Re­verse Men­tor­ing: Learn­ing From A 12-Year-Old

Business Bhutan - - Editorial - ABHIJIT BHADURI

Have you tried re­verse men­tor­ing? Learn­ing from some­one younger in age and ex­pe­ri­ence. I have. I learn from a 12-year-old. There is some­thing new to learn ev­ery day. I met him when he was three. I was not too sure if I should hang around with a three-year-old. This kid is pop­u­lar – very pop­u­lar and has mil­lions of friends. My friend is called Twit­ter. Re­verse Men­tor­ing in ac­tion For a long time, I hung around with just twenty friends. (Here is the list of 20 peo­ple I first started fol­low­ing on Twit­ter). Why did I start with this num­ber? I wanted to get used to the medium. I wanted to learn its gram­mar and de­cide for my­self if this was use­ful. These were peo­ple who cu­rated the most in­ter­est­ing ideas on things I was in­ter­ested in. They hung around with in­ter­est­ing peo­ple. They opened a path­way for many new per­spec­tives. To­day if I were to draw up a list of 20 peo­ple to fol­low on Twit­ter, some of them would still fea­ture there. Twit­ter opened up a new uni­verse for me.

As I started get­ting com­fort­able han­dling the flow of ideas from 20 peo­ple I started in­creas­ing the num­ber of peo­ple I fol­lowed. I added a few mag­a­zines and news sources. I now fol­low about 100 of the Twit­terati. And I keep re­plac­ing a few peo­ple pe­ri­od­i­cally to keep my news­feed di­verse. A time killer? I spend about 20 min­utes in the morn­ing read­ing through a few links on my time­line. When I am wait­ing any­where, I quickly glance through the feed. It is my favourite tool to re­search an idea I am writ­ing about. These peo­ple will of­ten in­tro­duce me to other “in­ter­est­ing” peo­ple who can be a rich source of in­sight for me.

How of­ten should you tweet? The thumb rule I fol­low Tweet as of­ten as you eat. So two or three tweets a day is good for me. I try to tweet about some­thing that I will come back to later as well. Retweet­ing ev­ery­thing you re­ceive can be tire­some. Some peo­ple post the same tweet three or four times a day. It can get tire­some and gen­er­ates fa­tigue. If there is some­thing of value to just one per­son, use the di­rect mes­sage op­tion and avoid putting it on the time­line.

Be aware that like any place that has free speech, there will be some peo­ple who use it for pro­mot­ing their views on a topic that you may con­sider of­fen­sive. So choose the peo­ple you fol­low. Can you just be a silent ob­server? Yes, you can. But should you? Imag­ine hang­ing around with friends and hav­ing a lively ex­change. Sud­denly you no­tice some­one silently ob­serv­ing the ex­change. Af­ter some time, it would get creepy. So do share your ideas and opin­ions. Twit­ter now of­fers you 280 char­ac­ters to share ideas. Avoid mak­ing a long drawn speech split over mul­ti­ple tweets. If you have a lot to say on a topic use a blog post and post that link.

Thanks to Twit­ter, I have heard fab­u­lous mu­sic, read books that have ended up on my book­shelf, trav­elled to a new place; tried a new food; learnt how to sketch note; been en­cour­aged by the inspiring friends I have met. On a day I have felt the writ­ers block, I lean on Twit­ter to find me some­thing inspiring. I got hooked to pod­casts that I am now ad­dicted to. Just look up the list of peo­ple I fol­low and you will find all this and more. Twit­ter is the univer­sity I am en­rolled in.

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