Thursday, October 31, 2013

Listening via social media - prioritizing conversations

I recently wrote about the listening (versus talking) side of science communication. For me, listening is practice, one that I am always working to deepen.

Social media presents a particular challenge in terms of listening. On one hand, it can be a great space to listen in to lots of different conversations, and many people interact with it in that way. I personally find it to be a great struggle.

I got my first Twitter account in 2007, maybe a year after it was created. I used it both personally and professionally and loved it, evangelized for it really, for many years. But, in 2011 or so, I deleted all my social media accounts - Facebook, Twitter, even LinkedIn. It was partly because I was in a job that didn't allow for much of an online presence, which made Twitter in particular really hard. But it was also because I was beginning to have a real love/hate relationship with how even the thought of logging in made me feel.

Now, here I am, a couple of years later in another place and another new job, immersed back in the social media sphere personally and professionally. And, it's overwhelming. The volume of information that flies through particularly Twitter on a daily, hourly, basis... It. Never. Stops. I have lots of ways that I am trying to manage this right now, including just a bit of a mindfulness practice - a noticing of the types of information, the interactions, the times of day when I feel vulnerable to overwhelm.

One of the things that I just tried was a complete reorganization of my Twitter lists, which I have actually found to bring a huge sense of relief. I totally re-prioritized the conversations that I am listening to, and that alone seems to have helped tremendously and feels much more reflective of the spaces I want to be in and conversations that inspire and challenge me.

If you have any particular ways that you manage information flow, particularly on the receiving end, I'd love to hear about them.

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