The Boston KM Forum convened at Bentley College this past week with a blend of academics, practitioners, vendors, and evangelists appending the big 2.0 to their own take on the topicalities of what David Brooks is calling the Bad Memory Century. In The Great Forgetting Brooks pits the memory-haves against the memory-have-nots for control of total ... well incomplete recall. Faulty wiring challenges our recollections of whether we've: (1) intentionally deleted KM 1.0 or (2) reigned in an excessive 2.0 that discards all remembrances of where 1.0 was heading when 2.0 took over.
Bentley CS Professor Mark Frydenberg asked us the main difference between the two releases. I don't know whether it was more telling that no one answered his question because it was too obvious -- or really that hard to answer? He said the 1.0 was about getting to content and 2.0 was about getting to people. Hard to refute? I guess.
But to me the greater divide harkens back to The Machine is Us(ing) replay that began his discussion. Is it really about how we use technology? If we reverse roles with our social 2.0 toys could we really prove they were helping us get where we wanted 2.0 to take us? Did we even have a destination in mind?
Don't get me wrong. I can see how a LinkedIn profile or even a Facebook page could make the difference between landing a contract and receding into the dead contractor pile. But is eavesdropping on the recent bookmarkings of a Del.icio.us tagger a course of action? Is observing a bunch of Beltway commentators yammering on and then blogging about it a call to action? More to the point: has our technology convinced us that the gossiping of speculations and observances are substitutions for taking a risk or bringing an idea to life?
If I vote for a news story on Digg about George Soros and reflexivity do I expect an uptick of interest across the blogosphere in perception measurement? There's a difference between an action item and a thought bubble. And when I last cracked the window most realities looked at the experiential world through the lens of direct engagement, not high def screens, taking leave of one's chair, not our other senses.
If I choose not to answer Frydenberg's 2.0 quiz out loud but look for unverbalized responses on Twitter does that enrich those fleeting moments before the Great Forgetting reasserts itself? If you're performing on stage living in the moment can be a redemptive, even sacred part of a luscious experience. But in a 2.0 state, life is no longer the contact sport we were raised to play. It is a fantasy league.
Maybe that's the 2.0 world that our children will look back on when the dawning of their 21st Century begins to fade? Living in our heads. An entire to-do list mapped out in a series of keystrokes. For digital immigrants like me short-term memory is trapped in the immediacy -- dare I say the tyranny -- of now. To indulge this temptation any further would be to grade the notes passed in class with the same deliberation we once reserved for term papers.
- Marc Solomon
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