JETwit Diary is a new feature by Steven Horowitz (Aichi-ken, 1992-94), founder and publisher of JETwit.
It’s time to re-connect with JET alum readers.
Sure, I connect with JET alums all the time. At JETAANY events, meetings and conferences as well as in exchanges with numerous alums around the world via e-mail, Facebook, LinkedIn, the JETwit Jobs Google Group, etc.
But when I was the Editor for JETAANY Quarterly Newsletter (now “JQ“), I not only wrote a “Letter from the Editor” each issue. I also wrote the “JETAANY Society Page” (under the pen name “Yoku Shitteiru” for those who remember) which was extremely enjoyable and satisfying, albeit rather labor-intensive and time-consuming.
Additionally, when I first created the Writers Interpreters Translators (WIT) Group (which eventually evolved into the JetWit site), for several months I wrote a weekly email update in which I shared various accomplishments and activities of members and also wrote introductions about new members. I remember greatly enjoying the process of gathering and sharing thoughts, information and ideas as well as trends and patterns that I observed. And it was that process that led to the “JET Alumni Author Showcase.”
However, the need to manage the JetWit site (which is all done in my spare time) plus my recent induction into fatherhood have limited my ability to spend time actually writing. Today I still communicate with the JET and JET alum community via JetWit, but I recognize that there’s an indirect quality to it. I spend time recruiting others to write and provide structure and perspective for their contributions. So in that sense I communicate through their voices and through the decisions I make on what content to post.
As a result, a number of conversations, interactions, thoughts and other things that happen along the way don’t get mentioned, such as:
- The pleasant e-mail exchanges that occur as people respond to the JET-Sister City List Project I set up earlier this week. For example, it turns out that Hokkaido JETs put on a huge musical productions every year. And the person who told me about it asked if she could write something for JetWit about it. (Answer: Mochiron!) I love hearing about things like this. And I love even more being able to let the rest of the JET alum community know that things like this exist.
- That a news reporter is working on a story about JET alum Dan Seals, who is running for Mark Kirk’s vacated seat in Illinois and has a good chance to become the first JET alum to hold a seat in Congress. Notably, two other JET alums have run for Congress this year: Rob Cornilles who faces a tough incumbent in Oregon, and David Boling who lost in the primary in Arkansas.
- The good work being done by Byron Nagy with the JETAA Tokyo chapter, which is very focused on service and volunteer activities and is also doing a terrific job of bringing people together and assisting with networking and job hunting.
- Ideas I haven’t had time to put into action yet, including a JET alum storytelling event modeled on The Moth Storytelling Hour, an annual award recognizing JET alums who have given back to Japan and a JET essay compilation focusing on the themes of cooking and being alone.
- Efforts by several JET alums to generate more pro-JET press coverage in the media, particularly in the Japanese language media.
I realize that I’ve missed having the opportunity to write, synthesize some thoughts, share information and share perspectives that come to me in the course of my work with JetWit as well as in the course of my role with JETAANY.
As a result, going forward I’m going to attempt to write periodic JETwit Diary entries that capture some of what’s going on that doesn’t fit on the site in other forms. Just as I tell other JETwit writers, this is all one big experiment. So let’s try it out, see what we learn along the way and we’ll take it from there. Because in the end, it’s all about the journey.
Ganbarimasu and yoroshiku onegaishimasu.
Steven Horowitz (Aichi-ken, 1992-94)
Steven is available on a consulting basis to assist organizations with any writing, communications, community building, membership retention and creative marketing needs.