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Taking the plunge

September 29, 2011







I had the privilege of visiting the beach three glorious times this summer, an experience so delightful that we get there by 9:30am to claim our favourite shaded spot away from the crowds.  Despite the weeks of high temperatures into the evenings, that first step is a cold and intimidating one for I know what’s coming next. With every inch forward, the water will rise and I’ll grow more anxious until I take a breath and submerge to acclimatize.  Then I’ll surface, hair soaked, often yelling, always grinning.  A few more seconds as the shock turns to exhiliration.  I am refreshed and energized.  And that’s what makes me take the plunge.  Now I can paddle around, happy as a clam, and forget why I was hesitant in the first place.

And so it is with moocs such as #change11.  My first lurk on Elluminate during a Friday session of PLENK2010 was a cautious step into the waters and, within an hour, I was hooked, exhilirated.  The software was intuitive.  The backchannel was frenetic so I learned from others how to use the @ symbol to direct my responses. The whiteboard was a series of scribbles and text boxes, generated by participatory attendees as well as the facilitators.    The rush of cameraderie was phenomenal, intoxicating. #change11 now brings me added enchantment as I recognize the participants from CCK11 who kept me company and honoured me with their replies during my immersion.

I took a new plunge today, encouraged by @giuliaforsythe, to just DO IT and set up this damn blog and get on with the business of reciprocating in this rich, complex network of fellow swimmers.  I wasn’t afraid of the technology but I was intimidated by the depth and breadth of the water around it.  I couldn’t see the bottom or the other side.  I wasn’t sure what to put out here.  And yet I practice change and encourage it with others so why resist?

Twitter’s new for me this week and, already, I have a couple of followers.  That’s refreshing and rewarding too.  I get it now.  I am in the right place among like-minded people.  And it was worth getting here and putting my towel down so I could run into the water.


From → Smarter worker

  1. BrainySmurf,
    I am so very pleased you took the plunge. My family also went to the beach a few days this summer. One day, it was so windy and for some reason, as a result the water was freezing cold. At first we were hesitant and almost in tears from the cold. Then we got completely silly and started doing these running sprints right into the water and would dive right under. Yes- exhilerating! Just do it!
    This is the climate where these kinds of risks will not result in hyperthermia. There are lifeguards standing by and you’re right- the water isn’t actually that cold after all.
    Thanks for the post. I’m going to try and write one today too. I’ll link to you and you’ll see how cool that is too!

    • Thanks so much, Giulia. In a networked environment, there are so many lifeguards standing by and brave swimmers willing to run into the water too.

  2. hello – you have both expresssed how I am feeling – however I am having difficulty even driving to the beach!

    I was inspired to comment by your words in the blog regarding ‘practicing change and asking others to so to’ – that is my work situation too – and it made me realise here i am sticking to the safely lit path that I know – of lurking in the background, reading posts but rarely commenting and then making a blog entry on my blog, which has ‘0’ followers – how risk averse is my behaviour!?

    Thanks for the beach analogy – it helped me alot being Australian and surrounded by salt water!
    ……now where did I put my sunscreeen?


    • Thanks, Jacqui. I know it’s not easy to leave one’s ‘safely lit path’. In this mooc environment, I feel like I’m not stepping into darkness. I am stepping onto an infinite number of paths that others have lit.

      I had freshwater to enjoy this summer but I miss salt water…enjoy!

  3. Ah ha, I love the line about putting your towel down and running into the water! See you there for a splash fight?! 🙂

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