Using your voice, Babylon or not

As part of my six-year anniversary of rsts11, I’ve had some time to reflect on why I do this, and why I do social media as well.

This blog post has a bit of a soundtrack… feel free to play it and then read on…

Every so often in my blogging and social media career, something happens that’s humbling. Being chosen for Tech Field Day about six years ago, being invited to leave my Cisco ears at home for another event, things like that. But one of the most humbling and rewarding things is when someone thanks me for speaking up or sharing things.

Sometimes it’s sharing a perspective that someone might not have considered before, whether it’s my perspective or someone else’s. Sometimes it’s answering (or asking) questions that are difficult and others might not have the leeway to ask or address because of work or family constraints. Sometimes it’s putting a contentious or infamous issue into context for friends and professional relations. And once last year was someone thanking me for inspiring them to speak up, to express their opinions even though they didn’t follow a particular pattern that the social media sphere was trying to enforce.

I’ve lost a few followers on Twitter and probably a “friend” or five on Facebook as a result of being open and occasionally noisy over the past two or three years. I’ve gained a few “friends” and doubled my twitter followers over the same period of time. And I’ve seen some “thought leaders” who outsource their twitter controls to third party block lists disappear from my scope of reference. (Me, I respect thought leaders who think for themselves.) All things considered, it’s not been a bad couple of years.

I don’t think I’m getting too full of myself here. I’m a lifelong technologist with a quirky sense of humor and a LOT of coffeemakers. No number of retweets and puns will change that.

But it does make me feel good to think that some of my friends and my “friends” will see things they might not see otherwise, and take a moment to think about them because I reflected them. Most of the people I interact with understand and accept that not everything I share is 100% my opinion, and the rest might figure it out someday.

I don’t have a bully pulpit and hundreds of thousands of followers hanging on my every word. With the number of typos I’ve made lately, I’m kinda glad. But if I can make a couple of people happier, more comfortable with themselves and their thoughts, or more aware of the world around them, I feel like I’ve gone beyond a tech blogger and done something good, however minute by proportion, for the world.

And maybe I’ll learn something more about you in the process too.

That’s all for now. Be excellent to each other.

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