Today went well: i presented a webinar on ‘scaffolded Social Learning‘ to around a hundred and thirty people. As is usual, i rewrote the whole thing yesterday and shared it on the blog before it even started. Later i’ll share the slides too. Those people were around the world: Australia, Beirut, France, Mumbai, London… a global community united in a spirit of enquiry.
There’s no plan, no strategy: for the last four years, i’ve simply been #WorkingOutLoud before i do anything else. Take writing the books: the first one, i locked myself away for four weeks to write, then published it. The last one, i wrote everyday and shared everything as i wrote. Today, i’ve given away around twenty copies to people in that community. Why? Because knowledge itself is not the point: in the Social Age, it’s about our ability to create meaning, and that happens in community. The books are not the outcome, they are just part of the conversation.
The democratisation of communication, the death of the office, the rise of communities, these things have transformed how we work, how we lead, how we learn. National borders and geographic distances mean very little anymore. Cultural boundaries still exist, but the technology makes it ever easier to cross them (although not always for the better: we still need to strive for fairness).
The Social Age has momentum: ideas generate their own mass and speed, amplified around the world by engaged communities, entirely outside the control or ownership of any organisation. We unite around shared values and shared purpose, creating communities that are self regulating and self directed. The organisation can still be part of the conversation, but it no longer owns it.
“If you use social media, how do you stop people wasting time“, asked someone on the webinar. Why would i? It’s their time to waste. I myself invest significant hours on Facebook, taking photos, drawing, reading, playing games, talking to friends and strumming the guitar. I also spend a lot of time working, engaging in work communities and problem solving. I just don’t do it through any formal system or between the hours of 9-5. Well, it’s probably 9-5 somewhere, but these communities are global, and it’s always five o’clock somewhere.
And anyway, you never know, but if people come together and talk, we may accidentally learn something.