Make Like A Pancake

I can’t make pancakes.  I know how to make them but they never look like they are supposed to.  The perfect pancake is cooked on one side until golden brown and then flipped to repeat the process on the other side.  Two perfect sides that make up the whole.  Thinking is a bit like that  isn’t it?  There are always at least two sides to every argument…

Recently, I read an article about a new book on social networking called “Alone Together” by Sherry Turkle.  The basic premise of the book is that social networking is responsible for the lack of face-t0-face interactions and is basically killing conversation.  I have to admit that I haven’t read the book (it’s on my list) so I’m not going to critique its content.  I’m more interested in taking the basic idea of the book and, like a good pancake, examining the other side of the argument to see what’s cooking there.

Steve Denning, citing John Hagel, provides some interesting insight into the other side with an article on conversation and social media.  He points to the fact that real conversation (conversation that matters, that challenges, that changes) has never really taken place in a face-to-face format.  Social networking has provided a space for this type of conversation, a space where you can choose the conversation to listen to, respond to and engage with.  Conversation that can be heard on a global level.

My own experience has shown this to be true.  I have recently ramped up my Twitter and LinkedIn accounts and joined groups that resonate with me.  I am actively involved in some fantastic, radical, thought provoking conversation with people in my industry across the world.  I have been delighted with the mature approach that most people adopt in the online environment.  The temptation to disregard manners can be high when you are not looking at the other person but I have found people to be considerate, willing to listen, responsive and energised by the conversation (even if there are disagreements)  The process, for me, has been extremely rewarding.

So, when you read or hear something that paints a negative, fear based  image of a situation make like a pancake and flip over to see what’s happening on the other side.  Then you can make up your own (informed) mind…

What have you come across recently where you could make like a pancake?

How do make sure that you have considered all points of view in a situation?

What do you do if you disagree with both sides of the pancake?  Make like a brownie?????

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lyndal
    Jan 28, 2011 @ 22:58:40

    I think that every issue or idea is worth ‘making like a pancake’ to see what’s on the other side. Especially those that we have firm ideas about. Growth comes from exploring the ‘other’ and without the willingness to do this, we become rigid in our thinking.

    With regards to social networking, I think like anything, it has it’s bright side and it’s shadow side. I’ve seen people hurt by the rude comments that can come with this type of ‘impersonal’ conversation. I think people sometimes say things via social networking that they would never say face to face. On the other hand, I’ve participated in a lot of interesting forms of activism via social networking sites and I believe it can be a positive tool for engaging large numbers of people in this way.

    In my own profession (social work), which is dominated by an older group of professionals who are for the most part quite scared about social networking, it’s a struggle to promote the potentials of the medium and at the same time educate about the possible pitfalls. I’ve seen terrible things happen – vulnerable clients whose need to conceal their identity might be a matter of life or death, having their photos posted on agency websites (for example, at a Xmas function run by the agency). Ex-clients being ‘friended’ by professionals; a situation that blurs the boundaries in relationships where the worker has had significant power over that client.

    But ‘making like a pancake’ enables us to move beyond our fears and worst case scenarios (which the media would like us to believe are more frequent than I suspect they really are) to explore new territory. Which is always a good thing.

    Reply

    • judythesweetspot
      Jan 29, 2011 @ 06:05:42

      Thanks for the comment Lyndal! I agree that social networking sites can be places where inappropriate comments occur. Interestingly, I have found this more on FaceBook than other sites. I think that’s because FB is a more personal site where a variety of information is shared. I prefer the professional sites for conversation and use my FB account for inconsequential rubbish really! Maybe the key is knowing the difference…

      Reply

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