Thursday, June 10, 2010

Do you fear technical things?

Figure 20 from Charles Darwin's The Expression...Image via Wikipedia

One time I got a call whether I know what to look for when you buy a laptop. Or people ask if I know how you can make Outlook address list. Or what a great mobile provider is in the Netherlands. Things I do not know but apparently I have given them the impression that I might know. People are surprised to discover that I do not know how turn up the volume of my phone too (secretly they are glad too:). Somehow my ICT knowledge is overrated because I work a lot with social media and facilitate online.

On my blog I recently wrote about various responsibilities of an online facilitator. You can organize tasks in different ways, of course, but I have used the following main categories:

* Managing / promoting social networking and connections
* Guiding the process of online learning and communication
* Technical tasks
* Monitor progress (this may sound like a logical task, but online is important because you have less visual feedback loops..).

The funny thing is that the technical tasks are hence only one aspect of online facilitation, while it receives a lot more attention. At times solutions to difficulties are sometimes sought in the technology, while the problem lies in the social process; for example when the right people are not hooked up. In our online course facilitation, we asked participants what they dread to see, and most of the responses was about failing technology! A skype connection fails, a bad sound etc.

I think this fear of technology deters some face-to-face process facilitators to move online towards 'boundaryless facilitation' as coined by Lisa Kimball. Too bad, because I think these people would be great online facilitators! Do you recognize this fear of technology? How do you deal with it?
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