One of the (many) gifts of writing a daily blog is that I can no longer make the excuse, "sorry, I don't have any time for that". Really, if there is time for daily social media participation then there is time to participate in things FOR THE PEOPLE WHO PAY THE SALARY.
So, yes, I have time to sit on that committee. And yes, I have time to be a part of that search. And yes - I'd be happy to do that testing, track down that bug, do that research, and give that presentation. I can work with that student, and train this professor. I'll give you my feedback, and write that report, do that guest lecture, and help you move your boxes. Plan the meeting - no problem. I have time for you.
It's not that I can't say "no" - its just that I will not say no to you. As saying yes to your request is most likely an invitation to learn something new, something I don't know, and I need to learn new things each day if I'm going to keep sharing.
Contributing to our ongoing discussion about the future of higher ed, from wherever your expertise and passions reside, is the best sort of professional development. We now have many ways to join the dialogue, and each is valuable. Tweet, comment, or post - each is equally worthwhile and equally productive.
Attending our professional meetings, giving presentations, and submitting papers remain enormously valuable to our career progression and professional learning. I would add that finding a way to participate in the conversation around higher ed is equally important, and it fuels and motivates our participation in other professional development opportunities.
I've also learned that finding a way to participate in the discussion beyond our campuses and our companies on higher ed assists in our ability to participate in internal conversations. The world of micro-blogging, commenting and blogging allows us to try out new ideas, learn what is most important to us, and learn from others. Participating in ongoing conversations motivates us to keep up with what other people are saying and what the latest evidence demonstrates.
On a practical level, committing to participate in external conversations around higher ed on a regular basis means giving some things up. The time it takes to tweet, comment, or post takes some time away from the ability to consume. I read less news and read less blogs and read less tweets, but I'm more selective in what I do read. The consumption / production equation gets skewed a little bit away from consumption.
How do we encourage more people to join the conversation?
How do we create incentives for more folks in higher ed (and here I include educators who work at technology and publishing companies, as well for-profit and non-profit universities) to tweet, comment and post?
How do we get our leaders to understand that the more we contribute to the larger conversation, the more motivated we will be to turn these conversations into actions and behaviors?