Openness – Going Beyond Transparency

Openness is one of my pet things that’s been on my heart heavy for a few years and I’ve written about before. I read two things this week that conspired me to write some more.

One was JP talking about his ‘self-editing’ actions when posting a list of songs he has been listening to and his feelings about revealing to us all he listens to Boney M!

On our “social media” culture and the implied transparency he writes:

When I scanned the list I was very tempted to take out the Boney M song, but I didn’t. It felt like cheating. It felt like the equivalent of quietly kicking your golf ball out of the rough when no one’s watching. You don’t do that. It felt all wrong even though nobody was watching. So anyway I didn’t do it. And it made me ponder about the cultural and social implications of the renaissance of transparency that we’re all experiencing.

(emphasis mine)

Beyond the traditional idea of transparency, as a means of holding some external entity like public officials accountable and fighting corruption, the way we are all becoming more interconnected in different ways means that we are being called upon as individuals to hold ourselves accountable.

The focus has been turned inwards. More inversion.

If you think about the concept of Doc Searl’s ‘giant zero‘, we’d be standing on the inside of it pointing inwards with no wall between us. Or at least that’s where we seem to need to be.

Transparency assumes something in the way, a wall, a fence that, if not completely blocking the view, is somehow nonetheless a barrier. Openness means the way is clear – not just ‘see through’, but ‘go through’.

But while we might be experiencing something of a renaissance that starts with transparency, and I suggest is moving beyond it, social change never comes easy and we will need to find ways to adapt. This thought was bought home to me by something on the Naked yak blog.

Social Networks In The Limelight
Wherever there is change there is conflict. Maybe we are seeing the consequences of becoming more open.

Openness has consequences…and conflict, even if it’s within ourselves where we experience it. Certainly there’s signs on the interweb of this wrestling in regards to privacy, business ideas and personal experiences.

But opportunity is also a consequence of openness – a because effect. Opportunity for all kinds of things – connection, business, trust, markets, meaning…life.

I think it’s worth the risk.


[tags]openness, transparency, doc searls, giantzero, jprangaswami, change, shift, inversion[/tags]

2 thoughts on “Openness – Going Beyond Transparency

  1. Geez dude..that’s freaky. I wrote that the day you were at cegsa. Though has been coming for while.

    Lucychilli offered similar open post in comment on Lifekludger to my 3 levels of access post.

    Was Gerry’s keynote podcast?

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