The Inexorable March in the Quantification of Me

Jawbone MoveAt just over five and a half hours, i only achieved 84% of my sleep target last night, and the sleep that I had was disrupted. On the plus side, my 11,628 steps smashed the 10,000 step milestone. Nearly ten kilometres walked burnt over 600 calories, which is no bad thing considering the volume of apple strudel we consumed in the meeting.

In parallel with all this physical and metabolic activity, my Google Glass told me where to go and then took photos when i got there. It even helped me share the narrative on the way. The weather, in case you’re interested, was largely sunny, and i felt good. Smiley Face.

Quantified Self

My performance, it appears, is thoroughly quantified. And shared with a qualitative interpretation.

The emergence of wearable technology is transforming the quantification of me. The first step was connectivity: the always on internet. The perpetual connection to notifications. The second step was miniaturisation and the democratisation of sensors and capture. The inclusion of GPS and cameras in everything. The final step was interpretation and community: taking the technical data and creating meaning out of it. Using it to get me to do something: chiding and inciting, encouraging and providing feedback.

The technology is maturing fast: the people who question the viability of Google Glass are missing the point. This is just the first step. Wearable technology will transform every aspect of everything we do.

Quantified Self

It will geolocate and contextualise information depending upon who you are with, where you are and what you are doing.

It will help you achieve that thing you are doing by both pulling in new information and letting you share your story as you learn.

It will move us from formal, abstract, old world models of learning to ‘on demand‘ learning and performance support fit for the Social Age.

It will ground our learning in facts of performance and support us in changing those facts.

And it will do all of this under the radar, changing the world before we even realise it’s in motion.

The Jawbone Move that i’m using this week incorporates some of the best features of community and technology, game dynamics and choreography that i’ve been working on these last few years.

The experience is total quality: it doesn’t send me ‘push notifications‘ or emails, but rather engages me through dynamic feedback, micro rewards and links to appropriate deeper knowledge. It uses community to both support and spur me on. Most organisations could learn more from playing with this $50 toy than they would learn from a year of strategic navel gazing.

It’s rapidly iterating, willing to learn and, most important, meaningful to me.

Today, there are virtually no applications of wearable technology outside of specialists and explorers. Today, there’s a community that uses Google Glass to provide real time close captioning subtitles for deaf users. Transformative. There are communities using it to narrate surgery and share the learning globally. Many people are using the tech to support exercise and activity. But not many applications in work.

At work, we tend to use technology as infrastructure, to get information to people, and for assessing them. Not much in the way of facilitation.

But tomorrow, that will change. Over the next two years we will start to see innovation and application: the technology is cheaper and more accessible, more interconnected than every. Not mature, but maturing.

JawboneIn five years, everything will have changed. That’s not a bold statement, it’s conservative. As around your office: who has a smartphone? Everyone. Who is wearing a FitBit or Jawbone, Garmin or Nike fuel band? Not everyone, but some. The march is inexorable.

It’s our role to explore: to think. To try things out. The Social Age is about iterative learning and a willingness to question everything. To humbly share our success and failure and learn together. Cynicism and denial are not differentiating behaviours.

The technology will not transform us: our curiosity will. So let’s get curious together.

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Friends Forever?

We were in a conversation today about establishing communities when Laura reminded me about ‘Friendship Books‘. A thing of our childhood, before the days of t’internet, the premise was this: a book, made of actual paper, where you wrote a page about yourself. You put your address, your phone number and a little bit about you, then posted or gave it to a friend. They did the same and passed it on. In time, the chains grew longer, and as they did so, you could browse through second, third and fourth degrees of separation. And if you liked the look of someone, you could write to them and make friends.

Forever Friends

Happy days, and yet how much has really changed. Today, communities sit at the heart of the Social Age: we curate our communities as we go. But many of the principles that were there with friendship books remain: we are investing trust, we are taking leaps of faith around identity, we are disclosing things personal to us in the hope we find shared values, shared purpose. The mechanics of community have changed less than we may think, even if today the dynamics are facilitated by technology and not postage stamps.

