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July 21, 2013

Invigorating Surprise

Have you ever done something that's supposed to improve yourself, and then find yourself getting something totally different out of it than what you were expecting?

Last week, I took a social media class at UBC Robson Square (a beautiful facility in downtown Vancouver, by the way), and I was totally blown over by what I ended up getting out of the course, because it wasn't necessarily what the instructor (Tristan Jutras) was teaching.

UBC Robson Square, thanks to Miss604 blog, and check out her blog for more Vancouver stuff!
I have to admit that it was a bit introductory for me, going over a lot of things I already knew. I did learn stuff, though, especially about branding and focusing, and information on best practices will be extremely valuable going forward.

But the "how to" items were basically stuff I already knew (or didn't really care about, like Tumblr). How to set up Twitter and what to use it for. How to set up a Youtube account. Why Hootsuite is so awesome. That sort of thing.

However, as I was going through the exercises and assignments that Tristan had us do, and as I listened to his lectures (he is a very passionate guy on this subject), I found myself thinking about a lot of the things I've been doing (and not doing) online. Tristan spoke a lot at the beginning about communities, and he was mainly talking about communities forming around your brand (if you're doing social media for your business, forming communities of customers, that sort of thing).

But I started thinking about communities I've been a part of in the past; communities that I've neglected and drawn away from over the last couple of months, or even longer. I haven't visited or blogged on the Game Informer community since May. I haven't blogged here since February. I have stayed with the Google+ board game community, but that's easy to do.

Basically, I haven't written anything in a long time. And as Tristan talked, and as we worked through everything, I found myself getting reinvigorated. I already have a Youtube channel, though I don't use it much. I hadn't customized it much at all. We did that on one afternoon, and I found myself actually doing some stuff with it.

We were supposed to set up a Facebook business page for something, and it hit me that it would be a good place to do my Game Informer video game blog. And hey, if I do that, why don't I start contributing to it again? I already have a Facebook page for this blog (why not head over there and "Like" it while you're reading this, if you haven't already?)

It was a gradual process as the week went on, but I found myself becoming more enthusiastic again about blogging and social media in general. I realized that I've drawn myself away from a lot of it. I didn't do much on Twitter while I was gone, and I hadn't done a lot even before that.

I did a post on Game Informer on Friday, and scheduled two more throughout the next week. One thing Tristan said that really resonated with me is to not worry about posting something every day. Even once a week is good, especially at the beginning. In the past, I've always been concerned about being regular and frequent, and I get bogged down and in a rut and I start worrying about it too much. Even though I told myself that I didn't need to worry about it, I did. Hearing it from an outside source really helped ground me.

This also means that this blog will again start having new posts to it. I do like it, and I do think it's a good outlet for me. And I did like my idea of having some regularly scheduled stuff go out in addition to the ones that I might just come up with on the fly (the Star Trek and the book reviews)

What about you? Have you ever taken a course and what you got out of it is nothing like what you were expecting to learn? Or some other learning activity if it wasn't a course?


  1. Not so much a course, but other experiences have turned out that way... For instance, lately I'm getting more out of my blogs than I do Epinions, where I used to be pretty passionate about writing. I got different things out of grad school and my time in the Peace Corps than I was expecting.

    I'm glad to see you writing again, Dave.

    1. Thanks, Knotty! It's good to be doing it again too. :)

  2. I haven't taken any classes, but would like to learn more about the technical side of SEO, branding w/ FB pages and how to do all that spiffy stuff with tabs and graphics on FB pages, monetizing FB pages and building shopping page/links. This type of stuff isn't offered in my area, at least not in classes where you can go in person. I'm sure they exist online, but that removes the in-person factor where you can ask those, "Wait...WHAT?! I don't get it." kind of questions.

    Good for you for taking the class, Dave! I'm still on a much slower writing/posting trend w/ my blog these days, and I'm okay with that. Until I get my weekly Stat Report email, and then the low numbers kind of irk me. ;)

    - Dawnie

    1. Yeah, online tutorials can be good, though even an online course in it may be good. You won't have the real-time aspect of it, but it would be semi-interactive. It wouldn't be a faceless tutorial.

      It was paid for by work, so it was hard to pass it up. :) Now I have to use that stuff for work.

      Good to see we're both posting within a day of each other, though! :)


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