People's reluctance to embrace social media may not result just from difficulty with the tools, but rather from their worldview and how far they like to believe in simple cause and effect, rather than complex interactions.
Two specialists in the use of collaborative methods highlight this. David Gurteen is a knowledge management specialist reflecting on the use of social media. Jack Martin Leith is a long-time expert in the use of Open Space methods for face-to-face events, focussed on co-creation.
David contrasts World 1 and Word 2 view's in a matrix - see below - writing in his latest newsletter.
"We are moving from a world where we were told to do things and where things were structured or planned for us to one where we get to decide what works best for us. We are moving from a mono-culture to a highly diverse ecology.
"We are moving from a simple world to a rich, complex, diverse one. One where power is less centralized and more distributed. We are moving from a command and control world to a world where people can do as they please within the boundaries of responsibility." read more »
The realities of introducing social media into organisations was brought home to me again yesterday at a conference in Cardiff for people in housing associations with responsibility for PR and communications. We had some fine presentations about developing the brand, dealing with media, using storytelling. These days tenants are customers, housing stock is homes - and quite rightly so.
I ran a couple of workshops on what blogs, wikis, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube and the like might bring to the mix, and how organisations could use lots of free tools from Google and other sources. I tried to focus on what this meant for organisations, as people become more able to find their voice to contribute ideas, experience - and of course complain if they were not happy with services.
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Clay Shirkey's new book Here Comes Everybody is about "the power of organising without organisations". In it he says that Web 2.0 changes everything:
Everywhere you look, groups of people are coming together to share with one another, work together, or take some kind of public action. For the first time in history, we have tools that truly allow for this.
In the same way the printing press amplified the individual mind and the telephone amplified two-way conversation, now a host of new tools, from instant messages and mobile phones to weblogs and wikis, amplify group communication. And because we are natively good at working in groups, this amplification of group effort will change more than business models: it will change society.
On the other hand I found some scepticism about adoption of new tools among Circuit Riders at their recent conference as I noted earlier. I've now posted video from the conference sessions in which Circuit Riders talk about whether the tools for change are available - and whether they have the skills to use them.
Steve Dale - who blogs at Dissident - is highly experienced in the field of social media and online communities. He's clearly feeling some frustration with people who think that just installing the right tool or improving their site will help communication flow. In It's not the (social networking) technology - it's the people that matter he writes: read more »
Last week's Circuit Riders conference in Birmingham was a great opportunity to catch up on the front-line realities of working with organisations, as well as co-presenting a workshop with Laura Whitehead and Nick Booth. Paul Henderson helped out and has blogged the session here. read more »