|Nothing to do with the topic.|
It turns out, of course, that what was wrong was my connection to the wider world, and not the wider world's connection to me. By getting involved in (or just eavesdropping on) conversations on blogs and, above all, on Twitter, I began to see that there all sorts of amazing people out there doing exciting and interesting things, and, more remarkably, that they're happy to talk to little old me!
Wandering up to someone Big and Important at a conference is scary. Answering if they ask a question or start a discussion on Twitter is less scary. That for me, is the magic of social media in the professional context: you can type out your little thought, have a look at it, see if it makes any kind of sense, edit it, and then contribute. Much easier than wandering up to someone, blurting out something embarassing, and scuttling off to hide behind a tea urn.
And why does it matter that the talking to people thing is easier online? Well, you find out about all sorts of cool stuff that's happening and that's been written, and about cool people who want to collaborate with you, or borrow your ideas, or just meet up. And then, when you do meet them, there's so much less hiding behind urns and so much more useful networking.
Lastly, social media doesn't mind if you're having on off day, or week, or month. You can disappear off into the shadows for a bit if you need some time to yourself, and that's fine. When you come back things are still going on and people are still happy to see you. Magic!
Edited 1 February 2012: This post has been published in the CILIP East of England branch magazine Sunrise as part of a special issue on social media.