I’ve got myself a new iPhone and, in the process of reinstalling all the Apps, everything is asking for permission to send me Push Notifications. Everything wants to tell me what’s going on in their world and my life. Starbucks informs me i have earned a star, Facebook tells me that Richard wants to chat and Twitter draws me into a debate about technology in learning. WordPress wants me to moderate a comment whilst i have three new emails to deal with. Every action comes with a rumble and a ping as it competes for my attention in an ever busier world.
Whilst the cacophony of alerts, badges and whistles used to grab my attention, nowadays i’m more immune: the sheer volume of technology trying to gain and hold my gaze has let to an attention deficit. Replaced, instead, by my engagement in conversations and communities.
You see, the technology was always incidental: it’s just that we had to master it before we could have the conversations. These days though, social collaborative technology is mature: we can connect in many ways in many places around real conversations, which is, frankly, more interesting that badges, stars and adverts.
Collaboration sits in the centre of learning in the Social Age: it’s one of the nine components of my NET Model of Social Leadership and it’s facilitated by technology every step of the way. The very first Apps i loaded onto the glittering new phone were Twitter, Vine, Facebook, email accounts, WordPress and Tumblr. Shortly followed by LinkedIn and Skype: technologies that connect me to my communities and provide access to knowledge.
Remember that in the Social Age, just owning knowledge is no longer enough: it’s what we do with it that counts. And what we do with it is create meaning within our communities: it’s these community spaces that bring us together with shared purpose to co-create a story and to share it widely.
Jingling bells can draw our attention to something: but it’s the conversation that counts. My new phone is cool: i love the colour, the case and the unblemished screen, but it’s as a gateway to sharing, a gateway to communities that it really counts. It’s the conversations that capture me, because it’s there that i learn.