This is my 2,000th blog post and, appropriately enough, i’m writing it in a coffee shop. The practice of #WorkingOutLoud sits at the heart of my writing: carrying out research, trying to connect dots, sketching out possible ideas, and sharing them into my communities.
Across those 2,000 posts the main thing that has changed are my ideas: at the start, i was reaching into the unknown, and today i find that i am utilising constructs, ideas, conceptions that are well developed and tested.
I have developed my vocabulary and, along the way, i think, or i hope, i have become a better writer.
I feel that i have pushed the boundaries of my understanding further out, although that is only to say that i have found more of my own ignorance.
And i’ve only been able to do so by being frequently wrong along the way: getting bogged down in detail, distracted by new ideas, deluded by comforting intellectual tidiness, and lazily accepting the first answer, when it turns out not to be an answer at all.
The blog does not live in isolation: i often call it my ‘first reflective space’, which is a polite way of saying that it’s not very reflective at all… it’s the first place to share ideas. Over the course of these years some of those ideas have been rewritten and re-worked and have made it into some of my books. Fifteen of them so far.
In some ways, the fifteen published books are less interesting than the eight unpublished ones: major texts around ‘The Change Handbook’, ‘Learning Science Guidebook’, ‘Social Age Handbook’, and ‘Music and Learning’, remain as typed manuscripts staring at me accusingly from a shelf. Between just those four are around 200,000 words of text and innumerable notes and sources.
But those books are not yet ready to fly – indeed some of them may never fly – because they are part of the train of thought, not the final story.
This really is the value of writing: to make the journey.
Writing is a mechanism by which we codify thought into artefact, but in so doing, we pin it to the page. We take a snapshot of what we think in the moment, and memorialise it.
In that sense, my writing only ever reflects what i used to think, to believe.
One thing remains true: i only write for myself. I am truly grateful for, and humbled by, the tens of thousands of people who follow this work, on the blog and where it’s cross posted to LInkedIn. But i do not really write for more than an audience of one.
If i wanted to please other people, i would share more complete ideas, and probably publish through more established and formal channels. But that does not excite me so much as the opportunity to be wrong, to learn, and to explore at the cutting edge of the Social Age.
My work continues to colour this map: the map of the emergent Social Age – a time of great upheaval, and the re-authoring of structures of Organisation and society more generally. We are learning to ‘be together’ in new ways, to be innovate, effective, and purposeful.
The future will be a future of people, but people with technology.
It will be a future of Organisations, but not as we know them today.
It will be a future of society, but not one purely bounded by geography.
It will be unknown, but lived as we map it.