Flushing the cache (aka beginner’s mind)

My first blog post was back in June 2003, on the subject of knowledge management. Over the next few years, I wrote quite a bit, and quite passionately, about KM and also started up a blog about autism, eventually merging the two into a single blog. My last post was in April 2011, following a blast of posts related to Autism Awareness Month.

I’m not really sure why I stopped. Partly it was the job. I was traveling quite a bit out to New Mexico doing some integration and testing on the project I was on at the time. And part of it was probably just simple burn out. I’d run out of things to say. Actually, I think I had just run out of new things to say. My thoughts kept coming back around to the same things, and even when I was posting about new stories or new events, it always seemed to be from the same frame of mind. And I’m not really one to repeat myself. (I kind of get that from my son.)

I’m also not really one to read what to me is repetitive writing. When I was younger I would subscribe to different magazines (pre-web!) on a variety of different topics. Invariably, though, the articles would repeat themselves. Not exactly, but the same basic things, over and over again. Of course, as I mentioned to someone on a different topic today, the challenge is providing content that new readers can access and find of value while also maintaining the interest of and providing value to current subscribers. Unfortunately, the scale usually tips in favor of the new reader.

When I started a new job in August 2011, as a solution designer and community manager on a large government enterprise social network, I thought the creative juices might start flowing again. And while I did start writing again, it almost all happened “behind the firewall” inside the ESN. And, unfortunately, I ended up repeating myself quite a bit from those earlier years from my blog; the state of KM and social inside the firewall in 2011 was about where it was outside the firewall in 2006 or so. Which in many ways was great: all that I had learned, all that I had written, all my ideas and suggestions to others on how all this could work were now my job, something I could actually put into practice as I helped the various organizations understand and adopt the principles.

I’ve missed blogging in public. Not that I’ve been away from it completely, at least as a reader. There is an incredible amount of great work going on in the realm of Enterprise Social Networks and, more specifically, the ideas around Working Out Loud, and I’ve been an avid consumer. I figured it was about time for me to start giving back again.

I considered simply rebooting my old blog(s), and picking up where I left off. In the end, though, I realized that I would be better off – and my thinking would be more free – if I flushed my mental cache, started with an empty cup, adopted a beginner’s mind. No doubt things will creep in from my past learning, but I will do my best to look at them fresh and anew.