What an interesting process I am going through in learning how to develop relationships online! I totally hit a wall this week. After months of finding every new conversation and each new link fascinating, I could barely face looking at TweetDeck. I felt overwhelmed and then guilty that I had withdrawn from my PLN, not for good, but for awhile. I read a blog posting last week about the stages of building a PLN that addressed this. I wish I could remember the link to give you. I hadn’t experienced the negatives, only the wonderful joy of being part of an almost living, breathing entity. One that responded to me and included me in its functioning.
Then came the exhaustion! I wanted to maintain the same level of interaction, to engage in #edchat and follow links, but this week, just thinking about it made me tired. Some of it was that it was a demanding week at school, with lots of face-to-face conversations to focus on. But it was more than that. I felt assaulted, rather than comforted and encouraged. And then I felt guilty. I had new relationships that I wanted to continue, and I was letting them down.
And I had to. There simply was not enough energy to go around. So I watched the tweets roll by and only rarely retweeted one. I followed a link or two but then backed away. Some of this was in direct relation to the Challenge of the last post. I wanted to read and comment on other people’s blogs, to be in conversation with the people who wrote them. In making that commitment, I began to solidify connections with those writers, but I also lost some of my freedom and invisibility. I began to anchor myself, and that required time and thought. To simply read a blog is different from knowing that I want to be someone who responds to it. I am not sure why I didn’t think this would happen, but it did. Building relationships is always tricky, and there is no reason why doing it here should be any less tricky than face-to-face.
And then last night, the energy returned. Thanks mostly to new friends and conversations with them. @tonnet, @aleaness, @mbteach, Great people to follow if you don’t already! Thanks for sharing the journey!
I think that interaction with Twitter, and any component of a PLN, is much like that in our 3-D world. Sometimes we’re feeling chatty, and want to be completely involved. Sometimes we just want to sit off to the side and listen, and sometimes we just want to be curled up on the couch with a nice cup of tea and a good novel or TV show, not talking with anyone. Personally, I couldn’t be “on” all the time. The off time is important to recharge, mentally and emotionally. The nice thing is that when we’re ready to jump back in and be completely involved, the conversation and interaction can pick right back up.
I am right there with you. I have been trying to maintain my 365 pic posts, and while they are helping me to be more reflective, they have added more to an already heaping plate. I thoroughly enjoy our connections and get it that sometimes we need to just disconnect for a bit. Though, once you do make those connections, you are constantly drawn back to them. That is the beauty of Twitter, you don’t always have to be on to know that your PLN will still be there. Rest up for Educon; I have a feeling we are going to need it. I truly look forward to meeting you face to face.
Ditto on your post, and the Anns above… We all have our moments and sometimes we just need to unplug, or sit back and lurk. The important thing is that we can reflect and realize when we need to just take a breather… and yes the 365 challenge is great but it is one other thing and puts everything else into perspective (at least that is how I see it).
Enjoy your downtime as well as your up/tweetertime…
First of all, I have to excuse myself for not reading your blog at the earliest time. You have very clean and neat design that, at some point, I would link to talk about so I can re-dress my blog in WP.
Said that, I want to tell you that building relationships online is a daily work and time consuming. I have been able to built and maintain connections since 2001. And as any other regular relationship, some last longer, some other just disappear. It’s matter of interactions, the more you give, the more others want to retribute.
I love your post, and if you noticed, I also get tired of the #edchat, at least for the last session. I feel no obligation to nobody and I still feel free to do whatever needs to be done.
I’ll be back for more of your posts and writing. Thanks for the mention.