Communities do not grow by accident: they are nurtured or driven, by desire or need. They are not purposeless and, without being given purpose, they cannot thrive.

So the day spent looking at how we establish organisational communities, whilst forward facing, was strangely reflective. Put value in the people, not the technology, was the message i took from it.

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Developing a Model for the Choreography of Learning

Yesterday i explored choreography for learning in the Social Age: it’s really a call to arms, a recognition that we need to adapt, away from the old notions of learning being ‘done‘ to people, towards more co-creative, scaffolded, social models. Facilitated by technology, engaging by design, not by accident.

A model for Choreography in Learning

Today i want to present two sketches around this, both still in development. The first is a model for Choreography: it looks at three aspects. PROGRAMMING, which is about the context and casting of the learning. it’s about the design and positioning. POSTURE, which is about the way it is executed, and PERFORMANCE, which is about the experience as it’s lived.

Bear in mind that the purpose of Choreographing learning is to deliver an integrated, paced, seamless experience. It’s about designing and delivering total quality. It’s about the way we introduce, deliver and support the learner throughout.

Programming is about setting expectations, but doing so using innovative and effective techniques: viewing this as part of the overall total learning experience, not just something done by email. The roles we cast, the ways we communicate, the contract we set up with delegates and participants. The way expectations are set and the ways we meet them. Total quality.

Posture is about the way we execute this: the tone of voice used, the ways we create the spaces and permissions needed, the ways we establish and support communities. It’s about how we choose and use narrative styles. It’s about total quality.

Performance is about the lived experience: about the ways the learning is delivered in a Social Age style, truly iterative, fluid, with tempo and momentum. The movement between formal and social spaces, the use of community, the permission and execution of co-creative elements. It’s about how complete the experience is, where the gaps are and how we plug them. It’s about total quality, through design, not by accident.

The second sketch puts this into more of a timeline, the elements of choreography and how we do things before, during and after the formal parts of the learning. It includes practical elements of things we may do.

Elements of Choreography

Before the learning starts (the PROGRAMMING part of choreography) we may use posters, teasers, trailers. What we can learn from films, music or entertainment. We are aiming for magnetism and viral quality. We need to offer clear invitations, clear permissions to engage, set clear contexts for what to expect and what is expected of you.

During, we need well managed co-creative experiences. We have to support the community. We need to adapt and iterate, listening to what the community says as it writes it’s co-created story. We have to maintain tempo.

After, we may need to actively close communities down, rather than simply letting them wither, or transition them to new spaces. We again want to learn from other industries: reviews, critiques, post performance reviews.

This is all a work in progress: my aim is to provide a framework for Choreography in learning that sits alongside the Learning Methodology and Scaffolded Social Learning work. An overall mindset an approach, with practical tools and guidance to achieve this. It’s all about #WorkingOutLoud.

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Choreography: by design, not by accident

There are many written languages: French, English, German, Russian, each with a proud heritage and some common roots, their own nuances of meaning and intonation. Some share common alphabets, such as our own Roman one, whilst others use different strokes of the brush: cyrillic, Thai script, Mandarin. Our own languages are living, evolving, whilst others, like latin, are said to be dead: fossilised between the strata of old school textbooks and medical jargon.

Choreography

The ancient Egyptians used hieroglyphs, often direct representations of meaning, but all written text has an aesthetic, even representational quality. To me, Thai script flows and curves, a softness and organic origin that somehow fits the culture. Russian cyrillic script is harder, more angular: it somehow seems to capture the sense of an industrial and hard cast heritage. Long harsh winters and queues for bread. Of course, these perceptions are culturally defined, as i barely notice the aesthetics of my own and most familiar alphabet.

We talk about font ‘foundries‘, reminiscent of the places where iron ore is crushed, baked, refined and hammered into shape: a legacy i guess of times when fonts were quite literally cast in iron. Or carved in wood at any rate. The Dutch have a strong heritage in founding fonts: some from as early as the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. In our own alphabet, we are spoilt for choice, with innumerable fonts available, from the much maligned ‘comic sans‘ to the more dignified Helvetica, which i notice has a film just out in tribute of it’s austere effectiveness.

