As part of my participation in PKMastery in 40 Days work, I’m completing an exercise on creating a twitter community and narrating your work. Here is how Harold Jarche describes this area of PK Mastery.
Finding a Community on Twitter
Communities are everywhere and there are many deep conversations and knowledge exchanges happening daily all over the world. So how can you find a community on a platform like Twitter? Twitter is different from Facebook and LinkedIn in that relationships are “asymmetrical” meaning that if I follow you, you do not have to follow me. This feature allows you to adjust the signal (good information) and noise (spam or information of less interest) ratio. If you find Twitter boring, it means you are following the wrong people. There are about 250 million active Twitter users, so you should be able to find someone who is interesting!
Narration of your Work
Narrating one’s work does not get knowledge transferred, but it provides a better medium to gain more understanding. Working out loud is a concept that is very easy to understand, but not quite so easy to do. Most people are too busy managing in their information age workplaces and have little spare time to try to learn how to work in the network age. The most important step in learning a new skill is the first one. This same step has to be repeated many times before it becomes a habit. I have learned that the first step of starting to work out loud, as part of personal knowledge management, has to be as simple as possible.
Twitter Community and Narration
I had two full meetings the day I chose to narrate my work. I figured there would not be a lot of diverse activities to write about but in my estimation, some very important things happened that leap frogged my understanding and practice.
I had a few hours before my meetings started so I decided to start my day by making sense out of my twitter account. I had created over a dozen lists at different points in my work and learning. Of course I had moved on with many of my work projects and thinking so those lists were now out of date and many of the contacts were no longer needed. I spent over an hour re-familiarizing myself with Twitter – I’m not a big user! What a job I have ahead of me.
I realized that in sorting out and re-establishing my Twitter account, I’m bringing into alignment the important projects I’m working on and being more clear with my purpose and goals for communicating via Twitter. As mentioned in an earlier PKMastery post, I’ve being woefully negligent by ignoring key people (known and unknown) who I could follow and learn from as well as share with. Now that I know more how to design my lists, find people I want to learn from and share with, I’m much more dedicated to using Twitter as a key part of my online network learning. I liked the Twitter tips from Joachim and a few others in our 40 Days Mastery group.
The second part of the Twitter exercise was to find and develop my Twitter community. I decided to focus my twitter community search a projects I’m developing. The project is a school based mental health & student success initiative that would use a PKM framework in conjunction with a community based research mapping framework.
Students, in partnership with Child and Youth Workers (in school employees) would learn how to utilize PKM to guide research mapping (seek, sense, share) activities. By using their PKM framework, students would not only learn a process that will help them guide their work while on the pilot project, the PKM framework would be a process they can use in their ongoing student academic activities and continue on as they take on employment and careers.
The broad outcomes sought is a more inclusive, tolerant school community where there is less bullying, mental health stigmatizing and fewer students ending up in mental health crisis situations. So, to sum up, I’m scouring my contacts both online and off so I can connect with them via Twitter. What I do then, I’m not sure yet. At the least I will start tweeting about this pilot initiative and encourage more discussion. A large bureaucracy like the school system moves very slowly. I am taking on a systemic and complex problem and engaging youth in delivering the project. Using Twitter will let me stir the pot, hopefully without ruffling too many feathers.
My second big working and learning experience of the day was that in two conversations with strangers I took the opportunity to explain the pilot project initiative (described above) I was developing. I haven’t had many opportunities to explain the project to people outside my sector so this was a test (probe) for me. What pleased me was that I felt that I explained myself very clearly. People appeared to completely get what I was trying to do with this project. Just seeing that these people grasped the purpose of the initiative and how I planned to deliver the project gave me a lot of inspiration and confidence to keep plugging away.
These experiences made me realize that if ideas sit too long in one’s own head and if not tested out in conversations, good ideas can wither and die. Another take away from those two conversations was that I recognized that talking out loud is as important as working out loud. The final take away is that narrating your work can be a truly powerful and empowering experience. I’ve being writing blog posts for many years but I think getting into a habit of narrating your work on a regular basis will make me a better writer and blogger. It’s also amazing that inconsequential events, upon reflection can lead you to deeper insights about yourself and your work.
p.s. if any readers have suggestions or thoughts about my PKM and Research Mapping in schools initiative, please give me a shout.