Friday, September 22, 2006

Fear of Blogging

Within the blogs, I am starting to see discussion on why people don't use collaboration tools (or LMSs for that matter). The big question is WHY?

Dave Pollard did a little experiment in August 2006 trying to get people to help him edit a Writley document. Sadly, he gave the process a failing grade.

Shawn at Anecdote and George Siemens at elearnspace both add their 2 cents regarding the reasons for the failure of collaborative tools. So the question in my mind is....with what we have to work with, how can we encourage adoption of these tools? Especially since the buzz in knowledge management and training circles is COLLABORATION.

All three bloggers hint at something that came to the fore for me when I started blogging - fear.

How many of us have risked answering a question at school (elementary --> grad school)? How did you feel when you found out you were wrong?

In the corporate world, how many of us have had ideas stolen by others? How did that make you feel?

How many of us have had a great idea only to be told how stupid it (and, by extension, you) are?

Is it any wonder that we all hesitate to collaborate? Particularly in a corporate environment?

We are essentially asking our end-users to put themselves out there with no net, no reason, and no reward. In most organizations it is in the best interest of the individual to keep their ideas and knowledge to themselves. That individual's information is what makes them valuable. Why in the WORLD would they want to share if sharing means idea theft and potential downsizing?

I had to fight through ALL of these emotions when I started blogging.
- Will I be accepted or rejected?
- How much criticism will I get?
- Will others discover that I am a phony and realize that I have absolutely no clue of what I am talking about?

I am sure that I personalize things more than others. Still - if I am feeling this, certainly others go through the same thoughts when they put themselves out there for others to view.

And maybe THIS is one of the key factors that prevents collaborative tools from being adopted by an organization. How do you get people to work through the fear?

The picture above is from Frank Wright. It is part of George Washington University's collection.

3 comments:

Sandra Dickinson said...

absolutely fascinating that there are no comments on this post.
does that tell us something?
I got here today thru Tony Karrar, via Tom Haskins.

I know that I take WAY too long to compose a post. Partly because I am doing the background research to "get it right." That was one of Tom's points - blogging = learning.
By then I feel like the conversation I wanted to engage in is over.
But really what I'm discovering is that the key conversation do keep going on and do keep building.
YES - that panic moment of hitting the PUBLISH button.
I even do a little dance after I hit that button to celebrate my courage and accomplishment.
Another thing I am finding, the responses to what I have to say are NOT showing up as comments on my own blog. They are showing up in other people's blogs. VERY hard for me to find out about and keep track of and keep going with. So its not just fear in the first place, but some discouragement after awhile, if you can't figure out how to see what the response is.
You thought you would die. You're not dead. Is that because nobody cares if you're alive?

Einar Berg said...

I surfed in by the blog of Yulius Halim, who writes about the top ten reasons why people blog and don't.

I find "Fear of blogging" very interesting, and the key sentence may be: "That individual's information is what makes them valuable". I think this is an uderlying motive for not blogging, people are afraid of losing their competitive advantage. I think it is with intellectual capital as with money: you can't take it with you. Besides, if you share it, you'll get an interest rate that is amazing!

Of course, if one wants to blog, but don't like to share, blog in an obscure language, like I do. There are only 4.6 million Norwegians, so I pretty much keep it to myself :-) If you all the same want to have a look, you can follow the links, and perhaps understand a little from the context.

Jennifer said...

Wow I thought this was limited to my outdated but well meaning organization! Good (or is it?) to learn it's not our issue alone. Fear of accountability is part of it too. What if I say something stupid and/or wrong and IT'S IN WRITING so I can't deny it?? Or what if someone else takes credit for my good idea or post?? Those things don't stop me :) but they stop many others in my organization. And until we get past those types of phobias we'll never get to web 2.0.