Social Media and Leadership

Today, I spent the day at the Connecticut Health Foundation’s All Fellows Retreat. As always, it was a source of plenty food for thought. At a previous fellow gathering, I learned about the conscious competency learning model. In this model, we start off as being unconscious of our incompetence in a particular area. The first part of learning is discovering our incompetence, becoming consciously incompetent. We then develop competence becoming consciously competent. We continue using the skill until it becomes second nature. At this point, we cease being conscious of using the skill, and we become unconsciously competent.

The original context I learned this in was in being culturally competent. When dealing with people from a different background, how often do we end up saying something unhelpful or unkind, without even knowing it? We might be offended or defensive when someone brings it to our attention, but hopefully, we start working on becoming more competent in our cultural communications.

I thought about this today, as I drove up to the All Fellow Retreat in another context: How does the competency model apply to social media? How many of us have gotten to the point where using social media is second nature to us? Do we remember when we struggled over whether or not to post certain things?

Today, we talked about three aspects of the actions of individuals, teams, and organizations: Robust, Relevant, and Relations. Many organizations get stuck with robust activities. They may be really good at doing something, but how relevant is that to the organization? From a social media perspective, this is like looking at how many followers you have, or how many hits your webpage gets. (Remember the old definition of HITS? How Idiots Track Success). This gets to the relevant part. If you have a lot of followers, a lot of traffic to your website, even a lot of likes or comments, if it isn’t helping you achieve your organizations mission, if it isn’t relevant, does it really matter?

The sweet spot comes when you add in relationships. During the discussion today, one person mentioned a coworker who always showed pictures of her kids. The person at the retreat spoke about learning that if she wanted to motivate and engage that worker, starting the discussion around kids seemed most effective. I think this captures some of my frequent comments about tweeting about breakfast. It is part of building the relationship that gets other people engaged.

I hesitate posting this, for fear of sounding too much like too many ‘social media experts’ posting their thoughts about how to do social media. Yet I’ve decided to share it, hoping it will resonate with some people and perhaps generate further thought.


Today, I met with the Dean of Formation at the Diocese of Connecticut to discuss continuing education options that might be. I’ve spent a bit of time exploring information she provided and there is so much more to explore. In the evening, I wrote a few emails. One was to a youth group leader I knew back I high school that I’ve recently reconnected with. Another was to my priest with thoughts for a discussion we will be having about racism at church. I also wrote a letter to a seminary about possibly visiting it sometime soon. That has tapped out a lot of my writing for today.

Tomorrow, I will be going to the CT Health Foundation All Fellows Retreat. I look forward to seeing many friends and having interesting discussions there, as well as learning from the various presentation.

Yet before all of this, I need to get some sleep.

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The fluffy small clouds
floated blissfully
in the crisp clear
autumn sky
as small birds
in the breezes.

“Who could not praise God
on a day like this?”
I thought to myself
as I approached
the cemetery
where a young mother
over her son’s
But it wasn’t my son
or my fault.

Nearby, the birds sang joyfully
as they searched for food.

“I’m just living my life
as best I can”,
I thought to myself
as I pondered suffering.
“I don’t add to it,
do I?”

Sure, I’ve squabbled with friends,
causing them distress,
but not enough
to ruin a beautiful day?

I’ve benefited
from the circumstances of my birth.
Not deliberately, not consciously,
but certainly not enough
to contribute
to the death
of a young black man?

I’ve sought to send forth
tiny ripples of hope
but have I sent forth,
greater ripples of hurt?

I ponder these things
on The Day of Atonement
and cry out
“Forgive me”

A little bird looks up at me
quizzically chirps
and now the bird is silent too.

Notes: I wrote this on Yom Kippur, 2015 as I contemplated my own unexplored faults. The "tiny ripples of hope" come from Robert Kennedy's great Ripple of Hope speech. "and now the bird is silent too" comes from the poem "Little Unwritten Book" by Charles Simic by way of a writers prompt where I was challenged to use that line (or a couple others) as the last line of a poem.


The Pope has arrived in Washington. The sun has set and Yom Kippur has begun. Another long day at work has ended. I scan through my list of blog posts I want to write. I glance at a writing prompt from a poetry group. I try to remember fragments of dreams and poems, and they escape me. I’m glad I’m not writing something on a deadline. This is not an evening to write. It is an evening to be quiet, to contemplate. I go to my blog to post this and discover that I’ve already put up my blog post for today, so I didn’t even need to write this much.

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The Smell of the Harvest

In her opening post to St. James West Hartford’s online book study group, Bishop Laura asks, “Where have you smelled or tasted God’s presence?. Perhaps the most obvious answer is in receiving the Eucharist on Sunday morning. It is a time where we stop and try to become more aware of God’s presence in our lives.

I often think . Perhaps the most obvious answer is in receiving the Eucharist on Sunday morning. It is a time where we stop and try to become more aware of God’s presence in our lives.

I often think the phrase from 1 Corinthian’s, “do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” While we may think of this in terms of ‘this’ being the celebration of the Eucharist, I would like to suggest that every meal we have, every drink we have with our meals should be done in remembrance, remembrance not only of the crucifixion and resurrection, but of the simple fact, to borrow a phrase from Godspell, which I’ve been listening to a lot recently, “All good gifts around us are sent from Heaven above”.

This leads to a broader answer to Bishop Laura’s question. The bread we use at the Eucharist might not remind us of fresh baked bread, but there is something divine, literally, about the smell of fresh baked bread, another reminder of God’s love for us.

And the bread that we eat, comes from the grain that is harvested. These days, we many of us many not experience the smell of the harvest. Perhaps we experience it here or there, in the smell of apple cider or pumpkin spiced lattes. Maybe the smell of newly fallen leaves reminds us of the harvest.

The harvest is near. It has a beautiful aroma of God’s love for us.

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