Waiting to be myself again

Hello dear reader, it’s been a while. I don’t know if you are still “with me” or if you, like me have found yourself a bit lost over the past few months. I saw this quote from Georgia O’Keeffe in an Instagram post last week and it seemed to sum up how I have been feeling, particularly around writing.

“I have done nothing this summer but wait to be myself again”

Of course I haven’t actually been doing nothing, but I have felt that I am waiting, or perhaps more accurately wanting, to be able to find the “right” words, and the “right” platform to say it on.

I managed to catch Eamon Costello (DCU) talk about kindness in education, and a project around storytelling kindness in teacher education. In his talk he walked through various definitions and examples of kindness, mostly these related to people doing something. But he did say something that stuck with me. I’m going to paraphrase here, it went something like this. “I’m a writer, so maybe if I show kindness to the words, the words will be kind to me and help me write.” I’m hoping that will work for me too!

Since Musk took over Twitter I have steadily moved away from it. I still have an account – mainly for work reasons. I do still share news, reposts and occasionally get and send DM s to people, but X certainly does not mark the spot for me. It’s just not a place I want to be associated with, or really be in anymore.

So like everyone else I have tried to find something that felt as connected and comfortable. Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky – I’m trying them all. But it feels fractured, even though I probably follow largely the same people on each of them. My current digital desire paths are more like small circles returning to my starting position at my desk. I haven’t had the energy, or the will, to find a way to easily cross post across the services. I can’t be everything everywhere, all at once, and to be honest I don’t want to be. But I do want to stay connected, to share, to learn, to “be”.

Martin Weller has written about the digital diaspora in relation to Twitter which outlines most the challenges and the inevitability of this fracturing of audiences. We do need to find new ways/practices to use all these platforms in ways that are useful to us.

When I went freelance I created a deliberate fracture in my use of Instagram – it is now about my art practice – not what I am eating! On the other side of my working life, I am finding LinkedIn much more useful now though. I really like the fact that it is so work centred. No need to post pictures of coffee/dogs/your “perfect” life – just tell share proper work “stuff”. Maybe having a clear purpose is a good thing after all! After all no-one really ever knew what Twitter was actually for, we just made it useful until too many people tried to monetise it. When I signed up for it (way back in the before times), I didn’t really know what Linkedin was for either. But others were there, wanting to connect so I did. I’ve had a bit of an up and down or perhaps more accurately on and off relationship with it since. But it’s definitely more “on” now.

Substack seems to be an interesting place to be. I am just a visitor right now but I am really enjoying following the “imperfect offerings” of Helen Beetham on AI and education. It has been my essential summer reading and I do share those posts “everywhere.”

Should I move my writing from here to there? I don’t know, there is still something comforting about having a domain of my own.

Anyway I have been doing quite a bit of interesting ‘stuff’ which I will be sharing more about, now I written (and hopefully posted) this. Most importantly the second phase of work (with Helen Beetham and Sarah Knight at Jisc) around curriculum and learning design. And I’ll keep trying to “find myself” and hopefully all of you on a variety of other platforms.

8 thoughts on “Waiting to be myself again”

  1. I think you have captured perfectly the concerns and questions that many of us have been experiencing in the last few months. We look forward to learning how/where you end up!

    1. thanks Peter – it’s a confusing time but glad if my established networks as I float around! Hope all well with you and hopefully catch up soon

  2. Here and reading. I’ve lost energy to try and coalesce the socials…..yet I feel the need for an RSS feed for educator blogs again.
    Thanks for being kind to your words.

      1. I recently discovered RSS is Awesome https://rssisawesome.com/ and it truly is! It has been a joy to (re)connect with so many there (and I’ve just added your blog in Sheila!) I’ve been trying to find a way to get out of my disconnected doldrums – and little specks of light like this bring me hope <3

        1. Hi Leigh, thanks for this. Wendy also mentioned RSS and I had been thinking about it, so will give this a go and hopefully make some (re) connections.

  3. great to read your words as always, Sheila. I feel much the same. I certainly mourned loss of Twitter – not the platform, but what we and so many people made of it. I no longer use my account there, but retain it for search and for messages from people who still look for me there. I’m using Mastodon and LinkedIn, but in a somewhat reduced way. my practices have changed over the past year and I find I don’t have the desire to go further than that. this might change, but observing/experiencing the arc of so many Big Tech ‘social’ (data harvesting/hatred+violence tolerating) platforms has me left me wary. so it’s a couple of imperfect platforms and my blog… for now. thanks for sharing your thoughts, and prompting mine 🙂 #onward

    1. Thanks Catherine. Yes! I feel the same wariness about those big tech companies too. I feel almost blessed to have been able to connect with so many people, and I do feel for those who are starting their journey in academia, it does seem harder to make and sustain those connections and community. I always got so much support from my external community which really helped keep me going.

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