We often think of written languages as capturing words and committing them to paper, but that’s not all they can do. There are other written languages too, serving different purposes. Electrical diagrams are a form of language, with their own grammar, alphabet and structure. They are drawn according to rules. Music too has it’s own notation: lines, curves, notes as capturing and committing the sounds to paper.

And dance: dance has a language too, the language of choreography.

It was a surprise to me when i first realised this, i suppose because i’d never thought about it. I never made the connection between dancers on the stage, dynamic performances created in the moment, and the written language that captures those moves for posterity, to train the next generation. But there it is: represented by it’s own unique alphabet, it’s own punctuation and grammar, it’s own tone of voice. The movement of the human body embodied in text.

The relationship between language and performance is fascinating: language creates a series of frames for performance to occur within. Two dancers can work to the same choreography, yet deliver two entirely different performances. Similarly, two people can read the same piece of poetry, and yet fail to deliver the same engagement: just listen to Dylan Thomas reading his texts in a monotone that nevertheless represents the meaning in more ways that simple words convey.

The facets of music that we use in communication

The facets of music that we use in communication

Language captures meaning, but it’s the intonation, tempo, voice and delivery that creates the colour and nuance. Similarly, the notation of dance may create the spaces, but it’s the performance, in the moment, that creates the magic.

But magic there is: why choreography, you may ask?

It’s a word i use a lot, because in the Social Age, we need to focus not simply on the text, on the written language, on the frames, but rather on the choreography and performance.

Of everything.

Engagement used to be assured, because we owned peoples time and effort. In the old world, we told them what was good for them and when to do it. Most organisational learning works like this.

Ecosystem of the Social Age 2015

But in the Social Age, our experiences are discretionary: we make choices, we have more choices. So the performance needs to be better. It’s not enough to simply create the frames, instead we have to deliver great experiences. Experiences that are meaningful, that help people to be better, to do better, that help organisations to be agile, to adapt, to change.

The choreography of learning and change in the Social Age is holistic and all inclusive, and runs from start to finish. It’s the equivalent of the very best retail or entertainment experience and it’s that good by design, not accident.

If you’ve ever bought an iPad in and Apple store, you’ll know this: they choreograph everything. Giving you the product on the shop floor, taking you to a table, where they ask you to open it, letting you unwrap and unveil it, letting you peel away each sequential layer of packaging, each designed to deliver both an aesthetic and tactile experience. They don’t just pull it out of the box themselves to complete the setup, which would be quicker, because they recognise the importance of choreography.

Many experiences we have everyday are choreographed: from a visit to the theatre or a music gig to our trip to the supermarket, but some are more successful than others.

Great choreography does not happen by accident: it’s an act of design and rehearsal.

So consider this; the elements of great choreography.

We need authentic communication: not writing by committee. And we need it to embed ‘relationship‘ values, not simply transactional ones.

Every element of learning should be choreographed: the very first email you receive, the invitation, logging into a system for the first time, arriving at a venue, submitting work, taking assessments, rehearsing, sharing, joining communities, creating narratives, finishing courses, being supported, every single part of this journey needs to be mapped out, sequenced, designed, choreographed.

And not just choreographed, but agile too: designed now, but adapted for later. That’s how it works with performance: it’s evolutionary.

Regular readers will know that i’m a huge Flaming Lips fan, the Oklahoma indie band on a seemingly perpetual world tour. Last night, the lead singer, Wayne Coyne, tweeted that they’d done what he considered to be their best ever rendition of ‘Do You Realise‘. The best ever. A song they must have played a thousand times, yet this time, this performance, had somehow evolved, had somehow resonated on a whole new level.

How much of this pride, this achievement, this choreography and performance factors into our mindset around learning?

Plan everything: because everything forms part of the performance.

The very first emails we send to delegates shouldn’t read like a set of instructions: rather, they should be an invitation to adventure.

Look at how films choreography the experience. I saw a poster for a new film starting Dwayne ‘The Rock‘, Johnson. In the poster, he’s sporting a helmet, sat in a helicopter, wearing a uniform, clearly an emergency service worker. In the background, skyscrapers catch fire and crumble and a women can be seen running, holding the hand of a child. The film is called ‘San Andreas‘. And from that alone, i get everything i need to know.

I can literally see the film playing out: Dwayne with his family, off to work with a kiss on the cheek, flying over the city when the earthquake strikes. The desperate search for his family, the acrobatics and fires, the moment of loss, the final resolution. You can be pretty sure the kid survives.

Contrast that with how we usually choreography learning: on Tuesday you are required to attend training in this room, at this time. Wear this. Complete this first. Buy a cheap ticket to get there. Do it because we tell you to.

When you arrive, it’s coffee, biscuits and someone with a PowerPoint presentation. Does anyone believe that that’s good enough?

Choreography is about not just the transactional movement, but rather about the performance. Every aspect of communication and experience. Why? Not because we are trying to create a blockbuster, but rather because we are striving for engagement, for attention, to create an environment for learning.

Learning has changed: in the Social Age, it’s about co-creation, about joint ownership of the message, about creating spaces and permissions for rehearsal and performance. Learning is spread out over time, surrounded by community, supported by technology and tools, delivered when we need it, where we need it.

It’s not longer enough to create it once and deliver it many times: rather we need to create the structure, but co-create the experience each and every time, through performance in the moment. Through great choreography and authentic performance.

Take a look at the BASF Creator Space: it’s about collaboration. A public facing space for you to join industry experts and co-create a story and solutions to society wide problems. It’s a curated space, semi formal, but outside the direct control of the organisation. It provides structure and permission to engage. It’s still about learning, still about development, very much about change, but it’s presented in a very Social Age way: not learning against a formal curriculum, not learning ‘delivered‘ or ‘done‘ to people, but rather an open and honest dialogue.

We can learn from this: one of the core skills of the Social Age is questioning. Question everything. Uninhibited curiosity to ask ‘why?‘. We don’t have to design learning like we used to and, indeed, if we want engagement, if we want to effect change, we can’t design learning like we used to, because it simply won’t work.

Uninhibited curiosity

Similarly, if we want the organisation to be agile, we have to design in that agility: we have to choreograph the experience and make it excellent. It won’t happen by accident, it will only happen through careful design, through prototyping, through rehearsal and constant adaptation.

I’ve talked before about the evolving roles of Learning and IT: the need for them to become facilitating. This is what it means. It’s not about designing solutions once and delivering them many times, but rather about creating spaces, choreographing experiences and producing multiple narratives as they play out, then using those narratives to learn ourselves. Evolution over time, facilitated by the learners as much as by the organisation.

Organisational Dinosaurs: IT and Learning

There are many languages, but it’s the poet that creates the image in our mind, it’s the dancer who actually performs. Structure and language alone won’t deliver what we need: choreography and performance of every element, at every level, is what will make us agile, what will make us effective.

It’s what we need to do to be fit for the Social Age.

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Performance Enhancement: gadgets, gizmos and GoPros

Austria is not far away, but somehow the journey takes me longer than it does to get to Singapore. It’s not down to any inefficiency in the Swiss Train network, which offered a profuse apology for the one minute delay, but more likely down to my circuitous route and last minute planning. However that circular route and ‘just in time‘ booking gave me an incredibly cheap holiday. How? Not because i’m a great travel planner, but rather because of the host of sites dedicated to finding me the best deal: performance in the moment, enhanced by thoughtful technology. It’s the nature of the Social Age. I can decide to go skiing, then just go skiing. Barely any planning required.

Performance Enhancement skiing

But that was just the start: being willing and able to use the technology and free enough to jump at the last minute got me to the mountains, but once there, the fun really started.

Social Learning is not just something we do at work: it’s how we live our lives. Connected, enhanced, collaborative, captured, curated, shared.

Julian SkiingWhen i learnt to ski, you went to ‘ski school‘ and slipped down a slope all week with a dozen strangers. Today, learning to ski is a radically different affair: quantified, democratised, shared, supported and gamified.

Let’s start with the gadgets, the wearables. I opted not to use Google Glass, not because of any privacy fears, but rather because you need full goggles to stop your eyes watering and being dazzled. Instead, Oakley make a ski mask with ‘Head Up‘ display, showing you your speed, distance travelled and even messages from friends further down the slope. Quantified performance. Arguments apres ski about whether Paul really hit 60mph.

The GoPro camera, rugged and cheap, controlled by remote tied to my glove, captured video, stills and bursts as i followed my friends down the mountain. We used it to analyse and critique each others performance, huddled around the iPad at the end of the day. And to capture our greatest moments! For Ed, only 12 years old, this is normal: capturing video, producing compilations, sharing them socially. I’m amazed the ski instructors don’t use it for a premium service: video your performance and talk it through, as any pro sportsperson would.

Before we left, Paul, wanting to learn to carve, had reviewed and shared YouTube videos, learning nuances of how to put pressure on the downhill ski, learning from the generosity of others. No money involved, just the social reputation awarded to those who produced the best videos.

Ski TracksOn my phone, the Ski Tracks app runs all day: it provides a lot of data, from a complete breakdown of runs, analysed by kilometre, to max speed, distance an altitude. All this can be shared, all compared. You can even export it into Google Maps to see your route plotted out on a 3d image of the mountain (although in Google Earth there is no snow: you ski through sunlight fields and forests!).

The App itself replaces the old fold out ski maps that used to tear and flop limply as they got more dog eared and damp throughout the day.

At a simple level the technology let our community of friends remain loosely connected throughout the day: if someone went off, we could arrange to meet, share our location, reconnect at will.

The significance of this? Bear in mind that skiing is a purely social and sporting activity: but we’ve enhanced our performance and it costs next to nothing to do. Using technology to capture data, using community to interpret the data, learning from the interpretation and the support (and competition and challenge) of the community. The technology enables us to be better, with no external curriculum or set of rules. We just figure it out as a community.

Ski TracksPaul and I spent time discussing whether Endomondo or Ski Tracks was the best App: for me, on an iPhone, Ski Tracks was superb, but on his Android phone it was a disaster. This is the evolutionary marketplace of technology: judged on performance and feedback from the community, In the end, he used his Garmin GPS and i used Ski Tracks. We got the same data through different devices: a devolved and democratised ecosystem of technology, decided by the user. Contrast this with organisations trying to own and dictate choices and technologies.

This type of performance enhancement isn’t tied to the ski slope: next month, one of our friends in the police will be fitted with her wearable camera. Indeed, every officer in the county will wear one: rugged tech, always on.

It’s not the pervasive nature of technology that counts, indeed, it’s not the technology itself, but rather what we do with it. The ways our behaviours change: we took turns to be ‘cameraman‘, filming each other. We huddled together to review performance. We provided critical feedback on each others videos. We created games and competitions based on quantified data: speed and distance.

Organisations need to adapt more than just their technology to be fit for the Social Age: they need a mindset for change, a mindset for performance enhancement and a willingness to let the community find it’s way. In a democratised ecosystem, it’s the community that will find the best solutions: our job is to facilitate this, not control it.

The goal is a win for everyone: people better able to perform, to perform better, to be more effective, and it’s within our grasp. Indeed, it’s often just our systems, and processes that get in the way. Change IT to be facilitating, change learning to be performance enhancing. Move beyond viewing ‘quantification‘ as something to organisations does to staff towards it being something we use to learn, to perform.

It’s a mindset change to make the organisation fit for the Social Age.

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Voices

Whispering in the wind, echoing through hallways, buzzing like an angry fly down a bad phone line or whispered tenderly late at night. Voices of purpose and intent, voices that implore or beg us to take action, bullying or directive voices, enchanting and beautiful ones. Voices in our own language or foreign ones, lilting or harsh, rounded or full. Our world is full of voices and each of us plays with many different ones as we make our journey.

