Monday, 29 July 2013

Social media and the workplace - sorting the wheat from the chaff

'The bottom line: the most important impact of social media technologies comes from who — and what — they empower, not just the information they exchange. Do organizations appreciate and understand that these tools put them in the "empowerment" and not just the "better communications" business?'

I think Michael is right about this so long as you 'get it' in the first place.  For lots of people that I speak to in the workplace, social media still feels optional and peripheral to day-to-day activity.  Sometimes this seems to feel like a binary choice between meeting or not meeting a work-based goal or, more often, just a perceived lack of relevance because of the unfocused nature of what's being posted by others. 

Sorting the wheat from the chaff

In my experience, it takes just a little bit of self-organisation and experimentation to sort the 'wheat from the chaff'.  These are the practical things that I do. I've sorted them into things I do to  find information and then another set of things that I do to make sense of what I've found.  

Finding information

  1. Bookmarking websites and blogs that are relevant to my interests
  2. Building my connections on LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter, SlideShare
  3. Reading what others are posting on LinkedIn, etc 
  4. Subscribing to aggregator email lists and RSS feeds
  5. Joining and contributing to special interest groups on LinkedIn and other public or private networks

Sense-making, learning and sharing

  1. Collating/aggregating a regular digest for others to read
  2. Clipping articles and web pages using Evernote.  
  3. Making brief notes on Evernote to remind me of points of interest, to which I can refer at a later date
  4. Keeping a paper notebook to hand to note down anything of interest from what I am reading, or doing or observing
  5. Blogging to help organise thoughts and ideas
  6. Microblogging on Twitter or LinkedIn to signpost useful hints and tips for others to use
  7. SlideShare to present ideas in more depth.  My SlideShare presentation about the NODES model of conversational learning and social collaboration describes the process of Network.  

Image courtesy of a Czech tourism site

Sunday, 7 July 2013

NODES model of conversational learning and social collaboration

It’s all about networks. Understanding networks that is. This is the shift our organizations, institutions, and society must make in order to thrive in an always-on, interconnected world.
This is a quote from Harold Jarche’s blogpost It’s all about networks in 2012.

What people like Harold Jarche are doing through their work is noticing what’s happening, taking seriously what it is they are noticing, thinking critically and sharing publicly.  This capacity to share learning and enrich both their thinking and others is of great value.  


This capacity and willingness to share is connected to Ubuntu, from African culture, and roughly speaking translates as – my humanity is your humanity or I in you and you in me.  To have Ubuntu is to have a generosity of spirit that understands our interconnectedness and acts for the benefit of all.    

NODES model of conversational learning and social collaboration

I’ve developed the NODES learning model to help me make sense of how learning in networks happens. 

The model does not give preference to any particular method of learning per se.  What’s critical to learning in a networked world is participation; connecting ourselves and our individual ideas with our network.


In the model I am using the word network in two senses.  Firstly, network as a noun within which we participate as nodes, i.e. a central or connecting point at which lines or pathways intersect or branch.  Secondly, network as a verb in which the focus is on the work  of connecting and operating within a network.

So, participation is the key and the network as I see it is about:

  • making connections between ideas and action.  To think critically, reflect and join the dots
  • collaborating with others through free-flowing conversations and information sharing
  • generating energy from making connections to people, ideas and information
  • using feedback from actions to drive individual and social reflection and new ideas
Follow the link to a SlideShare presentation summary of the NODES model and its influencing ideas

NODES – beta version

This model is emergent and has evolved through my own learning interests. It is still a beta version despite several interactions already.  It has been deepened through a number of informal conversations with friends and colleagues, for which thanks.  It has been enriched by the generosity of spirit shown by those who have shared their ideas, many of whom I have never met.   This process continues and your comments and feedback are welcomed and encouraged.
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