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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Reality comes crashing in

One of the perils of pseudo-corporate blogging, as I see it, is the damage you can do to your company. Blogging seems to me to be a personal thing.

When a company or organisation comes along and tries to blog it often jars. Possibly because, however much our marketing and branding departments try to anthropomorphise, a company isn't a human and you can't empathise with it.

There is also a social experiment going on here which we, the lab rats (or beagles if you are that way inclined), don't understand or grasp. Whether the altruistic spirit of collaboration in web 2.0 (or whatever you want to call it) will continue or whether it will be exploited remains unclear. Although as a cynic I know which side my money is on...

The advice on blogging I have garnered so far appears to be:
1. Be honest
2. Be brief
3. Be interesting
4. Connect things (either ideas, people or content)

For a nice summary from a more experienced blogger than I click here - thanks to Tony Karrer

I am blogging for the reasons listed below. But also, as the managing director of a major UK outsourced training provider (click here if you're interested) I should like this to be beneficial to my company, my clients and my staff. I hope that wasn't too overt a plug.

One of the things I am struggling with at the moment is how to introduce web 2.0 in a beneficial way to my company. We have created forums for our instructors which are open to everyone but they were only launched last week so I'd wait a bit before going to look. I will be running training courses for all my staff on how to use Google properly, how to set up RSS feeds, how to use Linked In etc etc once I have found someone to deliver it.

At the moment I am not sure I know which way web 2.0 and learning 2.0 are going to go. Only that I am fairly sure that it will have a major impact on our industry. Which is precisely the opposite to what I felt in the first wave of Internet hype.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Two steps backwards

It is quite difficult to deal with the fact that while you were otherwise engaged the world has run off and left you behind.

But it is quite staggering to me how much is now out there. I have been feeling my way like a drunken man in the dark trying not to trip over the cat or bring the wardrobe crashing down on me.

In the last few days I have developed a number of new skills. Tony Karrer suggested in his presentation (referenced above) that the audience's Google skills might not be as strong as they thought. Now I had always thought that I was a fairly competent searcher of things...

Then I typed "How to use Google" into the search bar and found out how wrong I was. Then I set myself up a Google account and shared a document with a couple of co-workers. Much more efficient collaboration than the traditional emailing files backwards and forwards.

Now I have set up Google Reader to pick up some RSS feeds but I think I'm still in the shallow end on this one. As I have only really gone about 6 clicks or so beyond the initial blogs I was reading.

I am saving de.licio.us for later in the week as I think my brain might explode. Although I did read this item by Michele Martin: Using Del.icio.us to Create an Easy, Always Updated Online Portfolio, which, if I'm honest probably added rather than lessened my apprehension.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Come on in, the water's lovely...

I don't know the first thing about blogging. But I suppose an admission of ignorance is a good thing in the learning world. Nonetheless I am still worried about making a complete fool of myself or more importantly the company that I run.

So, why am I doing this?

Well, I recently went to the ASTD Conference in San Diego at which the conversations about Learning 2.0 made me feel firmly dinosaur-like (to view handouts from the conference click here). I have an innate reaction against blogging as it strikes me as egocentric and attention seeking - why would anyone actually want to read what I have to say? But I was struck by a number of people at the event who appear to use blogging as part of their cognitive thought process (I should nod to Tony Karrer who is the metaphorical midwife to my idea). Essentially think out loud and in public and deal with the reaction. Take risks and be prepared to change.

The process is recognisable to any learning professional. Try, fail, think, test, learn, apply. It is just that the boundaries or the context have changed. Other people can hear you think. If I try to think about this too hard, my head starts to hurt and I wonder how long before we start to inhabit a Philip K Dick novel.

This is SO different from the learning world I was brought up in that I thought the only way to understand this great social experiment is to take part. So I will do my best to post my thoughts about learning, organisational management and occasionally life.