I ask this question on the periphery of a lot of the questions that I pose. I would like to know just to whom we owe our talents and our learning. To whom are we beholden for our knowledge, for our engaged relationships and open-ended conversations. I believe that we are required to be beholden to one another simply by the structures that we create within our own environments. We construct a platform just so that we can rely on others for its use. We create steps forward that require us to use the hands of those that go before us in order to pull us up.
While this level of metaphor is nice, I would like to dig into the concrete. I believe that we are beholden to the people that offer us a taste. We must lean upon the people who give us the first introduction into an idea and then allow us to engage further. We are beholden to the early adopters, the fanboys and the mascots. We must believe in these people in order for them to give us their insights. These insights are non-negotiable fore us. We need them in order to survive. It allow us to not have to be on the bleeding edge all of the time.
We are beholden to the people who show us twitter, and how to use it in our own organizations. We are beholden to the people who show us how to screencast better. We ware beholden to those who show us how to remix (especially the ones who make us rethink our conceptions of what a remix can be… like creating a song-like discussion on Jamglue or do a remixed voiceover on a mathcast). We owe a lot to those who showed us how to not use bullet points in a slideshow. We are indebted to those who figured out backchannels before us.
We are beholden to these people because they have shown us what is possible. I want to contribute to this thinking. In fact, I want people to be beholden to me. I want them to look at me as a pioneer at something that will allow them to point a finger and say that I started them on the path toward better engagement or learning. While I don’t care why they point at me (even if it is to just laugh), for some reason I want that to be a part of something that can be an example of what to do next.
We are held together in a network and we are beholden to one another, but I think that we need to start working the tools and workflows back into their originators hands. We need to figure out just who the most important nodes of our network are and then work to figure out why they are so essential. We need to make ourselves that essential. We need to become those nodes. Those really hard questions about interdependence need to be had now, and we need to make sure that the answers we come up with do not take the relationship out of the picture. We need to be beholden to one another. We need to create the space for leaning on one another for what we need.
The real question is: Can I let myself be beholden? Today I would like to be beholden to @mwacker. I know that he will pick up where I leave off, but there is some part of me that still struggles because I can’t hand off the conversation and trust that there are other people who will take it up. I need to know that the people that I am going to put my faith in, will continue the work that I have started. But, I guess that is a part of being beholden. You don’t quite know what will come afterwards. You have to trust that the plans will be there. You have to trust that your engagement will be enough to draw out even the biggest skeptic. You have to engage in the process of coming together and learning from one another.
So,stated simply, we to figure out who the hubs are in our networks, become the hubs ourselves, and engage one another in the process of reliance and collaboration. We need to create networks where everyone is needed. We need to create spaces that actually have space for users. We need to have the facilitators spaces, and we need to have the back-channeling expert. We need to share far and wide about these spaces and who we need in those spaces to make them complete. We need to be beholden to others, but we need to pic who those “others” are.