A Metallica power ballad?

Posted by Doc
Aug 31 2009

Having arrived in San Francisco last night, I was feeling somewhat poetic.  Or so I thought.  So I tweeted something about listening to the rumble of the cable cars down on the street.

A friend sent me the following tweet…

Him: Dammit Steven…who cares? Love you man, but your tweet content is sometimes questionable. BTW, I’m sitting at my kitchen table ๐Ÿ˜‰

Me: I’m happy that you love me ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ll strive for greater profundity

Him: Your profundity inspires me. When you get off track, it’s like when Metallica does a power ballad ๐Ÿ˜‰

So here I am wondering about something that I’ve talked to others about… everything I tweet, as well as everything I blog, and everything I say in any public situation, contributes to how I’m perceived in the world. Since the world includes my professional community, it’s incumbent on me to think about what I say and how I say it.  Right?

I believe that it is. So when I tweet something about the weather or where I’m having dinner, it contributes to people’s opinion and impression of me, sometimes in very subtle ways. Mostly, I think about that before I tweet.  Sometimes I just think “the heck with it – I feel like saying this” and I go ahead.

I know several people whose Twitter personality or blog personality is DRAMATICALLY different from their in-person personality. This always makes me wonder.  For instance, some folks are amazingly nice in person, but downright caustic electronically.  I don’t get that. Why should there be such a difference, and why do they do it?

So I’m occasionally random and pointless, and clearly this annoys/disappoints/frustrates at least one friend and Twitter follower. It definitely gives me pause for thought.

How does my humor come across? How do my random/sarcastic/playful comments come across? Am I really being aware of not only myself, but how I affect others? And am I considering this in the generally-less-safe in-person context and the generally-more-safe electronic context?

This is one of the big lessons: being self-aware is work, and the work is never done.

4 Responses

  1. Doc:

    There are folks who tweet more random drivel than I care to endure. There are folks who tweet more about their politics or beliefs or navel than the topics I originally followed them for. I unfollow them, as that is my prerogative. I do not chastise them for failure to meet my personal Twitter expectations. Their world is not about me.

    That said, I do take pause when I tweet items. I try to be cognizant of my audience. Why are they following me? What do they expect? Are they interested in my personal life?

    And I often refrain. But not always. I am a whole person; I write code, I perform agile coaching, I run, I blog, I have a beautiful wife and wonderful children, and I am occasionally moved by the sights, sounds, and interactions that I experience. Moved enough that I want to share them. And I do.

    I liked your tweet about the Cable Cars. It provided me a momentary respite when I was dealing with a heavy situation. It reminded me that I really should talk with you. It connected us even though you may have been only vaguely aware of the connection.

    Say what you want to say. Some people really dig Metallica power ballads.

  2. Twitter Comment

    A Metallica power ballad? | Steven “Doc” List’s Random Musings [link to post]

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  3. Gregg Yows says:

    Hey Dr. List! One thing I have learned playin’ music and producing records (and in software development to a lesser extent)….is that if you are gonna put yourself out there, you have to be able to take some amount of criticism. Usually, it is well intentioned because if your audience really didn’t care, they wouldn’t even waste time or energy telling you how they didn’t like your thoughts or creations-unless they are just mean-spirited. They would just un-follow you or leave your record on the shelf.

    Take it from someone who has had to go down to Watirloo and take his records out of their shop because they needed to “make room” for other stuff. Shake it off and don’t give it another thought. You can’t please everyone. I usually can’t please anyone.

    • Doc says:

      I agree completely, and I hope that’s what came across in this post. The reminder to think about what I’m saying and the reaction it generates is always valuable.

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