How scribbled notes became valuable content, and how sharing can define truth.
This afternoon, I sat down to further my research into content management strategy insights. You see, I am preparing one for internal content for where I work, but from a Learning & Development perspective. I’m trying to set up foundational underpinnings for years to come, so learning from my own mistakes isn’t really going to cut it. So, I’ve gone beyond the borders of my company to learn.
I started with a google search (as we all tend to do). I found a few blogs. I looked up the author of a good blog post on Twitter. I read her recent feed. I saw the retweet of someone’s notes from a content strategy conference. All up, that took 30 minutes; but it was 30 minutes of me taking from other people.
Decision time. How could I even up the value exchange here? Habit kicked in. I pressed ‘like’ and ‘retweet’, because sharing good stuff is giving. But then I thought, what about where I work? I’m lucky in that we have a pretty established Yammer network, so I knew I had means to access a targeted audience in the network. Content strategy is a pretty esoteric thing, so I shared it in the ‘Innovating Learning’ group. The purpose of the group is to float embryonic ideas around adult learning and related disciplines.
Sounds ideal, right? There was just one thing nagging at me. I had set up that group last year for its stated purpose, and I’ve been the main person posting to it. Doing that is part of my job, but it can be a bit of an echo-chamber at times. So I asked myself a question: How can I communicate to my colleagues why I trust this content? The answer to that question is included in what I posted to Yammer, shown below.
“Here is a simple definition of content management strategy. It came from someone attending the #Confabcentral conference last week in the US. It was then retweeted by an industry expert. As someone researching content management strategy right now, I trust this. Why?
a) because it makes sense to me (visual, simple).
b) because I can identify with the assumed originating thought process (notes taken at a specialised conference)
c) because it has been shared publicly, twice (tweeted, then retweeted)
d) because I feel extra comfort in sharing it in my network (i.e. you, reading this now!), knowing there is a chance an internal expert will critique it soon.
This is part of #howIlearn. Found via @Halvorson on twitter #PLN. Originally authored by @kathrinevbecker.”
The world moves fast. Fake news is news. Traditional media is narrating its own self-awareness of its own declining relevancy. Individually, we are realising the influence of our own curation, and hopefully feeling the responsibility of that. Within that context, I made fast judgements here. I forced myself to be sceptical; for instance I weighed up the chances of the original author working for the industry expert, and knew the industry expert had played a role in the organising of the conference. I decided I was comfortable with the likely commercial incentive for that expert to retweet the original tweet; my appreciation of the utility of the content – a photo of some hand-drawn notes – overrode any misgivings. I decided it was worth trusting, worth sharing and worth acknowledging. So I did.
What is the truth? Who decides? What role does value play? What are the ethics? These are the big questions I was comfortable to answer for myself in handling this content today. As I learnt in a quote from a blog I read this afternoon, “Discipline is remembering what we want”. How I share and personally curate is now a habit, and a personal discipline. The way I tag, attribute and give my own insight around content is consistent. These learnt behaviours are part of what I want to happen more where I work, and the same big questions will need to be answered in the content management strategy. I reckon those hand-drawn notes, so thoughtfully shared a few days ago from the other side of the world, might just help me help other people too.
PS: This piece is a late entrant for #wolweek 5-11 June, because I was too busy enjoying my weekend doing other stuff to join in on time!