Further to ongoing thought on this area, it’s not just Public or private. Of course. Duh.
It’s public, private, personal, political (with a small p)…
One’s personal thoughts may not be of interest to others (indeed one’s professional colleagues are quite likely to hold different opinions), and are quite likely to distract from the ongoing ‘grown-up-ness’ of the posting. Do you really want to read my quotes from Hunter S. Thompson circa 1969? I have a big urge to share them… So these need to be clearly sign-posted (or put somewhere else?). Grown up bloggers who I admire tell me that this is not news.
But, more interestingly are the political thoughts…
Let’s say that I feel like I have not been treated properly by a partner / colleague / employer / client / agent (heaven forbid). This is, obviously, entirely fictional.
This experience is likely to be very important to me, but, actually, no-one who isn’t involved really wants to know about it, do they?
There are dark underbellies to all activities, which people really don’t seem to want to know, and, just because I think it’s important, doesn’t mean it should be shared with the world (even if my ENTP nature makes it hard for me to keep my trap shut)… It’s a political issue, and therefore, needs to be handled ‘apropriately’ or ‘professionally’; not my favourite words to be honest, but perhaps one should try to deal with these things structurally without broadcasting them to the world. I have made this mistake a few times now I think about it, usually because I (know that) don’t think that the system will resolve the situation, or gives a hoot, or I just had to open my big mouth…
I’ve always been keen on us all learning from when things go wrong, and been absolutely fascinated with people’s obssessions to sweep bad jobs under an organisational carpet. It’s just too dumb for words and holds back any chance of organisational mental evolution we have.
This is one of the many things about KM I have always admired (lessons learnt for want of a better analogy), and stick to when working with people: ‘why did it go wrong?’ ‘how to avoid it in the future’ etc. When things go wrong, there is usually an avoidable reason which can be identified and resolved in an honourable manner.
At Contactivity one of the working groups proposed a journal series about exactly this, and in our forthcoming chapter in the next KnowledgeBoard community book (Ron Dvir and I are keenly looking forward to this), we point very clearly to the strengths and weaknesses of the event itself, and what we would not do again if we were to organise such a gig (which I dearly hope to one day).
Our recent final CILIP meeting was focused on capturing lessons learnt (the job was a good’un) in order not re-invent every wheel and help others. Surely everyone does this? Do they share it? I hear talk of NDAs which is always a bit of shame – why can’t an organisation let others know how an experimental membership community project went?
So… back to the embarrassing (theoretical) bit: if a gig goes ‘south’, does that make any public discussion of it ‘political’? Should all discussion be kept behind closed doors? Hmm. Is it one of those we don’t refer to because it’s too political? But by not referring to it, we’ll never learn, and learning is the best thing ever for everyone.
I don’t know, but either way, I reckon it’s all about thinking about what you are about to blather about from this perspective and actioning apropriately: public? private? personal? political?
E.g. the opening paragraph to David Hare’s Guardian piece about Alistair Campbell’s newly published and highly political/personal/public/private diaries
When years ago Richard Eyre showed me the manuscript of his painfully unedited diaries and asked me my opinion on whether he should publish them, I advised him vainly against. Richard was rightly admired as one of the strongest theatrical producers this country had ever known. Under his leadership the National Theatre had experienced a glorious period of vitality during which one actor, director and playwright after another had done their best work. Why on earth would he now wish to inform the world that his genuine distinction had been achieved against a relentless background of depression and self-questioning?