Thursday, 20 October 2011

It’s all about community

In the past week I’ve attended 2 great professional gatherings - the EMCC London Network & the ConnectingHR Unconference.

Although quite different in overall focus, both have challenged the conventions of most professional networks by following 4 simple principles :
  • Volunteer led
  • The community itself creates the agenda
  • The community networks to learn and develop
  • Inclusive regardless of professional affiliations or experience
What I’m struck by is the level & quality of engagement such principles creates :
  • Communities that welcome and support everyone involved.
  • Loads of really great content and ideas shared and discussed.
  • Great debate about real issues being experienced by business.
  • No grandstanding or ego.  No sales pitches.  No sponsors looking for a financial return.

Isn’t this what we all want from a professional network or conference?  Makes you wonder why we go to all the trouble and expense of some of the more expensive corporate conferences doesn’t it...

Perhaps putting community centre stage is more important to professional development than most organisations realise.  What do you think?

Stuck in the Playground?

I know many of us are trying to get our heads around social media.  However, I think that to a great extent whatever you do in this space is a reflection of who you are now and how you choose to behave in real life.

Recently I’ve seen a few posts on Twitter either openly maligning people or shouting out unfollows.  These have ranged from the curious “Did you press the wrong button?” (yeah, right!) to the outright aggressive or rude.  @naturalgrump also wrote an excellent blog recently on his experiences of rudeness - “Some people are just rude”.

Are you Stuck in the Playground?
Those of us who want to behave like adults, probably take the mature & respectful approach.  Where there is no relationship forming or we are just not interested in what is being said then we probably unfollow, disconnect, walk away.  It’s not personal, just rational.  Sometimes we make mistakes but we try to learn, develop and improve.

On the other hand, if you think social media is about being king of the playground then the mature approach won’t be attractive will it? You’ll probably want to accumulate the most connections or followers; shout out as loudly as you can so that only you can be heard; and even pick on those who don’t follow you. You’re still stuck in the playground, desperately trying to be king of the castle.  Feels like a lonely place to me...

Find your meaning
The word social comes from the latin socius, generally meaning sharing, associated, allied, partner, comrade, associate, ally.  This is how I aspire to engage – in life and with social media.  Abuse, rudeness and playground antics will never feature.

How about you?

Wednesday, 12 October 2011


I wrote a blog that I’m particularly proud of.  It was from the heart.  It was in response to prejudice & ignorance.  I had hoped it might educate.

I think the people who know me professionally would have appreciated it.  Those who know me personally would have seen me & my life in all of the words.

It will never be published.  The reason is that someone who matters to me asked me not to.

I had discussed it with them first and I’m ever so glad that they appreciated what I had written.  In asking for their opinion, I had implicitly agreed to respect their wishes if they didn't want it published.  It was an unspoken commitment for me to keep.

So what?
I have plenty of blog drafts (don’t we all?) but this one was different...

The process of writing that unpublished blog was cathartic.  My frustration with the ignorant will dissipate.  Sometimes we need to find therapeutic ways of dealing with such things.

That blog had an audience of 1 and the best feedback I will ever have.  The joy of blogging for me is in the sharing of yourself and the conversation it creates not the number of people who read it.

When we ask for opinion or feedback we create spoken & unspoken commitments.  We ignore these at our peril and detriment.  Respecting and keeping to those commitments build stronger relationships.

Would love to hear your stories of the unpublished, the therapeutic and the  unspoken commitments we create with our blogs.