Writer’s Surfeit

A couple of weeks ago I e-mailed a friend who, in addition to her day job, is a freelance writer. I needed some advice: “Recently I’ve been doing a lot of reading, participating in Twitter chats, etc., that has given me lots of ideas for blog posts and other writing projects. That’s the good news (I think). The bad news is that I can’t focus. When I try to write up something, I get distracted and read e-mail, check Twitter, look in on LinkedIn, or even start making notes for yet more blog posts and writing ideas.”

She wrote back, “Ahhh, focusing! The twin of writer’s block. It’s not as bad as writer’s block, though, because at least you have ideas.”

It was a bit comforting to know that I was not unique. Unfortunately she didn’t have a magic cure. Ah, well, I hadn’t really expected one.

Since around the middle of last year, I’ve been in an exploration phase, trying out new things (mostly online) such as blogging, Twitter—both begun in August—and a few interesting websites. I’ve been reading a lot about all kinds of things, from technology to business to cooking. It’s been a good learning opportunity, but unfocused. The time has come to settle down and concentrate on a few of the things I’ve explored. Except my brain is still in overdrive and most of the time when I sit down to blog I instead add a half dozen or so items to my list of ideas for future topics.

I’ve even come up with a name for this problem: Writer’s Surfeit. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, surfeit means “Excess, superfluity; excessive amount or supply of something.” That’s exactly what I have—a superfluity of ideas, accompanied by difficulty (temporary, I hope) concentrating on carrying them out.

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What a Boomer Learned at #GenYChat

As you probably know if you’ve read my blog before, I love Twitter and I especially love chats on Twitter. In December I was participating in a #TweetDiner and happened to mention I’d recently read an article that said Generation Y doesn’t use Twitter much.

I should have known better.

It irks me when people turn generalizations about Baby Boomers (now known as Boomers, as we are way past being babies) into absolutes. I’ve nothing against generalizations as a guideline or a statistical observation; but even if 99% of a demographic group does something, there’s always that 1% who don’t. So I should have known better than to tweet a generalization about Gen Y into a mixed group of people. (It’s not like speaking in an auditorium. You can’t see who is in the audience.)

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The Three Gifts of the Social Media Magi

Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Matthew 2:11

St Andrews Sydney windows

Although most Christians exchange gifts on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, a few traditions celebrate with gift-giving on the Feast of the Three Kings, or Epiphany, which is January 6. According to the Gospel of Matthew, three Magi (wise men or kings) traveled “from the East” following the star of Bethlehem and bringing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

They were hardly practical gifts for an infant born among livestock and have been interpreted symbolically. So I’m going to continue the tradition by considering what the gifts of the Magi can mean for social media, and especially for those of us who blog.

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Taming the Firehose

I spent the New Year’s weekend at my Dad’s house, which these days is nostalgic in more ways than ever. Dad is a luddite and his house is a technology-free zone—no computer, no Internet access, no online connection beyond the “dumb” phone I brought with me. He does have a television (which I don’t) and a microwave because his culinary skills are limited. It’s a different experience. Lots of football, a little hockey, and no Twitter. If we want a weather forecast, I can’t check the National Weather Service website; we watch the Weather Channel. If our timing is off, it’s ten minutes until the next local report. Where has my patience gone? Ten minutes isn’t that long.

When I got online after three days away, the world had gone on without me. There’s a bunch of e-mail, a new connection accepted on LinkedIn, and I cracked the 500 mark in Twitter followers. Well, it’s not like I expected everyone to stop interacting because I’d spent some time away, but I’m wondering how to keep up.

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