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 I felt overwhelmed and then guilty that I had withdrawn from my PLN, not for good, but for awhile.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!