Chilling Remarks - When Content Curation is Misconstrued

Jerram Froese read one of my tweets from the past 48 hours--The school that swapped its laptops for iPads...and wants to switch back--and then posted a multimedia response to the article. So, the pushback came in two varieties: the first for the article (not that important from my perspective), and the second for the idea that we should "vett" what we tweet because it will be associated with our name.

As long-time readers of this blog know, I am an avid apprentice to the Crucial Conversations/Crucial Confrontations books. When encountering a situation, we typically short-circuit the process, telling ourselves a story about what we think we know, then enjoying the "Feelings Wild Ride." For some folks, that's righteous anger that finds destructive expression, while for others, it is a retreat into silence. I have been guilty of both. The authors of the CC books suggest a different approach known as STATE. This is an acronym that represents the following:
  • Share Your Facts
  • Tell Your Story
  • Ask for others' paths
  • Talk tentatively
  • Encourage Testing
When I listened to Jerram's video, I found myself getting angry. I wanted to leave a nasty comment and ask, "How could you imply that I've posted something that SHOULD NOT get more attention? What proof do you have that the article is biased?" Then, I took a moment (a moment, no more) and noticed my feelings. Why was I feeling this way? Had Jerram's remarks been accurate and I just didn't like being challenged? Or, had they been inaccurate and I felt I'd had no defense in Jerram's video? As I reflect on my experience of watching the video and listening to Jerram, I had to ask myself what was it that he was saying?

My interpretation from listening to the video twice was that the article in question raised some red flags for him because it seemed biased, and that this article should not be tweeted because of the red flags. As a result, Jerram's point irritated me because the story he was telling, even unintentionally, went something like this:
"Miguel's made a poor decision about what to retweet. That article is obviously biased and shouldn't be given any more attention. How could Miguel have made that decision to tweet that article?" Now, I could be completely wrong, but then I realized what an opportunity this "gut-reaction" on my part represented!
What if instead of getting angry, no matter how briefly, I worked through the video response and used STATE? I find that it's easy to indulge in these kinds of emotions, letting them hijaack your brain and reasoning. That's what makes processes like these so important.

Share Your Facts: When I have a free moment (e.g. during a workout routine, standing in line at the grocery story, a commercial break during a television show), I will take that time to skim information from Zite and other locations. Since I don't have much time to spend, I tend to take 1 of 3 actions:
  1. I clip the article to EverNote if I feel something is worth keeping;
  2. I tweet it if I want to take a longer look at it later and/or think that it doesn't quite merit being kept "forever in Evernote;" also, I subscribe to my tweets as part of RSS feed so they show up in my GoogleReader...what I tweet or favorite, I later revisit or read again; or
  3. I send it to Facebook if it's an engaging image or video that family would enjoy, keeping in mind that anything I send to Evernote and/or Twitter automatically gets posted to Facebook as a public item.
In the specific case of the article about laptops vs iPads, I found interesting enough to tweet, but not to keep in Evernote. That was a split second judgement. Jerram's video makes me ask, "Was that judgement being perceived differently than I intended?"

Tell Your Story: When I skimmed the article (whenever that was), I thought it was interesting enough to tweet to others. I didn't consider that it was biased, factual or truth, it was interesting and fell into my "range" of topics that I consider worthy of my further consideration. This article, like the others I share when I'm skimming content, evoked a response from some who read it. Essentially, "What would be your response to this campus?" And, my response, equally brief, was something along the lines of the following:
"If these folks need a laptop, they should get an inexpensive one running UbuntuLinux (LibreOffice opens docx without serious problem) and change their workflows to match that of the iPad." And, though I ran out of 140 characters, I would also have said "Stop whining! Drink the Kool-Aid!" The latter statement because when you buy into Apple products, you have to accept the Apple ecology, their way of getting things done (e.g. the new plug they launched yesterday being one example).
Now, my story about all this is one of content curation. For me, tweeting, blogging, Evernote clippings, etc. are how I process information, and/or engage in content curation. Whether I tweet it, blog it, clip it, there's no clear way I've marked outgoing content as "worthy" or "unworthy" of attention. And, such an effort would be futile. No, the ultimate measure of what I tweet, blog, clip is whether it's useful to me in some way. Even my most RT'd blog pieces involve my struggle to understand something and come to terms (or not) with it.

