Professional consumption vs. creation
It’s effortless to hop onto social media, whatever social media you interact with (for me it’s primarily Twitter, Medium, WordPress, and news sources), and read through stories and ideas created by other people. In fact, I ‘found’ myself the other day after work having spent about 90 minutes straight on social media. But many other days, it might be 30-40 minutes. I usually learn some things and make notes of resources to refer back to later. Browsing on social media often leads to some great finds.
And, I do have a blog and a podcast and I do share ideas in other places online. But I am pretty hard on myself when it comes to sharing things I create which is contrary to this message from Derek Sivers (his video is partly why I started to blog in the first place).
And, there are also a handful of times when the consumption and creation are intertwined into real-time engagement or interaction with other people (primarily using Twitter chats or Twitter messages).
The problem: I am spending a greater and greater proportion of my ‘allotted time’ to consuming information… rather than creating and sharing it. Why?
Creation is hard. Consumption is easy. The tricky bit is that I do learn from doing both activities. I can’t be the only one thinking about this… And it bothers me. As educators, we expect students to balance their time between consumption and creation. I do think I learn much more by creating. And creating and sharing ideas is more concrete — that part of me that looks for evidence that I have been productive likes the concrete thing I’ve made. The results of consuming information are very intangible. But is it all as simple as that? Am I simply lazy?
Here are my publication stats for this blog:
25 (not 26 since you’re reading 26) times I started to write a blog post and 25 times I abandoned it for some reason. Sometimes I do go back. At least I’ve published more than not. I’m also writing a book but that’s even more difficult. And I am finding the limitations of a physical book to be annoying; ironically, books still seem to be the pinnacle of professional communication. (Incidentally, in the last week or so, I’ve pretty much decided to create a web site instead so that I can link to resources and embed media).
Another issue is that the more I consume information (and see how much is out there) the greater the feeling I get that everything has already been written, shared, and thought through. Just look at the re-discovery of ‘coding’ in education in recent years… Sometimes I think we are all caught up in an endless cycle of ideas that get discovered, shared, forgotten and re-discovered again.
Which brings me to this blog post. What possible purpose can it serve? Who am I writing it for? So what if someone else says, ‘yeah, I get that feeling, too.’ Maybe my own cynicism about sharing ideas also goes through a cycle. But it is rare to ever get direct feedback like that but it does happen and it is cool when it does (thanks, Kate):
So, that part of me that wants some concrete product is making a few resolutions:
- Spend more time reading blogs than tweets (the idea being to truly explore ideas more throughly rather than skim through multitudes)
- Comment and interact more with other bloggers (the idea being to respond and interact with the people who are sharing ideas & resources)
- Go through all my drafts and finish & share the ones that need to be (the idea being to reconnect with ideas and think through them again)
- Get to work on my shiny, new project: https://scratchmathland.com/ (I have the domain as of early May but have put 0% there so far…)
And, just for fun, here is that inspirational video by Derek Sivers which, combined with words from Dean Shareski, motivated me to start blogging: