Competing with your inbox

Sean Stannard Stockton who was blogging the COF conference alongside me in Seattle, puts forward some right-on ideas about how to keep the conversations going. He is more optimistic than I am that the COF participants are really going to use new technologies to keep the conversations going. And its actually old tech at this point, we're talking podcasts, listservs, blog comments, and video streams, not Kyte or Jambo or Twitter, or something actually new.

Why? Well it may be just because Sean is younger than I am. But I don't think this is just an age or tech-friendly issue. I think its the vortex of the inbox. Back in our offices the siren song of work-as-usual will pull the most well-intentioned of us back to doing what we were doing before we learned something/challenged an idea/had a new thought/met a new colleague at a conference. I am as likely to do this as anyone. I'm also a perennial optimist that if we just keep showing folks how to use the tools, they'll come along now, any minute. So, for my first post-conference -work-differently act I'm going to do something very different for me. I am going "ask, not tell."

Instead of telling (blogging about) how easy it is to use technology to keep up a discussion - I thought I'd ask you something else:

Is there anything you thought about, learned, wondered, had more to say about from the conversations in Seattle? If so, how do those ideas or questions relate to what is in your inbox? To the stuff you should be doing? Is there some way to tackle (perhaps even improve) the work you have to do today by reaching out to someone/someplace/something you learned about in the conference? If so, how are you going to do it?
Or, as I stated it in response to Sean's post:

"Well said, Sean. I agree with all of it. Lets push and pull and see if we can make some of this happen. Remembering, of course, that as soon as everyone returns home we must compete against their inboxes for attention.

Another way of asking the question Sean asks is this? You spent several days in Seattle. What question do you have that is still unanswered, that is related to what is in your inbox, and that you'd like to keep discussing? What will happen to that question if you continue with business as usual? What ways might you actually pursue an answer or a discussion about the question if you could stay in touch with other participants, speakers, or people you passed in the halls of the Seattle Convention Center?

Many of us intend to keep learning, keep in touch, get right back to you about your idea, or follow up on a new thought - and then look up at 5 pm and realize we've been head-down in the usual usual? Before you know it, its Friday. Then next week. And the next conference.

The trick isn't the technology. Its the time and the purpose - how do integrate new ideas into your daily work? What incentives do you need? What problems must you solve? How will you do it?


Gillian said...

Yes, there's something new I learnt, but not at Seattle. Was it new, or did I encounter it one more time again, so my fluctuating horizon took one more step outwards?

I applaud your encouragement to us to try something new - again and again. The old and familiar draws us back to the inertia of the familiar.

See my blog today about new horizons ...

Bruce Trachtenberg said...

I wouldn't limit this to just questions people want to keep asking each other, but I'd hope some folks would be willing to say what they plan to do differently based on what they learned and heard and then keep the rest of us informed about what's happening.