I wish I had a niche

While out of town at a technology conference, I’ve been tweeting about the different sessions I’m attending using our work Twitter account. It’s been a lot of fun, and it’s been especially neat to connect online with others who are doing the same thing. Being focused on this subject has let me easily find others interested in the same things, and true social networks are quickly built as we share information and comment on the same content.

An online community and network (just in general) is something I’ve been wanting to take part in for years, but I don’t know how to do that within my context. The problem is one of specificity, and more to the point, that I have none. This blog has book reviews, fictional stories, comments on games, how-to articles about technology, long-winded essays about theological topics… If I were to focus solely on one of those, I could easily find a community to plug into. There is no techno-theological-writing-reading-reviewing community. SilverPen and my own interests are just too broad.

Or so I have always thought. After learning a bit more in the last week about the wonder of Google Alerts and setting up Twitter searches in Tweetdeck columns, I think I might be able to start branching out a bit socially. To use the analogy of the pool, I have been hesitant to dip my toes in because I’m not committed to any one topic. I assume that it won’t go anywhere and no one will be interested in connecting with me because I don’t go too deep into any one thing. Somewhat similarly, I’m a bit afraid that I will go too deep into one thing and lose my other interests. Just as writing for work has hurt my fiction writing (which was already painful to begin with), diving completely into theology at the exclusion of everything else would cause me to lose a lot of interests and pastimes that are valuable to me.

I think if I set up the tools well enough, though, I can quickly browse through these subjects and engage them and their communities in an efficient enough way to not burden me over much. I’m excited to start setting all this up tomorrow afternoon and throughout the rest of the weekend, so we’ll see.

One thought on “I wish I had a niche

  1. I can relate to what you are saying Matthew. I often feel that the nature of my work results in my knowing a little bit about a lot of things, and I’ve never felt that I could write authoritatively or have anything generally useful to say about any one subject. So any blogging, such as it is, has been hit-or-miss for me. Consequently, I’m not sure what social network I belong to.

    But I have been thinking a lot lately about how “curating” content, as well as generating a little, using tools that let you tag and categorize items might help. I like Google Reader for this so far, and I hoped that using the tags (and RSS output for each) could help create a bunch of “niches”.

    Mostly, I’ve been trying to not think about it too hard and just do it.


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