Looking for somewhere to belong

Reading Lilia & Stephanie‘s very clever paper on weblog communities, I start asking “Why? What’s my motivation here” (Hey give me a break darling – you can take the boy out of the theatre you know, but you can’t take the theatre out of *this* boy).

No really, why would you want to be able to see where or whether a community exists? Well I don’t care much why *you* would, but I guess what I would want to be able to discern is: “Does this blog represent some aspect of a community of which I would like to be a part..thereof…maybe?”

OK – I can see two cases for me. I feel I belong (and that this blog belongs) to the KM community that’s talked about in the paper. For me I’m clear that this is a group of people who probably would have got together sooner or later as long as they made some form of contact with each other. Initial contacts probably happened by chance or by recommendations and then their blogs and online lives made contact and relationship building easier and made them happen more quickly than you might otherwise expect. I see the most important characteristic of this community as self-selection. I’m a member if I say I am. Other people recognise me as a member and seek out my company based on the quality of what I have to say, but I could lurk and *for me* I would still feel part of the community – I’m only ever one post away from being seen, recognised (maybe even secretly worshipped) by others.

I contrast this with my membership of another community of bloggers. I share my art through nanki – the scanblog. I never write stuff there (well hardly ever) except for replying to comments. That blog is a member of the Blogs Illustrated blog-ring and for that there are more explicit rules, a tribal mark that members must carry and as a ring, the blogs are tied to each other as long as they carry the ring code. You’re either in or your out – and you only get in if Madge says so. When it comes to lurking, well I might see myself as a member without posting anything or joining up, but nobody else would. The barriers to entry are higher (though still not that high). You have to have a candidate blog that meets the criteria an you have to show it to Madge who then says yea or nay.

Now in the first example it’s not at all clear who the members of the community are at any one time – but do I care? No – as long as I cultivate a position of acceptance towards anyone who comes along and says “Howdy, glad to see y’all here”.

I’m not sure what all this means and whether it adds to what the paper says or not but it sure was fun thinking it through!

Back to the grindstone

A lovely lunch with the delightful Suw Charman (and several thousand OAPs it seemed) at the Tate Britain cafe.

We shared a lot about the trials and tribs of being a poor down-trodden self-employed consultant: clients from hell (present employers/prospects excepted of course!); fees that hardly pay for lunch; but most of all the difficulty of being the sort of person for whom life is about carefully choosing a new jar of hot chocolate, taking the lid of with anticipation building, and ponk-ing the seal (with or without the aid of a teaspoon)as opposed to the boring day-to-day warm and tasty beverage making.

It was particularly nice for me to be able to relax and think of nice things that Suw could do instead of playing my usual role in such lunches of going “pleeeeeeeez heeeeeelp meeeeeeee”.

Perhaps you had to be there

I’d forgotten that I sketched this on Monday afternoon having just arrived and grabbed a cup of tea – hadn’t seen anyone to talk to yet and so just did this in my Journal. Over the two days I think I saw this guy with the floppy hair here more often than on any stand. For some people these Fatboy beanbags were the highlight of the conference ;)
lounge1.jpg

PKM trust, faith & fear

For the KB PKM workshop at KM Europe yesterday, I provided a teaser to get conversations going that originally was entitled “trust vs suspicion, faith vs fear…aaaaaagh the feelings” to get us talking about emotional responses to Knowledge Management and the implications for Personal Knowledge Management.

My motivation was really to get the conversation going at all as I’ve so often found that fear ends up being the ultimate barrier to change and to knowledge sharing but even talking about it is taboo in many corporate cultures.

The notes I scribbled before standing up to introduce the conversation went like this:

Fear as a barrier to change

Fear of: Discovery; Making mistakes; Ridicule; Victimisation; Loss of power; Loss of control; Telling the truth (where this is not the norm)

Isolation vs Connection

As I’ve often found with Open Space type events, it’s very difficult and probably not desirable to try to report in detail what we talked about. While we talked people were also putting thoughts on post-it notes which Ton promised to transcribe on the wiki, so the conversation might continue there.

The big insights for me were:

  • Very few people actually go to work intending to inspire fear in their team.
  • Some uber-gurus are quiet, shy and deferential
  • A lot depends on what your reward and value system is like (and I don’t mean PM Systems etc, I mean the more informal personal ones – how do I know from people around me whether I’m doing a good job)

What I wasn’t prepared for was for my definition of PKM to become the focus of the discussion and we ended up in a bit of a trial of my ideas on PKM rather than a broad discussion and I felt (perhaps wrongly, but I’m not sure) that people wanted me to give them the answer. I think this is entirely understandable in a situation where people are constantly bombarded with presentations where people stand up and say “I have the answer” I’m happy to say I don’t have *the* answer, but I have some possible answers and I’d love to keep having the conversation.

The bit I entirely forgot about – but perhaps we can talk about next time is how expressions of fear are not acceptable but expressions of anger are. I can’t remember which guru said that when people are being angry in the workplace s/he always asks “what are they afraid of?”

