The Erosion of Sanctity

Space has often been used to separate power: everyday spaces, for the masses, and sacred spaces, for the elite. Court rooms, chambers, churches, all partition space that is protected, and sanctified to power. In the old world, the more senior you were, the greater your separation: sanctified by seniority.

The Erosion of Sanctity

In the Social Age, this context is substantially eroded: much of the technology of social collaboration has had the side effect of eroding sanctity. Spaces are invaded, the segregated becomes communal, the veneer of isolation is lost. With both good and bad consequences.

There are functional differences between old and new manifestations of power: the old, as well as enjoying the sanctity of space, often benefitted from asynchronous engagement. You could write or try to engage, but any response would be delayed or deferred with ease. But much of the connection of today bypasses that aspect of engagement: people can claim a permission to engage or respond synchronously.

I guess this mirrors a broader trend of the Social Age: power is generally being diffused through systems, rather than being held exclusively at the top. And where systems of power are rigid, we see the emergence of parallel, and powerful, social counterparts.

Ultimately, neither Organisations, nor established power, will be able to constrain this: the opportunity is to engage, to willingly open up the sacred spaces, to relinquish the sanctity of power, and to engage with humility and to earn trust.

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About julianstodd

A learning and development professional specialising in e-learning and learning technology.
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