Friday, November 6, 2009

too much - web 2.0

how easily are we flooded with too much?

whether it is too much information, responsibility, stress or any number of issues I seem to have trouble defining when I have enough.

on the other hand, love, fun, respect and other feel good inputs into our lives I think we have no such issue, when they are from natural sources. I think . . . . .

on a personal level we seem to be able to put into words what this means. we don't necessarily have the capacity or incentive to do anything about it though.

What about our community organizations and the people behind them? What do the leaders of these community groups face in terms of public expectations?

Enter the "opportunity" of using the internet to reach out to members of the community in their home and then the potential of the great web 2.0 to create opportunity for interaction. Great promise for real connection, right?

I was recently commenting (may have actually been mild complaining with an attempt to be funny) on a recent announcement by a leader of a community group in my life. He is the pastor of our church and I consider him to be a mentor of many (myself included) and an authentic leader and appreciate the effort that he takes to share his insight. His announcement was that he would be blogging on the internet and I quickly went to check out what he had been posting. I was disappointed to find that being able to provide comments was disabled. My "comment" was to his colleague and obviously I must have been looking for agreement in sharing this with him. Being "right" is far too important to me (I am working on that).

Anyhow, I find myself thinking about this expectation on the bus ride into work the next day. Is it fair for me, or anyone, to expect a local community leader to open themselves up to being a virtual community leader? Web 2.0 is remarkably good at enabling discussion but it hasn't exactly invented the - grammar check - or - clarity check - button to go with the - spell check - button let alone the - quality check - or - relevancy check - button. Is a human life in India or Russia or China worth any less than one in my local community? The answer of course is a resounding "No!", of course, but the nature of the internet and particularly web 2.0 which provided a new level of embedding interaction has meant that we can easily push those people that we look to for direction in to the "red" on "their too" much meter very easily with a global audience at the ready for their time.

So, where do we draw the line?

If we expect someone to offer us their wisdom and outlook on the world, how much time do we expect them to spend dealing with feedback on that information as compared to working on the next piece of information? Which feedback should they ignore, delete and respond to? Do we accept the risk that they can be harmed in some way by the words that someone can provide in their feedback? The freedom of speech, and relative anonymity of the internet, certainly has provided an opportunity for those willing to spread their hate in the world and there is a real risk that it could fall upon our chosen author/leader.

If we could get agreement on which sources of feedback we agree are a good use of this person's time, how much time should be allocated to responding to the feedback? Web 2.0 is great in that there is opportunity for feedback to be included with the content itself but many of the comments require a response from the author to provide closure or clarity and the comments are not always easy to respond to. When feedback includes intellectual challenge the time to respond to the feedback can take as long, or longer, than the time it took to make the original post.

Web 2.0 has indeed enabled discussion within content but can you imagine attending a presentation in real life where after preparing for days to present their topic and upon a successful completion of its delivery to a large group of people the presenter learns that the audience has had his content for days and have prepared extensive feedback, that they expect a response to, that is equally well researched and though out. I expect this person to turn on comments so others can provide their feedback when the audience potential audience actually exists? No, not any more.

In those situations such as my blog I think it is safe to leave comments on since all 6 of you reading this will not likely try to make my life difficult on purpose but to someone in the public eye and in a position of leadership there is a risk to be considered.

I apologize for my over use of "quotes" in this post, my quality checker is on the fritz today and I am too lazy to determine the "appropriateness" of each quote. Just imagine me putting my fingers up with each instance, give yourself a good laugh and then place your comments below.

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