PKM trust, faith & fear

For the KB PKM workshop at KM Europe yesterday, I provided a teaser to get conversations going that originally was entitled “trust vs suspicion, faith vs fear…aaaaaagh the feelings” to get us talking about emotional responses to Knowledge Management and the implications for Personal Knowledge Management.

My motivation was really to get the conversation going at all as I’ve so often found that fear ends up being the ultimate barrier to change and to knowledge sharing but even talking about it is taboo in many corporate cultures.

The notes I scribbled before standing up to introduce the conversation went like this:

Fear as a barrier to change

Fear of: Discovery; Making mistakes; Ridicule; Victimisation; Loss of power; Loss of control; Telling the truth (where this is not the norm)

Isolation vs Connection

As I’ve often found with Open Space type events, it’s very difficult and probably not desirable to try to report in detail what we talked about. While we talked people were also putting thoughts on post-it notes which Ton promised to transcribe on the wiki, so the conversation might continue there.

The big insights for me were:

  • Very few people actually go to work intending to inspire fear in their team.
  • Some uber-gurus are quiet, shy and deferential
  • A lot depends on what your reward and value system is like (and I don’t mean PM Systems etc, I mean the more informal personal ones – how do I know from people around me whether I’m doing a good job)

What I wasn’t prepared for was for my definition of PKM to become the focus of the discussion and we ended up in a bit of a trial of my ideas on PKM rather than a broad discussion and I felt (perhaps wrongly, but I’m not sure) that people wanted me to give them the answer. I think this is entirely understandable in a situation where people are constantly bombarded with presentations where people stand up and say “I have the answer” I’m happy to say I don’t have *the* answer, but I have some possible answers and I’d love to keep having the conversation.

The bit I entirely forgot about – but perhaps we can talk about next time is how expressions of fear are not acceptable but expressions of anger are. I can’t remember which guru said that when people are being angry in the workplace s/he always asks “what are they afraid of?”

Coming down

Tired and a little anti-climactic for being at the airport, waiting for a long time for my plane, while everyone else is off eating & chatting together, continuing the session from earlier at some Australian place in Rembrandtplein.

A very good afternoon for me – the session was the Knowledge Board sponsored session on Personal Knowledge Management led very smoothly by Ton and featuring teasers from Lillia, Ton, Martin, Piers, Heiko, yrs truly and Florian. I introduced the subject of emotional response to KM & PKM, in particular the issue of fear for all knowledge workers. The wiki on which Ton, Lillia & Piers planned the session will also be used for recording results and I will probably go there to describe in detail the conversation that we had as a result, but the big things for me were a clearer understanding of what I’m talking about when I say PKM and reassurance that this is a subject that’s been ignored because it’s hard rather than it being irrelevant. To summarise what was said about fear: we recognised that it’s part of everyone; that part of being a good manager is about helping your people deal with emotional issues; that a solution lay in giving people something to believe in, something to be inspired by, because, as eny fule no wot has red enything by Carole Caplin, faith is the opposite of fear.

New people for me to e-mail & stay in touch with:
Sari
Piers
Heiko
Magdalena
Gabriela
Carla
Sam
Andy
and others drifting in and out of short-term memory.

KM Europe day 2

This morning to a presentation on Rewerse (semantic stuff including a tool to do smart screen scraping – not sure about this, will blog later).

Then a warm and dull hour with Factiva on taxonomy yawn – had a mad dash to find some food that I could eat – everything here was bread and cheese.

Now dashing into the Knowledge Board workshop

Good Morning Amsterdam

Managed to get a connection in my hotel room via senc.

Lovely dinner last night at Restaurant Tibet with KMEuropers Piers, Sari, Heiko, Martin, Magdalena, Lillia, Herwig, Peter, Patricia, Roberta, Gabriela & Ed… did I miss anyone out, I’m sure we commented on having 13 for dinner?

Conversations about Tibet, metasearch – there seems to be nothing but search search & metasearch in the exhibition hall here – including bookmarking, crazy careers, languages – ancient greek, latin, french, hebrew etc – while a heated conversation was going on to my left in German “es gibt kein TangibleOutcomes!” of which the end, we were relieved to hear was agreement that there was no problem.

Dinner followed by a walk around some back streets where I could feel a faint red glow in my peripheral vision, but during which I kept my eyes firmly on the path in front of me and carefully examining the canal water with only the occasional glimpse of UV-lit underwear and naked flesh – honest – Piers, Sari and I all managed to resist the chap who muttered “cokecstaseee” as he passed.

I’m mostly just amazed at how much English is spoken here – not just by the drunken scousers stumbling by the canal, but by all and it seems quite willingly, not omigodanotherbunchofbrits as in some parts of Europe – I like to believe that they know how excruciatingly embarrassed we are not to be able to speak or understand their language and are being very nice.

Now to check out and get off to the conference centre.

This tickled me

Nice little google – try searching for

modernising government agenda

and hit the [I'm feeling lucky] button.

Obviously either time to get back to old-fashioned government or even moderner government….

Yer ’tis in case it slips from the top page in google