A few years ago, when I started podcasting and blogging, I knew I was doing something unusual. Being on what turned out to be the “cutting edge” felt a little weird, but I had good company, with a band of fellow geeks and nerds. When the people we told about our obsessions with podcasts, then Twitter and later, Facebook, started to explore and act like they had just discovered the world was round, we smiled, because we knew the feeling. Now, over five years later, I shake my head when someone comes up and asks me “Wow- did you see this new social media site, Twitter?” because if you know me at all, the answer should be obvious.
Part of the issue is that it takes time for an idea to spread. In the meantime, you have been working away, trying to make things better, telling people about the tools that can help them- they may listen, but they don’t “hear” you until they discover it themselves. They start to integrate it into who they are and what they do, and have one of those “Where have you been all my life?” moments, seeing what new possibilities exist. Then, it’s like a religious convert- it’s all they CAN talk about.
For me, I ‘m excited we have one more in the fold. I try not to say “I told you so” and “What took you so long?” But I wish they had taken the time to listen earlier. I wish I had made a better case for why the tool was useful. I wish they had tried it out sooner. Sometimes, I even feel guilty, like I haven’t shared all I know and have kept some great things secret from the person who really needs the information.
We can’t know everything, or solve everyone’s problems. We also can’t assume that everyone knows what we know. But somehow, we have to find ways to open up and share our resources in our circles of influence. We have to find ways to have more conversations that are open-ended “You know what drives me crazy?” sorts of things, especially with people who are not in our field, because many times, it’s from outside that we find the greatest insight or new angle on an old problem.
For example, on Saturday, I was out to lunch with a group of ladies I don’t see very often- all of them were physicians except me. Many had kids, and we started talking technology, iphones, ipads and more. I started offering up advice, and before you know it, I was grabbing the iPad from the car and showing some truly useful tools to them. I have a whole bank of knowledge they need, but it’s invisible to them until we start having “small talk.” Likewise, we shared information about things from summer camps, vacation spots, things to try, etc.
As much as we may spend time on Facebook, I’m not sure it’s the same as the serendipity and discovery you get when you just sit around and have a chance to talk to folks. But in this day and age when we all seem so busy all the time, we have to make a special effort to create these places and meetings of discovery. And sometimes, the most laid back, unimportant, casual discussions with someone can spark all sorts of new ideas. Creating this space is not easy, but vital for getting ahead.
How do you find ways to get outside your miche and share with others? Where do you find your inspiration? How do we create this space of sharing, but not make it so pressured, like a grown-up playdate? I’d love to hear your ideas.