Beware the Patterning from RSS Feeds

Blogging is like exercise – you need discipline and if you’ve stopped for quite a while, it’s so hard to get back into the rhythm. 

I have not blogged for a while now. I read interesting stuff and do interesting things but it seems like there just was not anything interesting to blog about. As I pondered on this, I finally arrived at the question “interesting to whom”? It appeared to me that I have an audience in my mind when I make the decision to blog or not. I have become curious as to why and since when has my audience been known to me. In the virtual world, the audience is meant to be mysterious and faceless, at least to a larger degree.

It dawned upon me that I have been engaged in forums and discussion groups, and reading blogs where there is a great deal of overlap in the personalities involved. A highly-respectable and profound group of people, their deep deliberations leave me mostly enriched and inspired though sometimes lost and occasionally, bored. Coming back to the clogging of my blogging, I realize that my decision to blog has been unconsciously influenced by what I think would interest them. Oh dear, I am in a “silo”!

It is not groupthink. Groupthink is where members avoid conflict or choose not to challenge opinions. It is more a patterning of thought that has occurred over time through constant exposure to particular “trains”, and while it reinforces understanding, it also requires a deliberate and conscious effort to stay objective and challenge opinions, get out of the mould.

So, is there a risk to subscribing to RSS feeds and sticking to particular forums? I think that on the information highway, it is human nature to stick to tried and tested roads – particular forums, blogs, etc that we like or find useful – and forget over time that new streets may have sprung up. A blogging “network” where members read and post comments on one another’s blogs and blog about one another’s blogposts is personally satisficing, culturally reinforcing but unsuspectingly limiting. OK, I expect lots of flack here. ☺

I think that it is helpful to open the mind to unfamiliar and unrelated material every now and then. It is so cool that a KM practitioner I know has got Madonna’s personal blog on his RSS feeds. Why? I don’t know for sure, but I would personally find trying to relate completely different material back to a KM context more stimulating that just reading KM material. It helps test our own understanding and acceptance of ideas. Interested in CoPs? What has bonsai got to do with it? What’s different about it? Interested in social networks? Read about airport planning. Are there social aspects to it? Why is it similar or unlike social networks?

OK, I’m back to blogging… and it has everything to do with our new corporate flogging programme!! ☺

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