A blog post I read this morning about the importance of editors
keeping up-to-date with the latest trends in publishing (What Do Editors Need To Know Now?
via White Ink Limited
got me thinking again about how good I am at keeping my finger on the professional
pulse – not just of publishing trends, but also of all the ideas relevant to
what I do in ELT, EAP, corpora, lexicography and just language trends generally.
It seems that since the explosion of social media, there’s so much potentially relevant
stuff being flagged up and available out there to check out, I could easily
spend more time on ‘professional development’ than I do on actually getting on
with work! Facebook and Twitter both seem to daily throw up links to interesting
blog posts and online articles, then there’re Twitter chats (like #EAPchat) and
Facebook threads. There are webinars and videos of talks to watch, either live
or recorded, and of course, I also hear about more ‘real-life’ events worth
attending too. A lot of it’s really useful, and often inspiring, stuff, but it
just eats time!
And even then, when I meet up with colleagues, I still find
myself embarrassingly ill-informed in comparison – whether that’s academic
research that my EAP colleagues bandy around or the latest edtech that my
techier pals slip nonchalantly into conversation (notice I’m at least picking
up some of the jargon though!). Of course, I like to reassure myself that I’m
not actually less informed, it’s just that we all tend to focus on different things.
Although having a finger in lots of pies, I do sometimes feel like I just skim
lots of things and don’t really spend enough time on any of them.
It seems amazing now that I spent the first 10 years or so
of my freelancing career relying on not much more than a yearly visit to the
IATEFL conference and the odd article in the IATEFL magazine to keep up-to-date
with what was going on beyond what I was immediately working on. It makes me
- were we all just less-informed and narrower in outlook back
- does having all this extra information make us better at
what we do?
- is a lot of what’s out there just an unnecessary waste of
time? (I do find that I read a lot that goes over the same old ground and it’s
only occasionally that I pick out a genuinely useful, informative nugget)
- and if so, what’s the best way to filter out all the ‘noise’
and focus on the genuinely useful stuff?
On that last point, I do feel a bit of an undercurrent,
especially on Twitter, of having to be seen to keep up with the right stuff and
also of taking a supportive interest in what people you ‘know’ (in the loosest,
social media sense of the word) are doing, even when it’s only on the periphery
of your own interests. It’s a pressure I try to resist, but definitely one that’s
difficult to ignore completely.
I guess everyone has to find their own balance and way of
getting what they want from social media and the "information age" generally, and
we all go through phases of being more or less connected, and more or less
concerned about the pressure to be across everything all the time. Personally,
with the coming of spring (at long last!), I think I’m going to be prioritizing time spent in
my garden over time in front of my computer over the next few months … and I’m
going to try really hard not to feel guilty or out-of-touch as a result!
|Daily updates on the progress of my beans!|
Labels: #EAPchat, Facebook, professional development, social media, Twitter