Being found out

I have been on the point of writing a post for some time, which I was going to call "Mary, Mary quite contrary" about how much more similar social computing is to gardening than to building. It was going to be all about spotting green shoots poking through the soil of organisational life and doing all you can to encourage them to grow, keeping the weeds back, pouring fertiliser on them - keeping the grim reaper at bay.

But tonight watching Parkinson with Billie Piper, James McAvoy and Jennifer Lopez I realised it is about something else. They all confessed to being worried that some day they would be found out. That what was happening to them was due to luck rather than skill and that some day it might all be taken away.

I remember clearly having this feeling when I was being asked to move up the management ranks in the BBC. I was just doing what felt good, saying what I thought and, if anything, not taking things very seriously and the next thing you know you are a senior manager with a whole bunch of people watching what you are doing and increasing expectations of you.

I frequently hear attendees at my workshops expressing fear about saying what they think on blogs or in forums. They show real reticence about stating "the obvious" and exhibit a range of self limiting fears about sticking your neck out and having it chopped off if you do more than just do what is expected of you.

I reckon this is what, for me, social computing is all about. It is, to use the jargon, about finding your voice. About being authentic. About having the chance to count and make a difference in ways that haven't been available to us before. About the whole being greater than the sum of the parts and about the flowering of the human spirit when the repressive forces of conditioning have their bonds loosened even ever so slightly.

I don't believe I am overstating this. I do believe that there are HUGE forces at work in the world of business and in society in general that constrain the wonderful organism that is life from working at its "edge of chaos" best.

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