I could have titled this post “The Rise and Fall of the PLN.” But, I didn’t want to be overly dramatic. There was a time when I lived and breathed Twitter, Instagram, Facebook. Phone in my hand, laptop on my desk, notifications dinging. And then one day, almost as in that moment where Forrest Gump just stops running, I stopped. I was tired. I think it was time. I picked up my ipad and started drawing. I grabbed my SLR Camera that I refer to as Beatrice and started taking photos again. Not photos that could be instantly shared, but photos that I may never share. Trees, flowers, shadows. I started making art. The time I had spent consuming could now be spent creating. And it’s opening new doors inside my mind. I know that sounds cheesy, but how many times do we need reminders that sometimes, we just need to make time to make things. Creative time is like a nice wash for the soul. And there is no place where that is needed more than in education.
The apps on my phone were the first to go. Followed by regular Twitter use. I stopped photographing everything around me for quick shares and cut back on consuming blog posts, reads, and tweets. I experienced a sort of radio silence. Stillness. Deafening at times, awakening moments at others. Until you are alone in your own thoughts, you might just not really rely on them.
I just can’t learn if I am constantly broadcasting. I also know that for me, reflection takes time. It has to soak in like a slow drip on a root. Social media is a firehose at times, and sometimes a little sip here and there are just what I need.
I’m just kind of done with broadcasting and want to know that I’ve found a sense of balance. One where I listen more than I tweet. One where I weigh in my experiences with others’ experiences and think critically about where our kids are heading and how to best guide them. This life we are navigating is not an easy one. We have so much at our fingertips and with that great opportunity comes great responsibility and also a need to be fully aware.
If I had read this post two years ago, I wouldn’t have believed it was even my own words. I have met some great and best friends through connections at conferences and social media. But those great friends are in my phone and in my heart whether I have an app installed or not. That’s how I know things are evolving. The people who were there for me when I needed them are still there for me now.
So if you don’t see me on Twitter, I might just be enjoying a slow read of a good book on a quiet afternoon. Photographing a dandelion in the wind. Having a conversation with a kid about his learning. Enjoying a good collaboration with the colleagues next door. Or taking a nap on the couch with my dog.
So I suppose this is not really the ‘fall” of a PLN. It’s just changed. Still connected, still learning, still finding the way that works for me. And creating along the way.