8

MASS ILLITERACY

Despite the fact that much of the communication done in organizations is in writing, we are not generally very good at it. We don’t take it seriously. We don’t get taught how to do it. Blogging and other social tools are tools that encourage literacy of a new kind. This could revolutionize business.

We touched on how poor business communication is in the last chapter. Much of what we have to read at work is badly written, uninspiring, and written for all the wrong reasons. Social tools, in contrast, are like a new form of literature. Being literate in a new way. Writing in a way that calls on you to develop skills that have normally been the preserve of published writers. Firstly when you have a blog or tweet you have a reason to notice things. You become more observant. When you are out in the world, your skills of observation improve and you notice more – what is working, what isn’t, why things happen the way they do. Having noticed these things you then try to work out the meaning of what you have observed. Why is it interesting, what is the essence of it, how would you convey this essence to others? Then you have to work out how to say all this in words. You have to get good with words, and with translating ideas into words that work. Over time you get better at this. Like every other form of writer – and I am not ashamed to use that word in this context – you refine your skills and, dare I say it, your art. Why be squeamish about the art of effective communication? ...

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