December 4, 2010

Ahhh…it is cool outside, just enough to layer up or down, and I have the day to myself. I like to take times like this to reflect on things going on in my life. Of course, this is also close to Christmas and I like to reflect on sharing, giving and the many blessings I have had in the past year, in my life.

I’m very blessed to have two sons, one being an adult now, the other still at home. Some days are very challenging. I try to step back and think about the good moments we have. The many hugs my younger one still gives me and the insightful conversations my older one contributes. Yesterday I walked up to the mall (1.1 miles), not just for exercise, but also to be an example to my boys. We live close to many places and we should not be beyond ourselves to walk. During my walk, which is always a reflection in itself, I remembered when I was my older son’s age, and did not have a automobile and walked everywhere (and of course I was much skinner then too). I worry too much about the “me generation” and so many things we take advantage of. One of them being, that we do have an automobile, and sometimes we can save gas, the environment, and get a little exercise to go somewhere close.

I also reflect on the many blessings I have had in my career this year. I had spent last two years, engrossing myself into the Government realm of Social Media. As always I try to take on every new challenge as a learning experience.  I learned so many new things, especially, how citizen engagement, participation and collaboration are so vital to our government moving forward. This year,  I received recognition through Government Technology Magazine, MuniGov, and from several of Florida’s Chief Information Officer’s (CIO), as a leading expert for State of Florida government in social media. Although it has presented many challenges  specifically the acceptance and participation of social media/networking in state government, it is often hard for the acceptance of something visionary as social media. Those that have embraced it, haven’t used social media to it’s fullest. It is not always about pushing information out, but to have a conversation and join in that conversation of where the people are.  That is often the missing piece.   I have enjoyed leading some of Florida forward in their quest, however, in the past few months I have taken on some new journeys.

There is a saying something like….when a window closes a door opens…..

Years ago I discovered that I loved being in the technology field. I had found my niche back then and still currently love and have a passion for technology.   After all these years, I can now take my technological knowledge and extended in the classroom.  As far as I can remember, I wanted to teach.  Mrs. Hughes was my 4th grade teacher and I wanted to be just like her. When I got into high school I spent a summer teaching vacation bible school around southern Michigan. Even though I have been in the technology field for the past 15 years, it has taken me many years to obtain the educational credentials I needed to teach at the academic level (oddly never wanted to teach at K-12 levels). I know have the opportunity before me to teach technology classes at the community college.

Although I still plan to stay involved at the state level for social media, I am excited about the opportunities that I can be part of for social media in academics. How faculty can use social media to engage their students.

In the midst of all the holiday busyness take some time to reflect.