Thursday, 13 January 2011

Enjoy the Silence

It happens to all of us. Fuelled by on our own self worth and esteem we crash in to handing out opinions and advice to people left, right and centre.
Reading My Hell is other People recently it seems this guy has had too much of it – and had responded in a passionate and fair way I would say. Yet, in some ways, I was grateful someone had provided an opinion or advice to prompt such a response – no matter how irritating it clearly was to the writer!
It made me think about all of the opportunities that social media offers to not just HR but professionals across industries to share and impart knowledge, are we sometimes swamped by the social media sin of blah blab blah?
When being advised on the delivery of my first training sessions, it was suggested to not always feel uncomfortable with (nor underestimate the value of) silence. Sometimes information needs to  settle, in order to allow for a period of reflection and analysis; the idea being to then feedback, maybe look at things with a fresh perspective and see how things could be moved forward (either in the context of the schedule for the session or the discussion being had).
How might the opposite be illustrated in everyday social media life? Well a good example is the recent figures that came to light about the total tribunal costs for the BBC in 2010.  This story was re-circulated on Twitter lots – I had it in most of the status updates on my timeline on the day it came to light; all just re-circulating the same information, a link to the story.
But what did it tell me about that person who was trying to share the information? It acted as evidence that they read People Management; or maybe they have a colleague who tweeted it and they re-tweeted, hence we both follow their details and it ended up in my timeline. So perhaps in a (tenuously) Kevin Bacon style five steps of separation we are of a similar mindset in terms of information resources ... but beyond this?

Kevin Bacon addresses audience members after b...Do you know this man? In fairness, who does not feel like they did not after seeing Tremors? Image via Wikipedia

We are all guilty of it (anyone else guilty of resending the top 10 most used profile words on Linkedin? Why did we do that?!) and no issue with people trying to spread the good news but perhaps we all need to check what the purpose of sharing the information is. If it is relevant it will have no problem reaching the top of the information tree on its own – just ask the guys at Domino's when this story broke.

But maybe try thinking of doing this - for every one professional tweet or status update when you wish to resend information of a story someone else is sending round in the echo chamber, why not try and put your own spin on it? Maybe not just share the information but show how you would have approached the situation differently or why this solution occurred in this field but might not be applicable in others - some insight if you will. Suddenly you have moved from being a data manager to a bit of a problem solver.

Then just sit back, relax, and watch as it goes round the world - who knows? You might even find it more rewarding/productive than forwarding on the same information as everyone else.

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