motive, means, opportunity

I’m leaving work a little early tomorrow afternoon and driving out to Western Massachusetts to attend my 15th year reunion at Mount Holyoke College. I’ll be giving a workshop on Web 2.0 for Nonprofits first thing Friday morning, which is really kind of a thrill for me, to teach a class at my old (and much-loved) college.

I mentioned to a few people that I plan to document the heck out of the weekend, through my various social media outlets (seesmic, utterz, blog, twitter, etc.), and one of my friends responded that I was sure to be the only one there doing so.

She meant that I’d be the only one from the 15th reunion class to be doing any of these things, and I think she’s right. There won’t be more than a small fraction of my already very small (<450) graduating class in attendance, and only a very small portion of the population is at all attuned to this sort of thing at all, really.

But what about the graduating seniors? Reunion takes place on the same weekend as graduation, so we’ll be sharing a lot of events with the senior class throughout the weekend. Do you think anyone will be live-tweeting graduation?

You know, not really.

It isn’t really about age. Whether or not you “get” social media — or engage, or have certain feelings and conceptions about it — depends a great deal more on those classics of the detective genre: motive, means, and opportunity.


You gotta wanna.

What is your motivation for being here in the first place? There are lots of different reasons given for the sometimes astounding amounts of time and energy we spend blogging, podcasting, twittering, and otherwise behaving mysteriously to most of the general populace.

Meeting new people, generating new business, researching new ideas — whatever your jones, you can feed it here.

But if you don’t have the jones, you probably won’t bother.


It helps enormously if you have been exposed to these tools, been given a fair chance at understanding their basic premise and architecture, and have the technology to get involved (i.e., access to a computer and the internet).

To a lot of people, social media remains mysterious because nobody has seriously tried to explain it to them, in a way that meets them where they are — and addresses their possible motives.


It takes time.

It takes a little (or a lot, if you’re lucky) of time each day to do this right, and it takes a certain duration of time to start seeing results.

But I really kind of hate it when people who aren’t into social media dismiss it (and me, my time, and my passion) with something along the lines of: I don’t have the time for it.

You know what? Neither do I.

But I make the time, because:

  • I wanna, and
  • I can.

I don’t exercise enough. Why not?

Not because I don’t have time. I can easily get up an hour earlier and go for a walk each morning. But I don’t because I don’t wanna — I’d rather stay in bed with my cat curled up under my chin. Each morning, this proves to be a more persuasive argument than the one provided by my alarm clock (and scale, sadly).

So I lack the proper motivation, despite having the means (legs) and the opportunity (time).

You really need all three.

What’s holding you back?


One response to “motive, means, opportunity

  1. I really liked this insightful post, Beth. I would say that I am not quiet as avid as you, but I have learned so much from you and applied what is right for me in ways that are already beginning to show promise in just the past few weeks.
    (Since you are busy at your reunion and Twitter has crashed badly, you probably didn’t see the tweet where I deemed you my “techno fairy godmother”).
    Motive, means and opportunity is right. My motive and means–and anyone else’s– are as different as we are. But there are great opportunities to be had with technology and social media. And you can just pick what you want and need and do only what you want with it.
    I think having the patience to let it build and branch out is important too.

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