The Minor Miracle of the Backchannel

18 Sep

Two things happened over the last several weeks that have completely energized my professional engagement via social media, and reconfirmed my strong belief that the digital transformation of our work is just as important – perhaps more important – through in-person work as through distance communication.

In other words, it’s the digitization, not the environment or geography that’s truly transformational.

The first event was my ability to watch a great live talk by Nigel Paine, a renowned business consultant on leadership, learning and innovation. I was lucky to hear it, but there’s nothing particularly remarkable about hearing a respected industry leader speak live. What was remarkable was that I did so while sitting at my desk in Portland, Oregon, USA, while the Englishman spoke at a conference in Auckland, New Zealand. Another Twitter colleague, Nigel Young had the forethought and courtesy to stream the talk live via Periscope. I wrote about that singular event back in July. It was terrific.

Second, I have been following the backchannel of BIF2015 (The Business Innovation Factory Summit) in Providence, Rhode Island. I was unable to watch the broadcast live, though that ability was provided (thank you, BIF!). But, thanks to my professional Twitter community, I am able to read the backchannel of the event.

Through their tweets and retweets (aka the backchannel, where each tweet uses the specified hashtag, in this case #BIF2015), I heard the message of the speakers loud and clear. And so can you, here/hear from the last speaker of the day, Jaime Casap:

The power of our digital trails are so powerful. The more we can make them open, visible, retrievable and connective the better off we are. Twitter is a great vehicle for that, but it’s not the only one. This is exactly why I recommend, however, that organizations work on the practice of digital trail-making and digital storytelling before investing in the platform (ESN). Practice first, and you may find that the transparency and engagement it provides makes a proprietary, closed ESN unneeded and unwanted.

That really would be a minor miracle indeed.

Watch Jaime Casap’s talk (2:50:00 – 3:06:45) (It seems the recording of the conference is no longer online, at least at that URL. I’ll watch for a post of the talk in the coming days and update it here if it appears.)

5 Responses to “The Minor Miracle of the Backchannel”

  1. johannawyers September 18, 2015 at 8:25 am #

    Ben – What is ESN and what exactly do you mean when you say “closed ESN unneeded and unwanted”? I’m not quite following you right at the end of this post. The idea of companies using digital storytelling intrigues me. Also – reading the bit on education really sparked something in me, not necessarily because of backchanneling itself, but because of what is said in these few tweets that you posted above. In my WOL circle, I’m working on Greater Purpose. It’s challenging. Your post makes me want to know more about the work going on to prompt statements about changing the destiny of a family through the education of one family member.

  2. Benjamin D Carmel September 18, 2015 at 9:56 am #

    Hi Johanna,

    Thanks for your comments/questions. ESN is “Enterprise Social Networks” that allow folks within an organization to chat, coordinate, share and cooperate together (features vary by platform). I mean it’s closed because most don’t include outside open social platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Diigo, Pinterest, etc.). Some examples are Yammer, Jive, Convo, and SocialCast.

    As for how education can shape the destiny of families, that noble pursuit is not my area of expertise. I refer to Jaime Casap’s talk. You can find more about him and his work here:

    • johannawyers September 18, 2015 at 2:56 pm #

      Thank you Ben for the clarification.

  3. Renee Hopkins (@Renee_Hopkins) September 24, 2015 at 7:57 am #

    Hello! Thanks for the mention – we really try to get a good backchannel conversation going for this event. The storyteller videos are edited, so they’ll be released in late October. We also have an archive of the entire tweetstream for the #BIF2015 hashtag coming – we’ll make that public in a couple of weeks.

    • Benjamin D Carmel September 24, 2015 at 9:46 am #

      Thanks, Renee, that sounds great. I’ll highlight them when they are posted. And, hopefully next year I can attend in person.

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