Sunday, May 23, 2010

My Struggle

First of all, thanks to everyone who made comments on my last post. I really appreciate that. Second of all, I want to be up front with anyone who may be reading this. I am struggling with this blog. I am busy, sure, but that has never stopped me before from following through on something I committed to. However, if there is something that I cannot rectify in my own mind and heart, then I tend to wait, and think and contemplate the dilemma until I can find a solution. If there is no solution that I can find, sometimes I just stand still. To me, integrity is very important. I need to believe in something in order to stand behind it. I am struggling with what I believe in, regarding this challenge to the collective, this project, and my blog.

As stated at the beginning, I am NOT a social media advocate. I do not have (nor like the idea of) a Facebook account. I don't really "get" Twitter, and to be 100% honest, would prefer to disconnect from my computer, not be tied more closely to it. What inspired me to start this up was that talk I wrote about weeks ago and the speaker's talking about the concept of the collective working together toward a common purpose.

I do work in eLearning, so thought that finding a way to tap the collective knowledge and find new and innovative ways create learning opportunities for clients would be a worthwhile pursuit. Howevever, I learned very quickly that this is not how "the challenge" is going to work. What is actually going to happen is I will need to have a project, through networking find people with expertise who can give me advice, and then I can go and create some form of solution. I already do that in my work - network, get ideas, find solutions. What I was wanting was something greater.

Bradly (the one who started this all for me in the first place), just wrote in a comment attached to my last post that, "It's a big world and you are just getting started. Lot's of conversations to be had." I believe that. I believe there IS a way to tap the collective (and maybe report back what I found in a blog). However, if it is going to need to be driven by me, then I need a more inspiring question. My passion is NOT technology. I see it as a tool that can help people in many ways. I also see it as a barrier. As we add more and more forms of technology into our lives we become burdened by needing to ensure we remain connected to it all. Sure, updates from Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, website RSS feeds, email, etc. etc. can all come
to my Blackberry, but I still need to log in to my various accounts, to access the information. It feels like a waste of my time, and only adds stress as the hours connected to the "real world" through my computer screen overshadow time I spend actually IN the real world.

I see value in some ways, but have not bought in. I am not even sure that I ever would want to. You see, this is my struggle. It is exciting and immensely valuable to be able to access instant connection with people around the globe. I see the power the internet and other mobile communication devices provide. I see that we CAN connect, share stories and information and ideas. However, if I need to drive it, monitor multiple accounts and spend extra hours I would rather spend in nature or spending time with family and friends, then I need to think long and hard about if the benefits outweigh the costs.

I am still inspired by the concepts I mentioned in my first post. I know the collective is out there-a powerful, wise, creative force! However, if I need to be the driver of the discussion in the mini-world of my own blog, then I need to have a question I more strongly believe in. I just don't intent to become a researcher of and expert in social media and report back to my blog about what I find. That, just does not inpire...

So, I may be quiet over here, but I am musing. Musing about what is truly worth connecting over. I also need to find out how TO connect, rather than just post reports on online. Collective - many of us together, working together, musing together, learning together. I will figure it out and when I do, I will let you know. I will keep you posted! ;)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

3 Days and Counting

After 3 days, I figured I should post an update about where things are at with this whole experiment. First of all, I would like to thank everyone who has read the blog so far. I have received many comments behind the scenes from people wishing to congratulate me on my new venture and to throw in a few cents for me to think about. I really appreciate it and am surprised by how many people have already popped by!

Interestingly enough, however, the comments all related in some way to the fact that the responder doesn't have an answer to the question I posed to "the collective", but that they are eager to read more about what I find out. I find a couple of things interesting about that:

1) Blogs (if I am understanding their purpose correctly, which I may very well not be) are meant to be collaborative. However, to be collaborative, others need to be willing to jump into the mix and publicly claim their own thoughts, beliefs, perceptions or areas of uncertainty alongside mine.

2) If it is true that the answer to any question is found in the collective (not just within any 1 or 2 wise people in the collective), then it seems that the collective would need to somehow share whatever knowledge they do have with each other. Through that process, in some magical way which I am as of yet uncertain about, this may bring out wisdom the group holds as a whole. After all, interacting with "the collective" is the entire point of this exercise!

I don't have the answers. However, I am putting it out there, albeit to a very small collective until I learn how to reach more, that "I have nothing" (yet another reference to the presentation Bradley Shende gave a small group of us last week). "I have nothing", but sure would love it if someone would join me in that claim and set out on this journey of discovery with me. Maybe together, with our shared ideas, we could have a small bit of something and we could build from there.

Again, thanks for reading. This has already been a journey and it has only just begun!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Next Day

Well, I set up the blog and Twitter account and linked them to my LinkedIn account. Then, in true low-tech fashion, emailed the link to a few people in my address book. Then I sat there staring at my computer screen wondering, "Now what?" (I have no idea).

I guess I could start my research for a way to incorporate social media into training programs. I read some sites and reviewed some PPTs that listed pages of types of social media and all manner of new buzz words (new to me I guess), but I did not find anything about how to actually use this in a meaningful way. I am sure it is out there, but I haven't found anything so far.

Recap: I now have a blog, a Twitter account and a LinkedIn account. Instead of feeling more connected, I feel a bit annoyed that I now seem to need to have 3 browser windows open to access information in three different places. I must be missing something...

Questions in no particular order:
- What types of terms should I be "tagging" in my blog posts?
- How is # used in "Twitter tweets"?
- What is this "mashup" I heard about on Thursday night?
- I wondering if anyone is "listening" and if they will answer my call...

Saturday, April 24, 2010

My Challenge to the Collective

Welcome! You are here! I am here. Why are we here? Good question. I want to know the same thing; that is what I am here to discover.

This past Thursday, I was fortunate to attend an event sponsored by my networking group of Vancouver learning professionals. Bradley Shende, CEO of MEDIA2O (M2O), chatted with us about how he and his team are using social media to share information with the masses in a quick and inexpensive manner (and how this relates to possibilities in training).

In short, I was inspired – inspired by what he told us has been done, inspired by what he told us could be done, inspired to learn more about this whole area of life that I know next to nothing about.

As soon as I got home, I explored some writing I did about 8 years ago about why I got into eLearning in the first place. I wrote as part of my application to a Masters in Educational Technology degree program, "I did not always have this fascination for technology, but as times changed, so did I." Ironic, considering that aside from a brief foray into the Facebook
phenomenon, I have consciously resisted almost all forms of social media. I text. I email. I phone... sometimes, but that is it. It seems that this time, the times have changed but I did not.

So, here I am-ready for an experiment in social media. As an instructional designer working with large, corporate clients, my goal is to help them find the most effective ways to train their staff. If "80% of the money organizations commit to training is used for formal learning, but 80-90% of learning actually takes place informally" (Jay Cross reference), and if social media is one of the main ways people are communicating and sharing information today, then I would like to find a way to use social media effectively in corporate learning programs.

Some believe that the answers to all questions can be found in the collective. So, to the collective, I pose this challenge:
Let us find a way to showcase effective corporate learning in action using social media and technology to its best advantage (but we've got to keep costs and development time down too). Anyone with me?