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The Co-ignite Collaborative Blog
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  • Working Wikily: The Impact of Social Media

    Jeff Young

    I recently ran across the following article titled “Working Wikily” in the Stanford Social Innovation Review:  http://bit.ly/g6n3gf

    It talks about the impact of social media showing up in how we now need to work together.  These social media tools are not just making it easier to communicate with each other and share information between friends.  Social media is “engendering a new networked mind-set.”  It is helping to bring about “a new leadership style characterized by greater openness, transparency, decentralized decision-making, and collective action.”  The article describes what is needed, but like many articles like this, it doesn’t tell you how to do it.

    In my experience in coaching many individuals and organizations, most of us do not know how to effectively coordinate action in this new network paradigm.  The technology is cool and fun to use, but we don’t yet have the human leadership skills to effectively operate in this new world. We tend to fall back to the only way of leading we have seen, one based upon hierarchy and authority.  We don’t operate our organizations with openness, transparency, decentralized decision-making and we don’t take collective action.

    How do we learn how to align our human behavior with this new technology?  It is not just a passing fad, so don’t count on not having to learn this new way of working together.  How do we effectively manage networks of autonomous adults who don’t have to listen to authority, but will act in ways that are in alignment with their own purpose?  These “how do we” questions form a long list and are not easy to answer. 

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  • Social Networking – Size Isn’t Enough

    Jeff Young

    This past week I saw a story on my computer that Facebook celebrated reaching 500 million users.  What huge accomplishment in this new and exciting world of social networking.  As a society and as a world we are much more connected with each other than ever before in human history.  

    We instantly send messages to each other, find schoolmates we haven’t seen in decades, share our vacations, our triumphs, and our dazzling moments with our children.  As a parent, I keep up to date with my grown children easier than any generation before me.   I share and participate in what is going on in their lives without them even having to call their parents or feel guilty because they didn’t.  This is really cool!

    Last week I also attended an eye opening presentation where people were sharing their latest ideas of how we can bring innovation to social issues.  What I saw was an exciting portfolio of ideas on how to leverage the same social media and Facebook-like technology to make a difference in our communities.  But, as I listened, I was struck by the image of each of us sitting behind our own computer or cell phone chatting by text to one another.  In this image we are isolated behind a veil of technology telling unseen others about the actions we are individually taking to make a difference in each other’s lives.  It seemed sadly ironic to me and I was left with an empty and hollow feeling of being alone; a feeling similar to how my home now feels with my daughters both grown and our dog of 16 years permanently sleeping under our peach tree as I sit and write this post to unseen readers I have never met.  Is this really the kind of connection we need?

    Where Are WE?

    As a family we used to gather around our dinner table every evening and share who we were and what we cared about.  We listened and supported each other.  We laughed and we cried together.  We cared about each other’s success and we supported and consoled each other in our disappointments.  We got angry and we made up.  We often shared family hugs that even the dog understood was special, leaping up on hind legs – reaching to be part of the tangle of warm arms and legs.  Wherever we were in our travels, or our journey, whatever we were becoming in our lives, we were a We – not just a collection of individuals.

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