It's part of being transparent with my reading habits, as well as sharing what I'm learning as I'm learning it. Maybe my current approach to content curation needs to involve more clues so others who follow me will know what I intend?

Ask for Others' Paths: Based on what Jerram recorded via Screenr, it appears that his approach to sharing is different. For him, sharing something on Twitter appears to involve an endorsement of the idea. Hence, his remark that this article would not be something he retweets. Now, I'm not sure if that's what he's saying, but that's my interpretation of his video. I don't want to imply that he was being unnecessarily critical in the video, or that such an opinion of how Twitter works is not the way it SHOULD be (or not). I do want to say that MY approach to using these tools appears to be different based on what he said in the video.

Encourage Testing: I'm not sure if my interpretation of Jerram's video is accurate, so I'm definitely inviting others to watch the video and then share what they thought. If the purpose of the video is to garner attention to an article that probably is biased or ill-considered, then my request won't detract from that purpose.

Now, you may notice I've left out the "Talk tentatively" portion of STATE. I hope I've done that throughout this blog entry....

In regards to the original issue of the article and whether it deserves the attention this conversation has given it, probably it doesn't deserve the attention. I'm more interested in what happens AFTER I share something with others and they decide that it means one thing when in truth, it may not have meant anything from my perspective.

Even more fun is the chance to apply STATE to my emotional reactions and play with the concepts. Do you ever do that?


Sue Waters said…
Hi Miguel,

Thanks for taking the time to write this post because I think it is an important discussion to be had. Like you I also tweet links that I think others might be interested in reading.

I may share a link because I feel it is an important article to read or because it's making me reflect and I want others to reflect as well. If I've tweeted the link to reflect it doesn't imply I necessarily agree with all the information but it does means I'm probably considering the implications.

I also tweeted the same post on iPads. Perhaps I even originally saw it tweeted from your account. Did I agree with everything in the article? No. But I did think that reflecting on our one to one implementation decisions are important.

I hope that people appreciate the links I tweet but ultimately when it comes to Twitter everyone has their own expectations on how others should use it. Some people love my random conversational tweets while others don't. Those that love the random conversations might be missing them now I'm sharing more links. If some one chooses to judgement me based on what they feel is a poor choice of article to share that is their choice.
Jerram Froese said…

Thank you so much for laying out your thinking on this - I appreciate that SO much!

I think what this boils down to is that we all have our own policies for how we curate content - a process that is, as we know, leveraged by companies like twitter to deliver additional content and additional advertising to our own personal screens.

Different Styles: We each take ownership of our online 'style' and that comes in different forms. One style might be to create as much as possible with the sole intent to draw connections and bring people to content that falls within our realm of interest. Another style may be to vett content and distribute/redistribute content that falls within certain parameters that we define. Either way, I think that both approaches have a positive intent and both have great value in their own respect.

Being Overt About Our Process: That said, my intent was to promote thinking about what our own policies are when it comes to tweeting online - curating content for others. Mine boil down to: No negative (ranting/venting - you should get a chuckle out of that one :) ); Must be related to profession (I give myself some leeway in building relationships and showing some personality); and filter for quality based on my own (biased) parameters. But, MY policies should in no way restrict what other's do, nor should they IMPOSE on how others curate content.

Reflections: THAT said, I offer an apology for not clarifying my intent up front. Knowing how well you process perspective, my assumption was that my intent was clear. I certainly see how I could be (was) interpreted as taking a hit at your content curation style and will work that into my own perceptions for future reference. Thank you for bringing that to light! Perhaps an upfront statement like, "Let's talk about how we each process through content curation - I have great respect for how much content Miguel processes, certainly more than I present to the community at any time. However, I think we can have a conversation about what we post and how our vetting process is reflected not only in our online personality, but in how corporations use our personal 'label' to push content on others. Let's explore..."

Thanks, once again, for your return challenge in thinking.

Appreciated as always,


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