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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Thinking about…thinking

A few days ago I was deep into a mid life crisis wondering what I was going to be when I grew up. I had a plan and was working towards that but then I changed the plan or maybe the plan changed me…

I took some time out of the workforce to pursue some study knowing that the study would lead me into a different career. I am currently working as a casual in the proposed new career. Then everything changed.

I started thinking about…thinking and things started to come undone. A key question that kept coming to mind was “how is what I am currently doing enriching my life?” “Why am I doing this?” “What value am I adding to the world?” In essence, I had lost my way.

So, I spoke to a good friend – actually I vented to a good friend and then turned to one of my favourite authors and thinkers, Seth Godin, for inspiration. I figured out that I had almost become part of the machine, the place where you think about…nothing…you just do. This didn’t sit well with me.

I had a rethink and decided to throw everything out and start again. It always amazes me when I do this because suddenly a lot of cool things start coming my way. I was referred to a book by a friend and then another book popped up in a blog I read and I contacted the author and she actually emailed me back and now I feel as if I have started a new journey.

It might even provide the answer to “what will I be when I grow up?”

What thoughts might you have if your thinking was about…thinking?