I’ve recently joined Facebook (say hi if you're there, too!). I resisted social networking for the longest time, and I can’t really say why. I’m introverted (it’s a great place for someone like me to connect with others), and I’m incredibly relational (a key ingredient for doing well in that medium). I should have recognized a good fit ages ago, but I didn’t.
So now, I’m there, and it’s such a fabulous place to learn
and grow and meet and mingle, and …well, I love it. The whole thing, for me, is
one huge life laboratory, and I’m conducting fabulous experiments that are
delighting me at every turn.
One of the delights has been in an app I’ve downloaded and added to my profile called Define Me.
It provides people with access to me on FB to list words they would use to describe me. It’s done anonymously—I have no idea who is adding words, or clicking on words already added that they agree with.
The output of all that input is a word “cloud.” If you’ve never seen one of these before, it’s a way for you to visually see what’s been voted on or added most frequently. Take a look over there in the right sidebar--my categories are displayed in just this kind of cloud. On FB, Define Me uses the same idea, and with regard to my cloud of words, the biggest word in the cloud is the one most people have agreed with, the next biggest is the next most agreed with, and so on.
Here’s my cloud:
Now, of course, “articulate” is being given a run for its
money by “authentic,” “delightful,” “joyful,” and “welcoming.” As more people
weigh in, it changes. And I love watching those changes. I find the whole thing
If I were to have guessed what words people would have most used to describe me, I would have said, “Loving, gracious, welcoming, smart.” I might have added “authentic.” Interestingly, "smart" isn't even on the cloud. "Bright" is, though...and I'm not sure I know what the difference is (is "bright" smarter than "smart," less smart than "smart," or otherwise?), but I assume there's a difference.
It all just goes to show that what I think people are experiencing of me isn’t necessarily what they’re experiencing of me.
And that’s a very interesting lesson.