The problem with moving up the ranks is you do less and less of the hands on work. In my most recent role, this really bothered me more than it had in the past. In previous jobs, I’d always had a hand (or more than that) of doing things regardless of what my title was. But all of a sudden, my new job was to go to a lot of meetings and drone on about policy and strategy.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m really good at that. I haven’t met a meeting I couldn’t cut in half and even when you can’t do that, I am perfectly fine in situations where we have to handle the business of tactics. It’s where I thrive.
I still like being connected to the work. I encourage my staff to come to me and talk about the things they’re building. I’ll often peer around in code and see how things are built. I want them to be excited about the things that are happening on the dev side and I made use of administrator rights to understand how the system worked because if everyone leaves, I felt like it was important for me to know how to keep operations managed.
That brings me to Vine.
One of the other issues with leading a digital media operation is how little time you get to actually play with the tools that we’re using. We didn’t use Vine much at my last spot, so this wasn’t the specific tool. It’s been around a while and I hadn’t had a real use for it. I don’t watch many despite friends who will often try to get me to watch them.
Sports fixed this problem for me.
As I spend my time on other things, my love of sports doesn’t abate. I just spend less time keeping up with the day-to-day of things. So that’s where a tool like Vine is really helpful. Whether it’s remembering a highlight, meme or something, I really liked how it was a way to stay connected to the action.
As a baseball fan, this was particularly frustrating because MLB teams aren’t the best at staying connected to Vine in-game as opposed to other sports (like the NBA) where you can get in-game Vines easily. It wasn’t a major league baseball game that drew me to Vine, it was this bat flip from a Korean game.
No one had made a Vine. As with many baseball highlights, I didn’t expect it would ever get made. Baseball has the 2nd oldest fanbase after golf, so the people who make Vines probably aren’t watching. Therein lies our conundrum.
Since that maiden Vine I made myself (which has looped 12k times since I posted it) I’ve dove back in a few times and have apps on my phone that make cutting Vines a lot easier. None of this is groundbreaking for those who spend their days doing this, but for someone who is social media savvy otherwise, being able to play with a tool that I didn’t use for work — just for myself — was the best way for me to get a handle on how to use it and developing tactics around it.
As more and more digital leaders elevate to the C-suite, executive boards and leadership teams, it’s critical for us not to lose sight of what got us here in the first place. Whether it was tinkering, developing, building and being brainy at 3am, maintaining your love for the tools and being willing to immerse yourself without a bottom line is the key to staying sharp.