Sunday Open Thread — October 22, 2006

Collingwood Caves
Photo taken inside the Collingwood Caves during our visit last month.

Introducing the Sunday Open Thread:

I’m learning to say no. Recently it’s become obvious to me that, with my current work contract taking up my full time on weekdays, I can’t expect to keep up with my daily blogging and the communications that stem from it. Something’s gotta give.

So I’ve decided that I will stop researching and blogging articles for Sunday publication. Instead, on Sundays I’m just going to offer an open thread where readers can:

  • Tell me what’s keeping them awake at night
  • Tell me what they’d like me to write about on the blog Monday to Friday (Saturday will continue to be ‘links of the week’ day)
  • Respond to any thoughts and questions I’ve posted to start the Open Thread
  • Engage in conversations with other readers
  • Anything else you damned well feel like doing with it

I will, most Sundays, talk briefly about what I’m doing, and what’s keeping me awake at night, and some of the questions I’m struggling with and things I’m thinking about writing about, to provoke the open thread conversation but not limit it.

This will allow me to spend Sundays catching up on e-mails (as I’ve done today) and/or comments on my recent blog posts (which I promise to do on future Sundays). I’ve discovered that when I do that, my blog’s readership jumps. And since I was weeks behind in e-mails (and still am weeks behind in blog comments responses), I’ve noticed that readership lately has fallen off considerably. Besides, several readers have said I write too much anyway so one fewer article a week may help them keep up.

What’s Keeping Me Awake Now:

What’s keeping me awake right now is not having anything terribly new to say about social networking in my upcoming presentations, and still not having any great answers on how we can create ways in this complex world to find the people we want to work with, love, and make common cause with. There have to be some more innovative ways to find the ‘right’ people!

Where I’ll Be and What I’m Doing:

I’ll be in San Jose at the KM World conference next week (Oct. 31 – Nov. 2), talking about Adding Meaning and Value to Information, and about the Future of Knowledge Management. And I’ll be in London at the Online Information conference (Nov. 29 – Dec. 2), talking about Social Networking and, at a Knowledge Cafe, about Personal Knowledge Management. Hope to see some of you there!

I’m working on a set of principles for Knowledge Management that can be used by organizations that have no full-time, ongoing KM function of their own — so in the design of websites, community spaces and other repositories and portals, and in developing learning materials for these resources, they can avoid some of the major KM landmines even if they don’t have a KM resource on board.

And tomorrow I’m the host for the weekly Carnival of the Green. Stay tuned for a great multi-authored summary of the week’s news and ideas on the environmentand sustainability.

OK, the comments thread is yours. Tell me what’s on your mind and, at least by next Sunday, I’ll respond.

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8 Responses to Sunday Open Thread — October 22, 2006

  1. David Parkinson says:

    Went to see Guy Dauncey speak last night, here in Powell River. Quite an inspiring talk; it went some distance towards reassuring me that what I’m up to out here, no matter how crazy it feels at times, is leading towards something important. Definitely getting passionate around the issue of food security; also insinuating myself into the local community radio station, which is in need of a kick up the bum and some new ideas to reconnect with the community. Nice symbiosis there, whereby each is a resource for the other (community & radio station); but the relationship has been allowed to wither tragically. I wonder if I’m crazy to think that old-school radio waves will end up being important in the coming post-peak times. I think it’s worth exploring; and anyway it allows me to play music for other people, which I miss. Double-dug a vegetable row this weekend after gathering horseshit (the literal kind, which is a lifetime first); got stung by a wasp for the first time since I was 10 or so; starting a weeklong self-employment workshop tomorrow; planning to find a job (any job, but only for a local employer) after that to staunch the flow of cash. Change is the new stability.

  2. MatthewJ says:

    Please talk about Jeff Vail and Rhyzomal networks!

  3. Dave Pollard says:

    OK, those are both good ideas for upcoming blog posts. Anyone have anything else?

