Thursday, July 15, 2010

Sharing the Obvious

This week, I had a conversation with a colleague about sharing ideas. I tried my best to explain that blogging and tweeting was about giving a new spin to information, to share with followers stuff that they might find interesting, to open up our minds to the world.

We had a conversation that went something like this (this is a very short extract from a longer discussion, the way I somewhat recall it):

Colleague: I helped someone today with extracting an email list from a message he got. I explained how to copy and paste the email addresses in Word and clean up the list by using the "Find and Replace" feature. I didn't share this with anyone, people in IT all know this stuff.

Me: Yes, it's obvious to you, of course. But that process and knowledge just ended here with you now.

Colleague: Hmmm... But the process is so easy. What people who do troubleshooting need to know is not the answer, it's getting the user to really define the problem.

Me: You have obviously internalized a lot of processes and information to troubleshoot users. What you're describing is implicit knowledge, stuff that can't really be taught to someone, values, beliefs, instincts. Since it's not always easy to share those instincts, maybe a collection of those stories could help other understand that process better?

That discussion made me realize that my use of social media and my blog is mostly about sharing what's obvious. Even if it's clear and obvious to me now, it doesn't mean it will later. My blog posts, evernotes, tweets, wall posts, youtubes, and flickrs, are just traces of where I've been, of what I've read, learned, and internalized at one point in time.

I recently read a book called Made To Stick. They refer to this issue for experts to explain something to novices as "The Curse Of Knowledge", the difficulty that comes from remembering what it meant not to know in order to speak the same language as the learner.

So, please bear with me as I'll continue to share stuff that seems trivial to me. I'll do my best to try to explain it in a way that makes sense to people who don't know.

Well, duh...


Joe said...

Continue sharing...some piece of everything is obvious information to everyone, which is why we have experts and as we become experts in a little piece of something we forget all about that initial feeling of not knowing about that something that we now are an expert in. Sharing is believing in the power of lighting a candle to enlighten the world.

Mathieu Plourde said...

@Joe: I totally agree with your comment. My issue is getting people to realize they have to start sharing what is worth sharing, which is pretty much everything. Do you have any strategy or prompts to help non-bloggers get started?

BTW, I just started reading Cognitive Surplus by Clay Shirky. When people ask you where you find the time to do social media, ask them how many hours they spend watching TV, TV series, or movies. If they can turn one or two of these hours in social media per week, that's all they need.

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