to offer. Probably not, but at least I’ll have some good conversations.