Collaboration: more than just “serial partial attention”

I often find myself feeling as though I’m engaged in witty repartee with a buncha crack-heads. The transience of thought, viewed with even a small dollop of irony, is quite astonishing. I mean, bizarrely, the depth of the triviliazation is staggering. Or it would be, to anyone forming a sober appreciation.

I’m slowly recreating “GroundPlane” at on its own self-hosted site. I found myself tossing this block of text back and forth, trying to find the peg hole it slips into. I haven’t, yet, but don’t want to lose it, so I’ll blog it here.

“On the same page” is the place to be. Anytime we really need to get something done or really need to settle a dispute or conflict it becomes painfully clear that, far from being mind-readers, we really do have problems with communications.

If the name of the game is manipulation and conquest then that’s something else, but if what we’re doing requires cooperation and collaboration then, if what we’re up to matters, we need to get a handle on communications. And good communications means not treating people as though they were machines; we cooperate with humans, we collaborate with partners … robots we just give orders.

The situations we encounter are likely to be complicated … it’s hard to make complicated things simple and easy. So GroundPlane provides methods, tools and techniques to capture and represent what matters to each of us as individuals along with what confronts us all as team-members.

–bentrem 05JUNE07


2 Responses to Collaboration: more than just “serial partial attention”

  1. motownmutt says:

    Well put! I think you nailed something. There’s been recent discussion of “I’d like it all to be on my blog”, which I also agree with, in part. You bring up the larger point of, if it’s collaboration, “the same page”, is what we should all be on.

    And, while I may tweet like it, I’m not on crack. I think I’m struggling to find the compelling overall driving purpose that all of this fits into somehow. Thanks for bearing with me, while I figure that part out.

  2. bentrem says:

    @motownmutt Greetings and salutation!

    The way I describe it at a high level is that right now we’re “tool oriented”; we get a new technique or a new method and proceed to use that wacking everything in sight. (When I started web-logging, 1995, I had a clear purpose and aim in mind. The documents I laid out back then were very much like what someone might create with something like ClipMarks today, except better because each entry included a slab of text describing how the site related to my group’s work … rather than what’s more typical today, along the line of “This is a really neat site”. *grin*)

    Without meaning to be critical, “to find the overall driving purpose” is where I was at in 1975. The driving purpose was painfully clear to me: civic discourse that would secure the democratic nature of our community. It explicated itself in detail to me because … well … because I’m a technical communicator by nature. So, that’s what drives me.

    But what motivates me viscerally is how hundreds of thousands of people on hundreds of thousands of forums and discussion sites are burning up tens of millions of hours producing far more heat than light … if that doesn’t discourage folk and dissuade them from participation I don’t know what would.

    Also: have you looked into OpenAccess? To over-simplify: we should have full access to the products of publically funded research!


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