As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been trying to use my blog to draw connections between two things I am currently doing – chatting/blogging with those in LDRS 1016 Exploring Citizen Leadership about things I care about and chatting/blogging with those in GRAD 5974 Cognition, Learning, and the Internet about things I care about. I’ve been concerned that sometimes it might seem forced… tonight though, I seem to have something relevant to both worlds that I can’t seem to shake out of my mind.
I saw some of the buzz about Facebook’s filing for IPO – most of which focused on the massive amounts of money to be made by the many people with stake in the company – the most of which being Mark Zuckerberg’s possible $28 billion based on his 28% share in Facebook (aside from a $500,000 annual salary and use of a private jet http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/01/facebook-ipo-filing-revea_n_1248434.html) Though I don’t want to draw any conclusions about how good, evil, neither, or both Zuckerberg and Facebook might be… I want to focus on some words the Huffington post article attributes to Zuckerberg – “We don’t build services to make money. We make money to build better services.”
Do you think anyone integrally involved with Facebook (or Google, or Twitter, or…) ever sits back and just takes it all in? Basks in the happy thoughts of all the friends and family reconnected across geographic and chronological divides? Relishes in knowing the time saved for a busy parent needing a quick recipe to get a meal on the table before sports practice? Savors in knowing the social movement voiced or facilitated by the rapid and worldwide connection offered by the Internet?
I hope so. The topic in LDRS 1016 tomorrow is “Leader as Convener” – this idea that maybe being the one who subtly or not so subtly creates the environment for a community to gather, debate, break bread, cry, or collaborate might be just as meaningful as the one in front of the podium, or the first through the gate. Maybe there is purpose, fulfillment, and joy in Facebook that transcends the obscene amounts of money involved.
A favorite quote by Lao Tzu is “Imagine that you are a midwife: you are assisting at someone else’s birth. Do good without show or fuss. Facilitate what is happening rather that what you think ought to be happening. When the baby is born, the mother will rightly say: ‘We did it ourselves'”
Perhaps we should reclaim the value in this type of work. What if a teacher’s measure of success was somehow related to the learning environment created rather than student overall ratings or grade distributions? What if student’s were measured on how they impacted the learning of other students and the classroom environment itself in addition to individual assessment? What if a leader weren’t measured by singular acts, but found deep fulfillment in the success of others and the team? I am not suggesting this as some sort of “be-all and end-all” approach. Rather, what we valued this as much as we value other traits more commonly associated with leadership (assertiveness or charisma for example)? What say you?