This lovely contribution to the series is by Sandra Parrotto, aka Sam. Sam is at heart, a facilitator. As owner of Qstreet, a leadership and cultural development company, she’s worked with a diverse group of organizations over the past three decades. Being completely inspired to put her hard-earned wisdom to work, Sam is launching a new website, morepurple.com in May, which will create a provocative online conversation about transformation, consciousness and self development. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, on twitter @qstreet and fb as Sandra Parrotto
- Smart people, thoroughly committed to their interests and sharing their knowledge.
- Thousands of writers able to expose their work to others.
- An engaged social network of people that challenge, explore and promote any topic that is attention worthy.
- Real people who grapple with relationship and transparency issues – in an open dialogue.
- Connections with others that are unconstrained by geography, economics, status, or age.
- Potential to address the worlds’ issues with those who actively care.
- An accessible, super-powered subculture already at work shaping thought and moving the collective consciousness forward.
My journey began with a celebrity, a class reunion that was promoted through facebook, transition out of a business that I no longer wanted and a personal mission to uncover my hidden creativity.
I was a skeptic, seeking, determined to find the truth about social media and the people who participated in it.
Around the end of July, I searched leadership, self development, coaching, philanthropy and found 40 to follow. I studied and traced their conversations. I read and reread their blogs trying to decipher who they were, what they were attempting to do and how much they were willing to share. How did they do twitter? What were the rules of engagement?
I Lurked! I followed with a watchful eye. In disbelief, I scoured their words for authenticity. I didn’t tweet much in that first month scared to engage for fear of rejection.
There were a few that I ventured into conversation with; @Thebrandbuilder who engaged in an absorbing exchange about leadership with me through dm’s, @Menwithpens not only responded to every reply, but turned every tweet into a literary work of art. I’ve been in her apprentice writing program since September and met the “oh-so-very-extraordinary” @Realchaseadams through @Jonmorrow’s blogger program (a link that James posted). @Melissaonline promotes women and is a delightful person who readily engaged – her lists were invaluable. @Goodmenproject fascinated me, their mission so noble and marketing that functioned like a well-oiled machine – my 1st retweet. @Txblond was the first to respond to an original tweet and many more since. My firsts in twitter!
My head raced as I’d lay my head on the pillow each night: Who are these people? Oh no, what if I tweeted the wrong thing? I could never write like that… nor am I witty or clever…I don’t even possess a sense of humor. Who are these people? This influential sub-culture has existed right under my nose? Where have I been? I had no idea there were so many writers in the world. (amazed) So this is what a blog is. (duh!)
I was ripe for the emotional and intellectual treats offered by the social media smorgasbord. In search of dormant parts of myself, I wanted to be tickled by all things magical – creative thinking, new ways of relating, unconventional perspectives and readily available discussions.
I had become Sam squared, cubed and organized to the 10th power in my business life. Twitter became my muse.
August and September were spent learning – 3 hours a day reading others posts and launching a few of myown. It seemed like once every 2 weeks, I’d get a response. I’d scream, gasp for air and call everyone in my family circle to tell them the good news!
I recently hit the 12,500 @ threshold. I don’t jump up and down, call my friends and scream in euphoria anymore, but I can’t wait to check my Iphone to see who I’ll get to chat with when I wake. Secret? Some nights, I just can’t wait, so I hide my Iphone under the covers and take a peek. Shhh….
One day during September, I wrote a tweet that said, “My mission is to learn how to be a great follower!”
I surrendered my ego, my role as “leader”, and opened my heart to the unpredictable nature of virtual relationships.
It was oddly empowering to feel: insecure, jealous, competitive, embarrassed, inadequate. Isolation aptly described the beginning of my twitter struggle.
My ego didn’t like “non-essential” but I knew that this experience of being “not known” and unimportant – was valuable.
With each tweet that landed in the “echoless vacuum”, my determination to understand – grew. With each tweet that was returned by another, I became more grateful.
