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Narrate and Share


Principle research scientist Andrew McAfee at the Center for Digital Business in the MIT School of Management knows a thing or two about maintaining records, and keeping one’s information impeccably organized and reference-able.

In a discussion on Generation Y’s penchant for web 2.0-induced sharing, he presents some pretty cool insights on how this habit is beneficial for organizations. According to senior research analyst (NPR) Matt Gallivan, Gen-Y’s openness towards information sharing creates an environment where networking – and all its perks – thrive (i.e. job opps, collaborations, learning from others’ experiences, etc.).

But perhaps what’s most interesting in McAfee’s discussion is his preoccupation with Dave Winer’s concept “narrate your work” – how web 2.0 tools and social media provide platforms for digital record keeping. According to McAfee this is a major distinguishing factor between our approach to work and his generation’s.

We like to share information along our journey to a finished product, to talk openly about our work, including the challenges we face, points of interest we think others might find useful, all the while generating a digital trail of information and knowledge as we go.

What are the consequences of this tendency? Aside from generating an open-source environment, elevating levels of productivity and knowledge sharing?

In my opinion, it’s the actual archival part that’s so thrilling. A hot topic for companies and corporations is how to manage the information and learning that goes on both inside and outside of their walls. How can they keep track of ideas, sources of inspiration, things learned along the way to implement at a later date? How can they maintain this “creative” (ugh there’s that word) stock or slack in a cost-efficient way? Perhaps this is the solution.

I, personally, have always been interested in the way people organize their information. If you’re a pack rat like me you too might feel bombarded by piles of documents on your coffee table/desktop/filing cabinet. I have a tendency to hold on to every article and every inspiring photo I come across in the event that I might need it down the road.

This information-hoarding grows particularly frustrating the more and more I reference online material. Books and PDF formatted articles are easily manageable, but for blogs and html formats, social media platforms not only allow one to share what they’re reading in real-time, but allows that information to be stored in one convenient location.

Now this concept of cloud storage is by no means new. However, what’s particularly distinguishing is this integration of socialization and information sharing into one incessantly used platform like facebook, twitter etc. This inclination to post information across social platforms (not just professional ones) means that we are developing a habit of record keeping, in quite a natural, un-coerced way.

As we grow increasingly reliant on this information storage technique the next challenges will be how to filter our vast sources and knowledge in a way that is equally, if not more conducive to sharing, to build this momentum of learning and propel it forward to new depths of originality and innovation…



The original article can be found here, including links to authors as cited by McAfee. Thanks to Professor Sidney Eve Matrix at Queen’s University for tweeting this article, and thanks to Francis Gosselin for the locution-inspired visual for this post.


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