Dynamic Compartmentalisation

Breakfast and conversation again yesterday, courtesy of OneAlfredPlace and Steve Moore I love the way that Steve keeps playing with different formats. This one involved three cool people (coincidentally all members of my twitterstream) Jeremy, Kevin & Matt from Penguin, The Guardian and Channel 4 respectively, all talking about what happens next in their worlds, ably steered by Rebecca Caroe. As Matt disarmingly pointed out, when you ask people in the vanguard of change what the future will be like, it’s not surprising that they describe a scenario in which there are really cool jobs for people like them. But as I feel part of the same vanguard, I’m not going to disagree with what they were saying. The common thread for me was that they all see their jobs as doing away with technology dependent descriptions of what they do (sell books, paper, TV programmes) towards being in the market for ideas and stories. I wanted to ask to what extent they saw themselves as competition for each other, or more properly for our attention.

Mark has captured the nugget in what Matt said about some current C4 research on teenage net use.

“Seems one girl the researchers were following was hanging out online doing amongst other things a spot of the hi-speed Instant Messaging that only the young can really manage for any length of time.

She had sorted all her contacts into 6-7 or seven groups – schoolfriends, family etc but also “bitches” “wankers” and so on. What was striking though was the way in which she switched contacts between the groups in real time. Even if the members of her different social networks remained mostly consistent over the short term, their roles were in constant flux. And those are just the small set of folk she is in regular contact with regularly…”

Read the whole thing for Mark’s point on this (as well as some bonus Tommy Cooper) but what struck me was how it fits with what I’ve been saying about compartmentalisation – that the way we dealt with having larger numbers of acquaintances than 150 was to split them up (at least in our heads) and make sure they never came into contact with each other (except when we wanted them all to share something with us – weddings – or where we were no longer in control – funerals – both of which, especially with the addition of alcohol can become explosive situations). I see a lot of people struggling with the problem that online social networks make compartmentalism more difficult. It seems to me that the solution here though is a creative third way – keep the idea of compartments, but treat them much more dynamically.

As usual, I feel I’ve taken hundreds of words to say something very simple and obvious. Sorry.

About.me 2008 version

There’s nothing like an extended period of underemployment to get you thinking about who you are, what you’ve done and what you want to do. I also recognise that I’ve met an awful lot of new (to me) people in the last year or so, many of whom aren’t intimately acquainted with what I’ve done. Many of these people have come to me via the Tuttle Club/Social Media CafĂ© and I know they’d love to help me get more work, so especially for them, this is the story so far.

I started out in the theatre, training at the Guildford School of Acting and spending the next couple of years in traditional actors’ roles – behind bars, on building sites and temping – oh and an audition and show here and there 🙂

The lure of tech called me aside and I got into databases, data analysis and what we then called “programming” – what’s a developer? This led me back into education and a degree in Computing & IT at Surrey University.

My industrial placement was at the Audit Commission, which I joined after graduation working in research, information and, latterly, knowledge management. By the end I was responsible for the redesign and rebuild of the intranet and internet sites, focusing on a common information architecture between the two and working with people to set up offline Knowledge Networks across organisational boundaries.

Since then I’m been working as an independent consultant specialising in how people in organisations communicate with each other and with their stakeholders, particularly how the might do that using internet technologies. Around the same time I was introduced to blogging and which extended for me over the years into photo-sharing, audio and video work – check through the archives here to see some of the high- and low-lights.

In the last few years my focus and interest has become refined in the use of social media and I’m now mostly interested in how online interaction can help build offline relationships and vice versa. I’ve done this in a range of assignments as consultant, trainer, facilitator, mentor and content producer.

I’ve become adept at helping people understand how social media and online social networking can be used in their personal and organisational context. As a near obsessive early adopter (I was one of London’s first podcasters in 2004), I have a strong understanding of how social technology and the network effect come together as a powerful tool for organisation and productivity. What I have that is unusual is an ability to translate what I and my friends have been doing for years into something that makes sense in your world/

So I’m now looking for more opportunities, specifically in training, mentoring and consulting for individuals and small teams, preferably within medium to large organisations (500+ employees) especially those interested in using a combination of social media to achieve a specific business benefit.