Voices

Have you ever wondered how it is that you can hear a voice at all? If you’re sat in an office or on a busy train, your ears hear everything: it’s a jumble of sound. Like when you first enter a foreign country: all language is unintelligible. But our attention is a clever thing: not a fantasy, but a neurological miracle. It lets us pick out the voice we want to hear, tuning through the static like an old radio set, focusing itself upon the one voice we care about and damping the others down. That damping occurs in your head, not in the real world.

GraffitiAnd attention is the thing we crave: what makes you prick up your ears when you hear a song you like? What lets you pick out the right messages from the noise? It’s partly about how loud the message it broadcast, but largely it’s about the voice that’s used: the style and stance, the tone of voice.

We can use voices with purpose: directive, clear, unambiguous. We often aim to instil action and imperative with clear voices. We give instructions, clear call to arms. Voices of purpose can be welcome, or can divide. We must be aware of the risks: we may not share purpose and command is only one style (often countered in the Social Age by magnetism).

Graffiti - Grab every moment you can and head for the doorOur voice is part of us: it’s unique, as unique as your fingerprint. Not just our accent, but the ways we breathe, the words we use, the phrases, the metaphor and analogy. The times we choose to speak out or keep quiet. If you’re not speaking out, you’re condoning the action. Cliche? No: sometimes our voice is all we have to fight back with.

Voices have personality: not just written ones of course, because a voice is more than just sound. The voice is what sits behind the mere sounds: you can communicate with words, spoken or written, but also through dance, through movement, through art, through music. We have voices in each of these spaces, even though it may take us a lifetime to truly find them. I found it with painting: it took me years to find my own voice, not simply to copy others, and even then, it keeps evolving. You find your own dialect, your own style.

Voices contribute to community, but the community itself is increasingly seen to have a voice: why is this? Maybe because we are so agile around communities now. Don’t like what you hear? Deselect yourself! Because communities, especially subversive communities, form so fast, it’s easy to hear them speak in a coherent voice, even if that voice is just shouting ‘NO‘.

The messages we hear may be simple or complex: many voices shouting in the marketplace. Sometimes we don’t know which voice to listen to or, worse, we are unable to hear the voice at all, lost at sea, lost in noise. Easy to happen these days as technology amplifies all voices, not just the ones we want to hear. Voices are expressive, creative: we share our first stories, our poems, shyly, tentatively, but slowly build confidence, built coherence, built energy until we burst forth and shout.

Solidarity

Our voices, when we have that confidence, are authentic: authenticity being the hold grail. Organisations often want authentic voices without putting the hard work in first. Authenticity is earned and awarded, not bought or developed by volume alone.

Too many voices can cause confusion: sometimes the greatest wisdom lies in silence, in reflection. Waiting, thinking, reflecting until we are able to utter that one word, the simple ones, the easiest ones to find once we discover them behind the crowd. True wisdom must surely come from hearing the noise but being able to cut through it to the simple meaning underneath.

We have many voices: spoken, written, acted out. It’s worth rehearsing with them all, exploring our limits, finding our authenticity through action. Finding our true voice.

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The Social Media [Non] Policy

As the walls between our formal and social lives are eroded by technology and social habits, the questions of privacy, ownership and responsibility come to the fore. Who owns which space? What can you do or say in privacy and what right do you have to protect that space? For example, if you post photos on your private Facebook account of a party at the weekend, can your boss justifiably search for it, take a screenshot and confront you with it when they question your energy levels on Monday?

Social Media [Non] Policy

In the Social Age, the social contract between organisation and employee is up for grabs, not least because the very notion of ‘employee‘ is degraded. Very few careers are for life anymore and no employer, however ‘nice‘ and well meaning they are, can offer absolute security. The only thing that will be constant is the reputation we forge in our communities, in our social spaces, and these are democratised (in most parts of the world), free for us to claim. But what if your employer doesn’t like what you say on LinkedIn? Against this backdrop, how can we have any clarity on what we can do and say justifiably in any space?