I saw my character growth and resulting humility as the cost of the ticket – to play.
I then discovered the #dadstalking hashtag. @Genuine was so willing to answer questions, engage me in a way that reminded me of my “home folks”. @ImtheQ, always outrageous, created a space where I could be “me”. I even had a misunderstanding with @Exhausdad, apologized and made a permanent twitter friend.
Synchronicity was present everywhere. Responding to a link posted by @Geoffliving or @Dancitizen (which, I don’t recall), I enrolled @Dianamalloy, got train tickets and headed to the Mashable Social Good Conference in NYC during UN week. We found ourselves seated across from both of those guys, which I accidentally discovered by asking, “Are you into technology?”
Shortly after Blog World in October, Chase introduced me to the #UsGuys hashtag. What a gift! I had built one-to-one connections filled with personal tidbits, but my ability to know others was limited. Limited because they shared only the part of themselves that was a direct response to me. Group dialogue that included banter, conflict and individual reactions to other personalities, didn’t occur. The #UsGuys hashtag provided a social space where a group of people could focus on a topic, simultaneously, creatively sharing and building a kind of community momentum.
Intimacy among the tribe grew exponentially as I witnessed, first-hand, people simply talking to each other. My desire to be vulnerable within the community increased because of the #Usguys culture.
In real life, when two friends get together and the other isn’t present, the third person has no idea what they missed. #Usguys made it possible because of the transparency, to listen in, to observe others’ communication.
The tribal community answered a social need that everyday twitter couldn’t. One group conversation with 5 people, led to 15 more commenting throughout the next day. It became possible to be connected to many & jump in whenever I felt the urge.
Twitter allows me to see. And, it occurs each and every time someone tweets; it’s reflective, it’s within 140 characters and it’s like waking up with my husband each day. A level of familiarity that typically takes years to acquire is created in 1/10th the time.
We have a daily connection and ability to observe that deepens, alters and ultimately builds a remarkably accurate picture of how we see and relate to one another.
It is an honor for me to be allowed into an aspect of modern day life that I believe will completely alter how society relates to itself. I fantasized about living in the future with Captain James T. Kirk, social media makes that a partial reality.
I talk to @Pramitjnathan in India about human suffering and positive thinking. I share cupcake pics & relationship dynamics with @Myagenda.
I hear about marathons and healthy living from @All_swagga and @Danenow. @Veron is always willing to discuss “truth”. Injustices of the world are the specialty of @Smith_blarney and @Blackrocket. @Grit08 is my personal authenticity meter.
I giggle at @Righteousgeek and revel in his heart. I watch as @PaulaKPorter makes a difference in children’s lives. I get brilliant marketing insight with a hint of mischief from @Nickkellet. I write poetry with @Seanotd. I discover the benefits of homeschooling and engagement from @Mantywebdesigns or @Littlewys. I watch in awe as @Josepf launches one idea after another. I share a virtual Thanksgiving with @Solete while she lived in Barcelona and other “out on the town” events with @mikulaja.
I discuss business with @Seanmcginnis, @SMSJoe and @Fredmcclimans. I’m told that I “rawk” by @Carlsorvino. @Pproethe warmly shares the milestones of his life. I’m mentored by @Margieclayman and @Sandyhubbard. I learn about world events while sharing tv role models from That Girl and the Mary Tyler Moore Show with @Debmorello. And I get priceless support and feedback from my real life pal @SuzyQfollower. I would like to mention every person that I’ve had the pleasure of knowing.
For those that I adore but didn’t mention. Alas, space does not permit me to mention every person who has made a difference, intrigued and engaged with me! I would not want this post to have you question how much each of you matter. Thank you for making room in your hearts and sharing life with me.
Thank you for altering my squared up world, making it possible to be re-energized about living in this time and freely giving so much of your creativity to others.
So many of you have generously shared yourselves with me. I have grown, feel like I am welcome and can’t wait to see what we accomplish together.