As part of my own professional development, i’m embarking on a critical reappraisal of my published work around the Social Age. This will primarily consist of a retrospective analysis and review of my seventeen published books and other works, alongside a critical and reflective journey through my influences and experiences, and an attempt to document the flow, the change, and the direction of travel.
Or to put it another way: i intend to get lost in the past, and find my way to the future.
If things go well, i hope to take the learning and insights from this activity and weave them into a broad publication that captures the essence and challenge of the Social Age. A Social Age Handbook.
This will be as much a journey to leave things behind as to discover the new.
My formative experiences as an archaeologist and material scientist left me with a conflicted view of sense making: as story and as science, the former a primarily subjective interpretation, and the latter as a progressively tested narrative (although i later came to realise that scientists can be the best storytellers).
My experience as a researcher left me able to become comfortably lost: it built the understanding of research as a process of fracturing our certainty, a theme that has remained with me and influential in my work.
But it took me a lot longer to learn to be a cartographer: to map the journey. Or, more accurately, to sketch it.
This last piece is perhaps the most important: it was a combination of emergent blogging technology and social recognition, personal circumstance of work, and weariness with both academic precision and business hyperbole, that led me to #WorkingOutLoud, which both liberated and saved me.
I spent nearly ten years as a student, ten years in business, and now ten years as a researcher and writer (and, i guess, still in business, but a different type of business). This journey was almost one of breath: breathing in to be nourished by the freedom, breathing out to conform and build, and then a freedom to breathe in again.
And now that pause.
Last year i introduced the notion over on Social Leadership Daily of being ‘in practice’, and this year i will carry that further into my own work. To be in my own practice, and to #WorkOutLoud as i do so.