Starting to work out loud

John Stepper discusses how people can get started working out loud and shows examples of different types of networks that one could connect with. It’s very easy to understand, but not quite so easy to do. Most people are too busy managing in the industrial/information age workplace and have no slack to try to learn how work in the network age.

But they probably won’t. Because they’re already busy. Because they’re afraid to make a mistake or unsure of their writing or speaking skills. Because they’re simply not used to working this way.

The most important step in learning a new skill is the first one. This same step has to be repeated many times before it becomes a habit. As John concludes:

For these people I offer some very simple advice: Schedule time in your calendar for working out loud. Start with simple contributions. Keep shipping.

Over time, you’ll develop the skills you need to be effective and the habits you need to do it regularly.

I strongly suggest that the first step of starting to work out loud, as part of personal knowledge management, has to be as simple as possible.

first step

Free Your Bookmarks: This is a very simple shift that only requires a slight deviation from a common practice: saving bookmarks/favourites on your browser. Using tools like Diigo, or Delicious moves them off a single device, makes them more searchable, and (later) makes them shareable. Being able to share is usually not a prime reason why people start using social bookmarks.

Aggregate: Driving as many information sources as possible through a feed reader such as Google Reader or Feedly, saves time and helps stay organized. It’s amazing how many people do not understand RSS or how to grab a feed and save it. Aggregation makes information flows much easier to deal with.

Connect: How do you get started micro-blogging on a platform like Twitter? I suggest beginning with an aim in mind, such as professional development or staying current in a specific field. Use the search function to find people who post about your area of interest. Then follow no less than 20 and no more than 30 interesting people. Dip into the stream once or twice a day and read through any posts that interest you. Over time, as you follow links, you may add or delete feeds. Within a week or two, you should be able to sense some patterns and then can modify your stream to help you in learning more about the areas that interest you.

Sometimes we get all caught up in the latest social media tools. Getting started working out loud is not complicated and should not involve a steep learning curve on a complicated system. Start with simple tools and frameworks and then use your experience over time to modify them.

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