Real Life has greater bandwidth

The first person I heard say this was musician, artist and educator: Bobbie Gardner. “Real life has greater bandwidth” she said and then waited for me to take in her words of awesome wisdom.

It has a phrase that has stuck with me, so much so that it has become one of my pub theories. Get me in a pub, give me a pint of beer, mention social media and I’m bound to utter those words. I really am terribly predictable.

It means a lot to me, because sometimes I have got so much into social media that I have become almost dependent on seeing the next tweet in which I’m mentioned, or yearning for someone to comment on my blog.

But the thing is, real life has greater bandwidth.

You gain things from Twitter, from Facebook, from blogging, but you can’t gain as much as you can from sitting with someone and talking. Or standing in stadium and watching. Or walking somewhere in the rain.

On Twitter, you can’t smell the coffee. On Facebook, you can’t appreciate the subtle complexities of an Islay malt. And when you receive a comment on a blog, you can’t see the ironic smile, or the encouraging eyes, or the slightly disappointed frown.

I’m trying to blog more this year, to help me reflect on things I believe and things I’m trying to learn. But I’ve got to remember that real life has greater bandwidth: sometimes it is more important to take in the view than to take a photograph it.

To help me, I’m using scheduling on my WordPress site. This means I can post things on different days, but write them all at once if I want. Right now, it is Wednesday, but I know this post won’t go live until I’m just brewing my first coffee in my Bialletti on Saturday morning.

I’m also planning not to broadcast at all on Sundays. Sundays are going to be a social media Sabbath for me. Time to go to church, spend time with family and generally not look at too many screens.

What is blocking your blogging?

I’m not very good with New Year’s resolutions. Like many, I have the tendency to make them and break them within the same week. New Year’s blogging resolutions are no exception. In the past I have decided that I’ll write this much or that much each week and have invariably failed before January is out.

This year however, partly spurred on by a conversation with Oliver Quinlan, I’ve decided to do things slightly differently: I’m going to worry about quality less.

I have realised that one of things that is blocking my blogging, aside from being over-tired and over-busy, is the desire to write the perfect post. I want to put it all together – educational theory with my experience and make it really up-to-date. I want it to be critically acclaimed so loads of people tweet it or re-blog it.

And I’ve realised that I’ve been blogging for the wrong reasons.

Oliver pointed out that there seem to be less people just writing about what they do: their day-in, day-out experience. And I agree, or maybe I choose not to read those people who are blogging about the normal stuff. Either way, for me the realisation is that I’m trying to blog like an educational theorist, when I’m actually I’m just a Deputy Head, trying my best and I need to write about that.

For me, the process of blogging is more important than the outcome. Writing gives me valuable time and space for reflection. The implication being that the audience I am writing for is mainly me – but that’s OK, especially if doing that helps me be a better Deputy Head.

So no longer will fear of failure staunch my blogging flow. I’m going to write. It might not be perfect, but I’m going to write.

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