I was having a coffee with a friend and mentor of mine the other day. Tom is a PhD in Psychology and specializes in leadership and organizational change. I was explaining to him why he should look into blogging as a way to express his opinions and views on his thirty plus years of working with corporate executives.
Tom started talking about a topic that he has been researching. He talks about how people enter the corporate workforce at an early age full of hope, promise, and energy. Over time they become conditioned in a system that stifles creativity and innovation and focuses more on rules, guidelines, and "staying the course". He talked about writers, artists, and musicians and how they are able to express themselves and how they innovate. Unfortunately, those professions are a tough way to make a good living and only a small percentage of people actually prosper in that space.
Tom talks to many people in corporate America every day. He explains to me that some of the people he talks two seem to have two different personalities. One being their true inner self, capable of displaying emotional intelligence, cognitive reasoning, and are innovative and generally curious. But then they transform into their corporate personality where they assimilate, follow orders, and don't rock the boat.
Being addicted to blogging like I am, I started thinking about how this applies to the blogging community. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that blogs are a great outlet for expressing our inner self and escaping the handcuffs that are placed on us in our daily corporate lives. We can express our true opinions and be heard. It's Ok to "rock the boat" and provide radical alternative solutions. One of the blogs I read daily is James McGovern's From Incite comes Insight. James has very strong opinions both technically and politically. He has created a platform for himself where he can express his opinions with no constraints and without being bound by the walls of a corporation. He can do this because he keeps his company's identity hidden and does not represent the views of his employer. I am pretty sure James speaks in an entirely different tone at work.
Without an outlet like a blog or any other social networking platform, we would not be able to witness the true expression and innovation of technologists like James and others. For me, to discuss many of the things at work that I write about, I would have to devote a substantial amount of additional time crafting "politically acceptable" messages to cater to an audience that has certain expectations and guidelines. Although, I am not known to be a politically correct speaking individual at work and do tend to speak my mind, I still tone it down way more then I do in my blogs. With social networks, you simply express yourself and those that like it will embrace it and those that don't will either ignore it or give you opposing views. In corporate settings, especially in IT, there are many people who just won't express themselves at all. Many of them have a lot to offer but shy away from public exposure. Social networking gives these people a platform to express themselves without having to expose their identify.
I asked my buddy Tom to put his thoughts down on paper. I am educating him about the power of social networks. He is a baby boomer who is not current on technology and I am trying to show him this powerful world where he can enlighten us with his views and allow his readers to build upon his ideas in a collaborative fashion. I have been stuck on his thoughts about how people act contained and constrained in corporate settings. I think this is one of the reasons why social networking is becoming much more attractive in the last few years. What are your thoughts?
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