Wednesday, 27 June 2007

The impact of blogging on offline relationships - Real Life 2.0 anyone?

I want to highlight a recent post by Jon Husband, KM and Friendships - Blogging, Listservs, Forums, Moderation, etc. in which he returns to a blog post from 2002, showing remarkable insight and a considerable amount of vision, in terms of the potential of blogging. In particular this comment resonates with me...

...the sociality that blogging enables and creates is a critical component of the effective construction, exchange and use of knowledge, and I truly believe that many if not most organizations should move more quickly and more seriously to experiment on purpose with ways to use blogging (inside and outside the firewall) to enhance responsiveness, effectiveness, productivity and innovation.
I agree completely with Jon. But I wonder if when writing this he was thinking about the construction, exchange and use of knowledge offline, as well as online? (maybe he'll let us know?)

I've noticed recently that my involvement in blogging, particuarly internally, is having a real, positive impact on my face to face work relationships.

People I have met on our internal blog already know me to some extent - I'm much happier to ask them for advice, info and input, they seem to be much happier to give me what I ask for. We've developed a level of trust even though we haven't met in person. We've connected on a level that has increased the degree to which we share knowledge and experience, the degree to which we collaborate.

This isn't necessarily on a blog, it's because of a blog. We're collaborating and conversing in emails, on the phone. The blog facilitated and enabled the open, collaborative working relationship we now have.

To some extent, this is problematic, as not everyone has access to the knowledge we are sharing, it's offline and between just us, but in terms of a broader knowledge sharing process, knowledge is being shared, and between people who may not have done so without the blog acting as an enabler.

I don't think the power of the blog can be underestimated here, particularly when those participating are unlikely to meet face to face, yet still benefit from sharing.

I guess what's really starting to interest me is the impact of online activity on offline reality. If anyone has seen anything of note on this, it'd be great to hear from you.

...and no, I don't really think we should call it Real Life 2.0, considering a recent post, that would make me a hypocrite.

1 comment:

jonhusband said...

Yes, I was ... given that the core of my 2002 post was about some of the fundamental dynamics of friendship, building trust, and exchanging information around around areas of mutual interest.

perhaps a bit about my background would help .. I was for a long time an HR / work design consultant with Hay Management Consultants (big corporate clients) and in the mid-90's began to believe that IT an d the Web would permeate all of our activities. I was steeped, of course, in Taylorism, hierarchies, etc. and realized that inexorably we were moving to a more horizontal, peer-to-peer collaborative world, and that in that permeation most of human sociology would be replicated in and by our interactions on the Web, with some powerful differences emerging along the way.

There is much change yet to come, IMHO, for knowledge workers in organizations, whose structures are still mainly based on industrial age assumptions about work and humans' role in carrying it out.