I often think that I am not teaching people in business anything new about social media  so much as helping them unlearn some bad habits about communication. Helping them to unlearn the use of management speak, the use of dispassionate third person language, the tone of aloofness that has seemed in the past to afford them protection.

I so well remember when I got my first real management job being petrified at the sense of responsibility. Like so many do I started trying to protect myself by wearing a tie and talking funny. Spouting stuff about “process” and “strategy” and “empowerment”. Thankfully I grabbed hold of myself, pulled myself back from that slippery slope and ditched the tie. Many don’t. They keep going and become so immersed in the nonsense that they forget how to be any other way.

Reminding them can be challenging. The trouble is it leaves them exposed – like the papier mache Mephistopheles of Conrad’s Heart Of Darkness:

“I let him run on, this papier-mâché Mephistopheles, and it seemed to me that if I tried I could poke my forefinger through him, and would find nothing inside but a little loose dirt, maybe…”

6 thoughts on “Unlearning

  1. Love it! I just spoke on social media and unlearning myself … keep up the excellent work.Jack Uldrichwww.unlearning101.com


  2. I came to your website to see if I could find a source for your Trojan Mice expression to quote in an acadmic publication and got sidetracked by your post. Am getting ready to ditch the ‘tie’. The book is drawing a big line under 15 years of academic activity. I will always like ideas, theories and concepts. My heart sings though at a) returning to doing stuff with people and b) not having to use turgid language – have not been able to avoid ‘process’ and ‘strategy’ and lots of other jargon in writing the book.What feels great is deliberately turning my back on it all. I can start to speak normal language again. It is going to take some practice.


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