Participation in x2.0 requires literate thinking

Jim McGee is thinking about "enterprise 2.0" and the importance of thinking styles.  Literate thinking as a barrier to Enterprise 2.0 adoption

Most of the technologies lumped under the Enterprise 2.0 label presuppose some facility with the written word. I wonder to what extent that presents a barrier to adoption in many organizations? Moreover, I wonder how visible that organizational barrier is to those who are already facile?

Jim's going deeper than I have in the past, but there are two threads here.  One that he has addressed before on the idea that people in leadership circles exhibit more oral thinking than literate.  The other, related, thread is the basic idea that if people are expected to contribute (blogs, wikis), then they need to be able to contribute.  For the most part this means that they need to be able to write (and feel comfortable doing it).

Participation in a computer-mediated world is about writing.  And as Jim discusses it, this is more than being able to e-mail or slap together a PowerPoint deck.  It's about reading and writing for others and with others.

4 Comment(s)

James Dellow said:

Jack - I disagree that participation in the "computer-mediated world is about writing". I think that's just a limitation of the current environment - look at ideas like Storycast http://chieftech.blogspot.com/2005/06/storycast-from-hp-storytelling-with.html. Also, social bookmarking means productive participation can be extended beyond the core 1% without the need to write anything. Or if we go to sites like Swivel http://www.swivel.com/, then participation is something different altogether.

jackvinson Author Profile Page said:

James - You are right, of course. I was tempted to add a bunch of these counter-examples to my post, but I didn't want to dilute the concern. As it stands today, most of the technologies that we are employing within the for communication and knowledge sharing are text-based. There are great advances in everything from podcasts to Second Life (virtual, talking avatars) to the examples you cite. But the majority of the communications are still in the written word.

I was sure you were going to talk about visual communication instead of oral :) I think some chemists are just starting to work out reasonable ways to represent chemical structures on their blogs and we're starting to see better ways of sharing data so that it can be manipulated and visualized.

jackvinson Author Profile Page said:

Christina - There are many kinds of thinking, and this is a good point about people's natural inclinations. If you talk in chemical structures (drawings), it's hard to do that in a medium that doesn't make it easy to incorporate those drawings. I should know with my history in chemical engineering.

Fortunately, many of these barriers are being overcome: text, audio, video, images, graphics (even mind maps) can be used in the online world. I think Jim's original point is that there are people who are more comfortable in a mode that keeps them out of the "literate" web.

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This entry was published on March 8, 2007 9:54 PM and has 4 comment(s).

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