Yep, I’m the person who champions being fearless, not perfect. Who nags her students about getting comfortable with “beginner’s mind,” which roughly translates into “get used to feeling like an idiot, grasshopper.”
But I don’t think I’d actually thought through quite how public that cluelessness might be when you’re crashing around, knocking things over, and showcasing your screw-ups on social media.
Because of this, I’ve decided that there are several ways social media platforms could improve the experience for those of us trying not to do irreparable damage to our reputations while getting up to speed. I’m talkin’ to you, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.
Letting us check it out before the rest of the world sees it. Ideally, we could opt to have everything we do be invisible for at least the first three months of trial and error. If that doesn’t work, at least give us the ability to preview what we’re about to post – i.e., what it’s going to look like when it goes live – before it hits the airwaves and humiliates us for the next ten years.
Giving us a training period. How about letting us have some sort of “student driver” icon attached to everything we do while we’re in “crash-and-learn” mode. That way we could get points for trying to broaden (okay, catch up on) our skills rather than freaking colleagues out with multiple “what on earth were you thinking???” moments.
Giving us a do-over. I’m thinking of an “ah, never mind, let’s not do that last thing” recall button. That way when a LinkedIn post takes off half-completed, a tweet gets twisted, or that spur-of-the-moment Facebook entry gives spontaneity (and us) a bad name, we can hit the recall button before the damage is beyond control.
Letting us disappear profiles/accounts that are mistakes, embarrassments, or remnants of a past life. For example, I have several Facebook accounts that were set up for me by previous employers who are now out of business, as are their e-mail accounts. Thus, every time I decide to bite the bullet and start using Facebook so that I don’t remain a pariah to my friends, family, and colleagues, I first run into the multiple accounts issue which I’m unable to resolve, after which I give up and go get a glass of wine instead.
And until these improvements are in place….
Just know that this grasshopper is going to be crashing around, knocking things over (yep, mixed metaphor) until I figure out each platform’s unique characteristics and processes. Photos will be too large or in the wrong place, discussion threads may take off without relevant links, and I’m undoubtedly going to make some mortifying mistakes.
Would I prefer not to? You betcha. But do I really, really want to master this stuff? Absolutely. Will I master it? Yep, because I have friends who are really good at this and are willing to share (bless you Mary Ellen Bates, Marcy Phelps, and Scott Brown).
Plus, it helps to be able to laugh at yourself. As the saying goes, “As long as you can laugh at yourself, you will never cease to be amused.” I have no doubt that my learning curve throughout this social media adventure will keep me endlessly entertained. (And I’m hoping you, too….)