Silence of the Clams – why is the workplace sector blogshy?

On “crowded Thursday “ this year, I attended and part-chaired the Workplace Trends conference. The event was live-blogged by @SuButcher who subsequently also put up a post with five reasons why this is a good idea

Now, this blog was already drafted on the back of a (thankfully large) Costa receipt – in many respects following from a much earlier post about why the industry shuns social media – when I read point four of Su’s five –

“Much lively discussion at an event is lost between the participants, and live blogging and twitter, together with encouraging attendees to write about the event online afterwards, can encourage richness and a continuation of themes well into the future”.

Great – but it hasn’t happened. Again.

So why is the workplace/property industry so blogshy? Why – when the HR profession openly and energetically shares its views, perspectives and passions – is this one almost mute?

The lack of discussion amongst those who I know to have a lot to say is stunting the growth and development of the profession. If conferences such as Workplace Trends cannot stimulate debate, then what can? Consultants will blog because its aids presence and business development, but is the lack of open sharing of ideas by corporate practitioners that is most concerning. By not participating, the development of knowledge and ideas within the profession is dangerously left in the hands of too few.

So what are the reasons for the silence? Perhaps it is…..

  1. Time – but I maintain that if we have time to think it, we have time to write it – and plenty o other professionals do
  2. Technology – there are enough free blog sites in existence, and they are really not difficult to use
  3. Employer – there is no reason why a blog cannot be personal, distinct and targeted at the development of the profession
  4. Fear – will blogs be criticised? Yes, probably, but that’s part of the development of ideas, and like we should not be afraid of failure, we should not be afraid of appraisal
  5. IP – true there is a value to ideas, but we now need to give more and more away for free, and trust that there is more to come
  6. Over-reliance on traditional events with hand-to-mouth delivery of information – at an unconfrenece, you don’t get away with not participating, and so its time to bring the format into the workplace arena
  7. Nothing to say – is it all a charade?

I want to hear what my peers have to say. I want to challenge them, and have them challenge me when I say what I want. I don’t want to have to keep turning up at organised events and gatherings to try and do so in the precious little networking time afforded. And if I do, I would like to hope that the issues raised would be discussed long into the future.

It is time for the clams to open.

8 thoughts on “Silence of the Clams – why is the workplace sector blogshy?

  1. Neal: very well observed, and hits home with me as getting my thoughts together and writing them down is always on my list but never gets done. So I will try and rise to the challenge, write something workplace design related and perhaps you can host it on your blog site as a special guest appearance. Nothing focuses the mind like a deadline ( another reason to add to your list, for without a due date I am lost…) so lets say by the end of this week I will have something together. Thanks for the kick in the ass!

  2. It’s an interesting one, Neil. And an odd one for me to comment on too. I joined the HR blogging community in Dec 2009. At first, I didn’t know there were other HR types blogging away. It took a while to find others who did, mostly through Twitter. Beyond that, there was a lot of online conversation that took place before the first #connectinghr unconference was held in Oct 2010. That, I believe, was quite a defining moment for all concerned. Suddenly it didn’t just become real, but there was purpose behind our actions.

    From how I’ve seen the community grow, all I can offer is that it takes time for others to realise they too can have a voice and that it can be shared. I have no idea of the number of people actively involved in #connectinghr type discussions, but I imagine it’s growing at a steady pace. And that will be more through word of mouth that curiosity about social media. And as others start to interact with it more regularly, they see that there are options to share your voice.

    I hear your frustration, and would encourage to keep doing the same. I don’t know other FM types, but you’re clearly setting a path for how things can be in that world. Be a shame to let frustration get in the way of growth eh what.

  3. Would love to leave a a more detailed comment Neil, but another excuse is that we’re too busy trying to earn a crust. Margins are tight, the hours are long, rewards are few and something has to give. This is commonly the family, networking and development.

    PS. Good to hear that you’re still out there and mixing it up! Well done amigo.

  4. My quick views are:

    1 Others have less than you to say
    2 The day job is everything for some people at the moment
    3 It’s in the “too difficult box” for some
    4 Some considerer that they are protecting competitive advantage for their private sector employer. We sharers are in the minority
    5 Blogging is still in its infancy to some


  5. Neal you hit the nail on the head with this one. There is so much talent and knowledge out there and when we get together we have the potential to create fantastic programs. Many have fear of employer reprisal if the opinions they express are not the same as their boss, but without the ability to express those opinions and contribute to a global body of knowledge we limit ourselves in our own development. Speak your mind, discuss your experiences and lets all learn together. Individually we are very good at what we do, imagine our success if we work together.

  6. Great reply from Brian – go for it! Shame that Jeremy and Neil have added more fuel to the ‘everyone is guilty of the good they didn’t do’ fire (thanks to Voltaire for that one). I run my own business and I’m not unsympathetic to some of the points and I also believe that sharing thoughts and ideas is at the core of reversing the earn a crust/job is everything spiral. I hope you folks find the time to try a few new things and that in turn they will enrich you, your associates and families. There are better things around you and out there than the crushing dirge and uncertainty that many employers sadly want you to believe.

    Keep up the great work Neil.

  7. Neil,

    Perhaps we should all take a more encouraging approach to virgin bloggers in the hope that it will stimulate their journalistic promiscuity.

    I genuinely believe a lot of people want to, but just dont know how. Lets lead them to the tools.

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