The Social Age Safari: A Messy Reflection

Sometimes I need a few weeks to process an experience.   I need to sit with it, I need to hear and read what others have learned and gathered.  Sometimes it just takes me awhile to make sense of it all and sometimes I just can’t put all the pieces together.  This is where I sit with my experience at the Social Age Safari.    Things don’t always have to make sense in a nice neat orderly way, they just are what they are and I need to be OK with that.  However, this does not mean that I have not gained or learned anything.  I have and here is the messy disjointed list below:

  • The concepts we explored are big, and hard to nail down.  There are not clear answers or solutions to how we all “get fit” for the social age or even help our organizations do the same.  It’s one big fat experiment.  I think this is what happens when you are on the edge. You just have to do something.  Right or wrong.  The Safari was the perfect example of what it feels like to play in this space and I enjoyed being a part of it.
  • I am a whole lot of uncomfortable in situations such as above.  I’m just not that great at communicating what I like to call “fluffy” stuff as my background is on the technical side plus I am just not great at thinking/speaking on the fly.  What I discovered at this event is that I don’t need to be.  I can add value in other ways, like live tweeting and curating content.
  • The other thing that gives me massive anxiety is thinking about how the Social Age concepts will fit into the organization I work for.  I am lucky enough to be in a position where I can bring some of these concepts back and try to effect our current culture, however this is and will not be an easy road.  It’s pretty freaking scary and I want to run away screaming on a daily basis.  I won’t though, well at least not permanently, because what this event reminded me of was the fact that I have an absolutely amazing network behind me.  They will catch me when I fall and I will do the same for them.
  • I have spent the past few years building these amazing connections online and this event gave me the opportunity to meet and connect with many of them face to face.  I was reminded that in the Social Age connecting in a physical space is just as important as connecting in an online space.  The online space gives us the opportunity to build connections but I believe the physical space is where true bonds form and a new story begins.
  • Finally the Safari inspired me because I saw so many people come out of their shells, try new things and share their experiences. Gail Radecki and Johanna Wyers are two such people that inspired me by getting outside their comfort zones .  Check them out.  They have awesome insights and voices to add to the mix.  This is what makes this journey worth it.

In Summary

In the past two weeks I have been thinking a lot about what I am doing, why I wanted to attend the Safari, why I am so passionate about concepts such as personal knowledge management and working out loud.  I think it’s because I am fed up.  I want things to be different, not just for myself but for everyone else.   Julian Stodd recently posted about subverting the system.  It hit home for me.   There was no space for me to challenge the system, to make things better so I found my own way and gave myself a voice. I am slowly trying to figure out how to help everyone in our organization do the same.  We all deserve to be heard.  The Safari was part of my journey in trying to figure out how to facilitate this.

I honestly think Jonathon Anthony summed up my experience at the Safari and this journey thus far when he concluded the following from one of our explorations:

Like street art, the social journey is fairly dirty work, often done under the cover of night. Occasionally, we risk apprehension from the powers-that-be.
And just maybe, we get our Banksy moment.

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