An Internet resolution

A productivity expert once said: “The more public you can make your goals, the more likely you’ll be to achieve them.”

A case in point: Dallas Mavericks guard Jason Terry tattooed an image of an NBA championship trophy on his arm before last season. He won the actual trophy less than a year later.

In the name of proper boundaries, I won’t list all my New Year’s resolutions. But I will announce this one: I aim to spend at least 20 minutes a day engaging in online networking.

I love technology. I was the first of my friends to have an electronic personal organizer in the 1990s. I loved that Casio device, complete with stylus.

However, I don’t love annoying people, which is a big reason why I have dragged my feet into social media.

“I lost touch with some people for a reason!” has been my mantra. Facebook represented my generation’s very public race toward middle age. Why would I want in on that? I’ll gain my weight and lose my hair offline, thank you.

But as technology advances tend to go, Internet-empowered connecting would not be denied. So it’s time to admit my denial and admonish my introversion. Henceforth, my New Year’s resolution.

Some points I’ve conceded on the topic:

1. People do care what I had for lunch, if I had something particularly good or bad or unique. People in my network will care (at least a little) because they trust my opinions (at least a little).

2. The world is communicating more through online networking and less through e-mail. E-mail will eventually become the new fax, complete with nostalgic feelings of security and certainty.

3. It’s okay to make mistakes. I will misspell words and miss punctuation. I’ll get a fact wrong. Someone will misunderstand something I post. I will say something extremely average or very un-funny. But I will check my perfectionism at login and at least have a seat at the new table.

4. It’s not just goofy, weird, needy or unambitious people who are networking online. Accomplished, forward-looking, well-adjusted people are, too. The online world is merely a microcosm, make that a macrocosm, of the offline world.

5. I’ll never understand all the parts of Twitter or Facebook or LinkedIn or Instagrams. I’ll also never understand any parts of them unless I start poking around. I learned my email software by punching buttons. Why would other tools be any different?

6. It’s not the end of the world, or my reputation, to have annoying people in my network. And it can remind me of what a sage told me recently: What we don’t like about others is often what we don’t like about ourselves.

7. Private people should not fear networking online. Just because you may enjoy a quiet place over a crowded room doesn’t mean you can’t build positive relationships with Internet technology. No introvert would consider foregoing the use of the telephone. Neither should it be with Internet communication.

As for my other New Year’s resolutions – including the one about trimming my nose hairs with more regularity – they’re posted now on my Facebook page!

Kevin Thompson writes weekly for The Boerne Star. Write to him at kevin@kwt.info.
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