  4. Thomas Watson says:

    Well, not asking you to talk about them but I’ve had a few things on my mind:High-speed rail links and otherwise standardising rail gauges in Australia. Yet another study is under way to figure out if its worthwhile, which is ultimately an exercise in delaying a decision. Given the distances involved in travelling in Aust. air and long haul car travel have always been regular features of peoples lives. The rail option would be much better environmentally and economically and I think rail has distinct advantages if there happens to be a environmental/economic decay of the civilisation busting type.The other thing I am thinking of doing is becoming involved in my parents business, a retail art gallery. After some reflection and reading on this blog in the past year, I have come to the conclusion that running a small dynamic business would give me the flexiblity to work hard at my future ‘projects’ while maintaining a productive and fulfilling ‘job’.In part I think its the only option today that gives young people power over their work conditions, despite the fact that I am largely opposed to the way capitalism performs for most people. Being a worker sucks in more instances then not. I see so many of my anti-establishment friends (and my so-so-establishment friends) lament that they don’t want to fall into the trap of living near the centre but then plunge back into self-denial. My so-to-be lawyer friends are the worst, they have such positive desire for the world but are knowingly spiralling towards co-option.In other news, my university, the Australian National University, has started to offer a bachelors of interdisciplinary studies (sustainability), merging techinal and ‘arts’ aspects in the one degree to deal with issues such as water management and ecological systems….. hmmm I am curious to know if it will be of any value.Anyways, thats whats been running around in my head!

  5. Pat Keenan says:

    Scenario planning. Herman Miller does it to figure out what type of furniture they need for the office. Basically, it is having a specific question about the future and getting people from different disciplines together to answer it. Why can’t this sort of thing be done regularly. I have found that when I talk about the future and believed inevitablities, I get quite excited and motivated.

  6. AR says:

    I think this is a great idea. Thanks for doing this Dave. In the 2 years I’ve been reading this blog, it’s the first time I’ve actually posted a comment (but I have emailed you a couple of times). First, a comment about comments. I’d love to post my thoughts more in this comment section, but I’ve been hesistant ever since I quit reading/commenting in a few forums about 4 years ago. Forums are really amazing places to meet people and exchange ideas, but it seems that for the amount of time someone reads/thinks/posts, the ‘return’ can be somewhat disproportionate. The last forum I posted on was a 3 year long exercise in frustration, where I spent countless hours each day. It just wasn’t worth the investment. My question is what’s the best way to get the most from blog commenting/forums without getting sucked in to the point of an unhealthy time commitment?Second, in the past few years, the amount of blogs and newspapers I read everyday has skyrocketed. Yet I am even more paralyzed than ever because of information overload. The only thing I want to do is sit and read. I feel I’ve lost brain cells after reading the New York Times. As I’ve observed my body more and tuned into my instinct, they both tend to confirm my suspicions that I’m not learning anything in the process. Third, you talk about KM on this blog a lot. I just graduated with an undergrad business degree from a top American university and I can barely understand your KM posts. How are they relevant to young people like me? And how can i use the information in them?Thanks!

  7. Rayne says:

    Wow, that last comment was on target! Been spending a lot of time thinking about “long tail” dynamics, wondering how individuals go about determining where their need for information fits into the long tail, so that they don’t end up sucked into the large end when small end works better. I suspect that most people spend too much time weeding through the information in the large end of the long tail of information (let’s say it’s blogs including corporate media blogs), and the information we really need is in the tail.Sure, we could use tools like Blogsearch.Google or Technorati, but are there more evolved ways of sussing out the info we need?And are there more evolved ways of getting to the online communities we need as well, using similar methodologies?[On a personal note, hope things are well with you, Dave; been too busy to blog or comment, hope to get back to a so-called normal rhythm once the elections are over.]

  8. Dave Pollard says:

    Thanks all. Future articles on HtStW will cover Vail/rhizomes, rail transportation, scenario planning, how to be an effective blog/forum ‘commenter’, and the inherent effectiveness and inefficiency of the long tail.AR: The way I resolved the wasting of time reading ‘news’ was to refuse to read any news that wasn’t actionable. And I’m not sure my writings on KM would be of much interest to non-info-professionals even if I added a lot more context to them. The closest I can come to explaining its value to the layperson is my Oct.17 article connecting KM to innovation.

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