Analogies help explain things that are complicated; whether we overcomplicate them in the first place; possible and in some cases probable or whether they are things or processes that just aren’t easy to explain. I suppose it’s a sort of translation for the ‘man on the street’.

The only part of my school English syllabus that I really enjoyed was similies and metaphors. Something is like something or something is something etc. That’s probably why I like actions or events that represent something. I like the anticipation, the tradition; even though you know what is going to happen and what it means. I like how the action is the message. I’m not religious but have faith that things will happen; some probable, some possible. And to balance that out, I have doubts that some things won’t happen or need to change so that they will; I’m a realist too.

I watched the events broadcast from St. Peter’s Square (it isn’t square!) recently with a sense of anticipation. I just wanted to see the smoke and then what colour it was. I wasn’t interested in who was chosen to be Pope; I’ve recently lost faith that a whole team of blokes dressed in white can make a difference. I was more interested in the reveal and reaction from the crowd. I wasn’t disappointed. An hour of almost pantomime like theatre, not in a farce way, played out.

I’m also interested in why groups of people get together when they don’t know what the outcome of an event or process is going to be; moths around a flame as it were. I’ve recently been to an unconference #commscamp13; a set of seminars where you don’t know the specific content until the attendees actually get up and pitch for topics they want to discuss, share or learn about. I also went to #BettaKultcha in Leeds recently. This is people discussing random topics in a set time to a limited number of slides. The audience don’t know what the topics will be until the presenters start talking.

Both of these concepts are about anticipation, discovery, ego’s, introverts and extraverts, confidence and challenge. I’m still mulling over the ‘so what’ question and interested in both approaches and will no doubt explore the pitching/presenting thing at a later date.

On a similar line, after much organising and planning at work, a group of people from different services and departments across the council, who have volunteered to explore what the benefits of becoming more social media friendly might be, met for the first time. We are working with Abhay Adhikari (@gopaldass) and looking at voice, context and values and how they apply to digital identities. In other words, who we are, how we might come across, what tools we use and how it might help us in our work. And then how that might help in explaining what we do, in connecting and creating conversations with people we work with and for. Some interesting challenges and opportunities lay ahead.

It is part of a pilot to see if we can introduce new ways of working into areas of our organisation that have not yet embraced social media or fully realised the opportunities and benefits it can bring. These folk are supporting each other and sharing what they know and the skills they already have or will be learning. I didn’t mention civic enterprise or sociable organisations once. That Phil Kirby would be proud of me.

On the face of it, use of social media might not seem like a big deal for those who have been the early adopters. But it is for some of our service areas and it is for some of the people we serve. We don’t know exactly where we will end up but I have a good feeling, faith even, there will be some good outcomes and we will learn. I hope to continue my journey on this blog of better understanding living my life between personal and professional.

So I’m looking out for the white smoke as these caterpillars become butterflies.

Had to be ended that way!

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