Johnnie Moore, Monoliths and Individuals

CC flickr photo from ElDaveJohnnie Moore’s Weblog: The genie out of the bottle

All this inventive technology is being made available to just about anyone with a web connection.

How does it compare for engagement and collaboration with anything inside the firewall of organisations? I’ve argued before that, over the last few years, the technological advantage has shifted massively away from companies to individuals. I think we may only have scratched the surface of the impact this will have.

Yesterday I was talking to a potential collaborator who has some business inside of a big company. I usually work in the non profit sector, but this bit sounded interesting, I liked the potential colalborators’ expressed values so we are continuing the conversation. There was one bit that really struck me… a comment about their resiliience in dealing with slow moving, often self-contradicting companies.

My response was that I cope with the frustration and discouragement of working with monolithic organizations by focusing on the potential, possibilities and the growth that happens within individuals. Eventually these individuals influence their organizations, or they leave. It is potentially quite subversive. Change or lose your best talent.

Seriously, I need to write up my triangulation thoughts. This is relevant and is giving me a new frame to understand and talk about my work. But it is month end. Billing and Austraila prep rule the day!

Photo Credit: Creative Commons picture on Flickr from ElDave. Thanks!

Trend Questions: Community “management?”

Having been in the “online community” world since around 1997, I have seen “community” ebb and flow. What is different this time around is the credibility that is given to those talented individuals who help steward, facilitate, care, lead, host, cajole and even “manage” online communities. While we can quibble for hours about the definition of online community (and what is or isn’t a community), the role of supporting these things finally has arrived with legitimacy. (That means people sometimes actually get PAID to do the work! Amazing!)

In my work, I am finally seeing people budget for this role – even in tough economic times. “Build it and they will come” has finally come and gone and people have gotten serious about the strategic use of online groups, communities and networks and thus are willing to invest in their care and feeding.

What is happening with online community management where you work/play? Is the role legitimate? In what fields? What kind of value is placed on the role/job?

Trend Questions: More Visuals?

I have fallen deeply in love with graphic facilitation and graphic recording at face to face events. As the person doing the graphics, I listen much more deeply. That is saying something for someone who often talks a lot. But more than that, I have found that images are:

  • …negotiable. Unlike words, where we make a silly assumption of accuracy, we are often comfortable asking about an image and entering easily into a conversation. This has been particularly important for me when working in intercultural settings where figuring out if we are all talking about the same or different things is REALLY important. Stories are conversation starters and help us make meaning.
  • …validating. When someone takes the time to draw pictures about what someone said, they feel heard and validated. They tend to really enjoy seeing the visual artifact of their words or presentation and often take it with them. Pictures about us make us feel special. (I know that can sound a bit precious. But give me some slack!)
  • …stimulate memories. Often graphic recordings of events make little sense to those who weren’t at the event. But when they hinge upon a central image or metaphor, they help us remember an event or a conversation. They are an interesting reification of what happened. Pictures help us remember.
  • …anchor stories. When I have to explain what went on in a meeting, I love having the graphic recordings to tell the story. They prompt me through the key moments and conclusions. This can also be done with a slide show of photographic images. Photos help us tell stories.

As a result of my love affair with images, I now:

  • try to embed a picture in every blog post
  • link to pictures in delicious and Twitter
  • embed images in discussion forums and email threads
  • bring paper and pens to share at all face to face events.

What are you seeing in your practices?

Trend Questions: More Synchronous Online Interaction?

Flickr Creative Commons image from James Cridland
Flickr Creative Commons image from James Cridland

I love working asynchronously in text. I can read and write quickly so it suits me. But it sure doesn’t suit everyone. One trend I’m noticing with my clients is a preference for synchronous online interactions, from quick Skype calls to organized web meetings using tools that allow desktop sharing, white boards and even video. (I have to say, for one who has a lot of meetings at 6am in the morning, I’m NOT a fan of video at that time of day!)

Even across diverse time zones, there is more synchronous. Even Twitter – which can sit both in a synch and asynch place, keeps us in that “in the moment” mode.

What are you seeing in your online life? More synchronous? Less? The same? What synchronous tools are popular in your communities and networks?

Laura Fitton’s Twitter Recipe Sharing

Flickr CC photo from MollyCakesWho asked if Twitter had any value? Well, I just got a yummy sounding recipe via Twitter from the famous Pistachio… in two tweets. Now that is something useful on a Saturday night as I nurse my back (which went out while spreading cacao husks to mulch my garden. What karma!)

Laura Fitton Pistachio on Twitter
# Last 2 tweets are sweet potato spaetzle recipe for @NancyWhite. Amounts are wild-a$$-guesses. I never measure.

in reply to NancyWhite# Drop tiny bits of thick batter/ sticky dough into boiling water. Scoop with slotted spoon when it floats. Drain. Sautee in butter/meatballs.

# Nuke sweet potato thoroughly. Whip with 3T butter, 1/3 c water, salt, lots of pepper & 3 eggs. Stir in ww and white flour for sticky dough.

If the Mole chile that is cooking in the crock pot comes out, maybe I’ll have to share that recipe.

So what does this have to do with this blog?

Reciprocity, baby, reciprocity.

Photo Credit: Mollycakes on Flickr