The world is even more cluttered by the ways that organisations infiltrate social spaces with formal or semi formal presence. So when you join a company, you may either be told not to Tweet at all, or given a ‘formal‘ Twitter account. Whose voice are you using in that space?

There are clearly a spectrum of spaces, from the fully formal to the fully social, and it’s reasonable to expect people to differentiate behaviours across them. But there’s a mindset to apply to this: one of creating frames. It’s not about telling people what is right or wrong, because there are very few absolutes, but rather about providing a frame to operate within.

But there is some inevitable pain: in the formal space of the office, the organisation is used to owning the conversation, but in the social spaces that surround it, it’s just one part of the conversation. It’s ok to be there, but you don’t own it. So you don’t own what is said either, which means that, as in real life, sometimes you won’t like it. But because it’s social, you have no remit to apply formal sanctions: that’s not how the game should be played.

So any approach to defining a social media policy needs to have two components: intent and clarity. We have to be clear on any absolutes, but build a shared intent that is fair. For example, if people are engaged in racially abusive behaviour through social channels, it may be fair to make clear that there could be an impact back in work: because by association you bring the organisation into disrepute. But if you are just stating a strongly opposed political position? Well, that’s fair game, or at least, it is in a western, liberal democracy. We may not like the fact that people take an active and opposing stance in democracy, but we have no right to do anything other than get into the conversation. We certainly can’t stop it.

So much organisational behaviour is based upon control and absolute power (within hierarchical authority) that it takes a new mindset to abandon that and, instead, earn the respect.

So what can we do about it?

I’ve been thinking about this myself as we grow our own SeaSalt team. Suddenly people ask me what the Social Media Policy is, and i realise that not only do we not have one, but i don’t want one. Although that’s not a good approach either, because without any frame at all, we’re not in the conversation, which leaves people exposed to accidental mistakes.

So, in the interests of #WorkingOutLoud, i thought we could hack one here.

Is it right? Probably not. Is it fair? Maybe. Will it work forever? Probably not. Will it work for now? Probably.

Does that make us agile, recognising that agility in the Social Age is what we need to aim for: yes, it probably will.

Do something today, co-create it with the team, be ready to change it later as our views and environmental pressures change. This is what i got for starters:

“Social Media provide a channel for us to share views, news and opinions. Our belief is that these spaces are democratised and semi formal. They are for each of us to claim and own.

There are two types of spaces: official ones, such as the SeaSalt twitter feed, which need to tell our official story, and then there are our own personal accounts, which are our own space to own.

As a member of the SeaSalt crew, what you say or share online in your personal space is your decision, but there are some things to be aware of.

Many of our associates, friends in the market and clients will have their own online presence and may explore our online spaces in detail before they meet us. Anything which is posted online may be seen, even if we think our privacy settings protect it.

Our clients are global and cross different sectors, markets, ethical and legal frameworks. We need to respect their views and lifestyles whilst never compromising on our values of being fair and equal in everything we do.

Our stance should be this: we share and do what we each think is right, but we respect the views of others as we do so.”

Does that strike the right balance? It’s not easy is it, working in a globally diverse marketplace, with a diverse range of clients and partners. But if we’re afraid to try and do things differently, then we’re just perpetuating the status quo.

I was talking to a lady in a global bank recently: she told me that she couldn’t use Facebook because she worked in HR and it would be disastrous if a picture of her drunk got out.

But is that fair? Is that right? Surely she has every right to be as drunk as the rest of us from time to time. I mean, it’s not like she’s going to start sending official Tweets, which would be a mistake.

To be fair, we have to explore boundaries, we have to co-create the rules. Sometimes there will be absolutes: no bullying, no talking about clients, no private data, but other spaces have to be left open. Can you express dissent? Within limits, that has to be fair. But do you have responsibilities too? Absolutely. The Social Contract runs both ways.

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