Writers on the Waterfront - My meetup with the Beezers.
One of my favourite things to do in the summer is to find a great patio near the lake (or river) and join some good friends for some food, beverages, and stimulating conversation.
Being a raging Introvert, the stimulating conversation portion of the event is most important. Introverts are not unfriendly, they just don’t like to waste time with idle chit chat, with people they hardly know. Good conversation and debate around topics that are dear to them, are actually stimulating and extremely gratifying.
So… when the opportunity presented itself (and my heartfelt thanks go out to Don Kerr who coordinated all of this) to connect with Don Kerr, Jim Murray, and Phil Friedman, I jumped at it. Here was a chance to meet friends I’ve so far only communicated with virtually on Social Media.
Now the problem with most Social Media platforms is that they are neither ‘Social’, or ‘Media’.
Let me explain.
While I’ve connected with friends and business associates on platforms such as Facebook or LinkedIn, I can’t say that I’ve actually MADE friends on these platforms. They were just an extension of a relationship I already had. All of the elements that made people friends or trusted associates were contained in the relationships I already had. I knew their backstory, their passions, what made them ‘tick’ so to speak. They were friends because we shared experiences, likes, dislikes, or common friends.
The online version of these people were unidimensional. One sided. Facebook screams “Look what a wonderful life I have!”, and LinkedIn seems to be where I get scouted by people who want to sell me things because of my job title.
I’m not just picking on Facebook and LinkedIn. There are lots of other platforms out there calling themselves Social Media.
While they all promise to deliver ‘Social’, they don’t deliver the whole person.
Now onto the ‘Media’ part…
Years ago I clipped an advertisement out of a newspaper and pinned it on my bulletin board (Yes, I’m that old contrary to the kind words Jim said). It succinctly defined my life mission, and I still use it as a maxim these days.
The words in the ad?
Real Stuff. No Fluff.
So many of the posts that fly by my Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter feeds is simply – fluff. Lacking thought, or substance, or relevance. Billions of bits of banality.
Not everything, but it doesn’t take much research to back up my claim.
I can only take so many cat videos, food pictures, inspirational quotes, and memes...
There are some well thought out articles, but they are lost in the chatter.
If you have read many of my posts, you will know that I tend to start out on a tangent, making the reader wonder “Where the heck is he going with this? How does this relate to the topic?”
Let me attempt to bring it back.
After the niceties, and the basic questions, we got down to discussing topics of inherent worth… Including WHY beBee? What does it do that the others don’t? Why put our eggs in this basket?
Let’s look at the concept of ‘Social’. Once we realized that all four of us at least spared a passing semblance to our profile pictures, it became apparent that the friendship had started long before showing up at the restaurant. Our posts and interaction on beBee had allowed us to get to know each other’s likes, dislikes and passions. Interacting in person was a natural extension of our beBee engagement. I knew they wouldn’t be offended at my sense of humour, and they could give as good as they got. It was more like a reunion with old high school buds…
Secondly, the concept of ‘Media’.
We all agreed that beBee gave us the exposure and engagement that as writers we crave, which motivates us to keep on writing. Lord knows that one doesn’t do it for the money…
We liked that a post will thrive (or die) on its own merit, based on its quality, not because a computer algorithm decides who gets to see it.
We like it that ‘hives’ allow posts to be segmented by interest and affinity. I can choose to participate in hives that interest me, and I can leave others to thrive without me. No guilt.
A platform like beBee needs quality content to grow. The four Beezers all agree that Javier and Juan understand this, and we commend them on their decision to let the growth be organic and to provide writers and bloggers with a platform to openly share their work.
We also agreed that we sincerely hope that beBee never, ever loses sight of this. We writers are a fickle lot.
We talked about many other things (like “Why multi-tasking makes you fat.” Stay tuned for an upcoming post) and the two hours flew by.
We all agreed we would love to do it again, with any bees that happen to be in the neighbourhood. All are welcome.
So thank you Don Kerr, Jim Murray and Phil Friedman, for a great inaugural meeting of the Beezers. I have lots of fodder for future posts and will retain this day in my ‘fond memories’ folder.
About the Author:
I'm the Chief Information Officer for Appleby College, in Oakville, Ontario Canada, where my team is transforming the delivery of education through innovative application of technology.
I'm convinced that IT leadership needs to dramatically change how IT is delivered rather than being relegated to a costly overhead department.
In addition to transforming IT in my role as CIO, I look for every opportunity to talk about this... writing, speaking and now blogging on BeBee (https://www.bebee.com/@kevin-pashuk) , LinkedIn, ITWorld Canada, or at TurningTechInvisible.com.