Alexis Ohanian taught me about social media. I was a CGI U commitment- maker and it was my second year being invited to the annual meeting. During the meeting, there are a variety of workshops taught by experts in the field, designed to help students further their project goals. I took the social media workshop that was taught by Alexis Ohanian. I did not know what Reddit was, but his slideshow (attached in the link above) looked impressive and I trusted that this dude knew his stuff. Alexis had a presence. Not just because he’s NBA tall, but he was funny, smart, charismatic and I genuinely felt that he wanted to do some good in the world. “Try to make the world suck less.” That’s what he said over and over. He spoke about the importance of building relationships, not just about gaining followers or likes. He shared his experiences and failures and gave us concrete tasks and goals to move our efforts forward. Afterward, I ran down to the front of the classroom to ask him more questions.
I didn’t have much time because I was running late for lunch. I know you’re probably thinking, “Myeashea, why could you not go to lunch later?!” I was ask to attend a special invite -only student lunch and I didn’t wanna be late.
Again, not knowing much about him, I said to Alexis “Are you on Facebook? I’ll add you.” Later that weekend, he accepted my friend request. My intention was to further network and ask more questions, but I never got around to it. Every now and then he’d pop up in my Facebook feed and I remember starting to think, “Whoa! He’s too famous to be bothered with me now!” The crazy part is he was probably too famous to be bothered with me then, I was just too dumb to know it, so I couldn’t get in my own way. Lol.
However, his advice on creating online communities, engaging in two-way conversations, quality over quantity, etc., has been repeated and distributed over the years to all of my CGI U mentees, and when I created The Rockstar Anthro, his advice continued to guide me. When I started the Rockstar Anthro a few years ago, I just wanted a place to share the anthropology, culture, and science stuff I learned and thought cool, but wasn’t quite appropriate to turn in as classwork.
Because of this blog, I’ve met so many awesome people! What has surprised me most is the number of messages that I receive that don’t have anything to do with anthropology or science. They’re from everyday people asking me about real human things!
“I’m struggling with my health, but scared to leave school.”
“My wife reads your blog and wants to go back to school. Will you write her a letter encouraging her goals?”
“What books should I read?”
“How do I get a mentor?”
“How do you balance work, school, and life?”
I’m humbled that you all care about my thoughts and feel comfortable enough to open up to me. We’re homies!
I’ve made really amazing friends, developed a wonderful peer group, and have received such outstanding encouragement. I gets the hate mails and weirdos too, but for the most part, folks have been the chillest. Last year, content on ALLLL platforms took a nosedive because I took a nosedive. Everything caught up to me and thanks to many of you- friends, mentors, classmates, fans of the blog who say “hey!”, etc. I started to get my tenacious spirit back!
I’ve been working on new #blog posts since Cyprus! The posts have been a mix of what I learned, interesting cases, and conversations/ questions that have come up in my anthropology and STEM adventures over this year.
I wanted to address the convos first because they have been more about health (mental and physical), uncertainty, fear, next steps, etc. Some of us have met up for lunches, revealed frustrations in group emails and texts. We’ve been going through it- together and apart.
I thought about sharing my own struggles, but that post was getting a little too revealing for my liking (lol). However, I think these issues are important. I just want you all to know that for me the work, school, life balance HAS NOT been easy, straightforward, or balanced. I had the dark times! But Y’ALL! I have the world’s best support team!
I talked to my partner about it and he thinks I should share the post. He reminded me of one of the things that I learned from Alexis. Part of creating and maintaining the community is allowing myself space to be vulnerable and authentic in the same way that many of you do when you send me those messages, emails, and comments. If I have a platform to help surface some of these very real anxieties, should I do it? Or, should I just keep these conversations confined to our inboxes and occasional meetups?
So, if you think it’ll be helpful for me to share, let me know! Otherwise, “What I Did on My Summer Vacation” will post later this week followed by some interesting skeletal pathology.