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?????