Why I am here

In 2015 when I attended the national NASPA conference, I took down some thoughts for me to blog about later. One of those bullet was:

  • Why are we here? What are our motivations? What do we want to gain? Are we considering our motivations when planning our days?
And I think now is a great time to talk about these. After Ann Marie Klotz' blog post on the infamous student affairs Facebook page, and the numerous responses, and conversations about what we should be doing, I want to talk about what we are doing. What are we doing online, why are we there, and what do we want from those experiences?

I joined Twitter when I was working in a place where it was a bad fit for me. Our values were incompatible, professional development was viewed differently, and my skills weren't taken advantage of. I felt so isolated, so alone. I knew what I wanted to do, the appropriate student development theories for the work I was doing, and current practices to make the office better. I was so unhappy I was bringing that unhappiness home. Once I found the Student Affairs Collective, the #sachat group, and a list of blogs by other student affairs professionals. I read a blog post by another woman who was in a similar position and it made me cry. I wasn't alone anymore. I re-found my people.

Back then #sachat felt super clique-y. There were "elites" who contributed, who were retweeted. It was a growing echo chamber. The Thursday chats were informative, group chats. The webpage had selected blog posts that were edited by #sachat mentors and commented upon. They were reviewed for quality. I no longer check into the Thursday chats or check the collective's blog posts regularly.

I joined that Facebook group for similar reasons. I wanted to be part of the larger conversation, contribute where I could, learn from other professionals, and participate in a learning environment. I left that group a while ago.

I stopped doing those things because I no longer need that validation. I've grown my social network to a really fantastic point that I can throw out ideas or tune into others'. It's not that those groups or forums are bad, they're just not for me anymore. My motivations now are to learn and absorb as much as I can from other/different sources. Lately, I've been tuning into professionals in academia and data/institutional research. I have a great Twitter feed that posts a myriad of stuff, who retweet others, and who are just generally brilliant, good people. My Twitter feed still grows, just does so at a slower rate. My current role doesn't have anything to do with some of the more traditional student affairs stuff, but I still pay attention, because good practices are good practices, and my goal is to set up my office with the best, most applicable, good practices.

What are your motivations for being online? How are your actions online playing into your professional role?


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