Monday, August 30, 2010

Are Conversations Still Alive and Well?

Mitch Joel, in his blog Six Pixels of Separation asked "Are we seeing a new shift in Social Media? Are the conversations dead? Were they ever - really - alive?"

Yes, Mitch, conversations are still alive although floundering. Our organization ICCO (International Consortium for Coaching in Organizations) not only creates venues to have these generative conversations but make sure we keep the numbers small so we can approach the topics of the day, the future, and what organizations are living from multiple perspectives to create solutions. Those conversations don't happen talking at people.  They happen at in person edgy conversations that aren't happening anywhere else.These conversations continue through social media. Our Facebook, LinkedIn groups are alive and well and we continue the back and forth that was started in person.

I believe people engage in social media to get messages out there, and perhaps to get input. I see the power of blogs (evident as I'm posting on one right now) and how blogs like Mitch's get my mind going so I can share my perspectives with you.  I don't believe gathering a gazillion twitter followers and letting them know I'm having coffee at the Starbucks in Washington is going to stimulate (sorry about the pun) anyone's thinking or learning.

So again I find myself waffling about whether or not to keep my twitter going.

Conversations are powerful. They're necessary so we don't become a superficial world. In my book Leaders, Their Stories, Their Words, I explore this with Barry Libert who insists that a combination of social media and in person conversation is what's necessary to keep a healthy balance. I agree. Connection happens in two way conversations. Thanks for the reality check Mitch!

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