Of course, I disagree with Clay Shirky. In the end, *I* am going to link to what I write, and if I lead others, they may also.
Secrets have always driven me nuts. Unless you’re dealing with strictly confidential information, military secrets, the identities of CIA operatives, there’s really no reason why government and education should be keeping secrets about their decision making process.
Social media has made it possible for everyone to questions the motivations behind why someone does something…rather, it has heightened the need for increased transparency. Just because a school district or organization web site says, “This is the truth…trust me” does not mean that inquiry and questionning end there.
But isn’t that where authority comes from traditionally? If I say it’s over as the leader, then the conversation is over. This implies trust that comes from the leader knowing something the others don’t. Rather than sharing how s/he arrived at his own or her own conclusions, the leader decides that others don’t need to know and that’s that.
Transparency in leadership is even more essential now. Whether we characterize that transparency as honesty, trust because leaders must do what is right above all. New technologies empower leaders to do what is right and more easily help others understand what they are doing and why through the links they make.
So, that’s one sense in which transparency is the new objectivity. What we used to believe because we thought the author was objective we now believe because we can see through the author’s writings to the sources and values that brought her to that position. Transparency gives the reader information by which she can undo some of the unintended effects of the ever-present biases. Transparency brings us to reliability the way objectivity used to.
This change is epochal.
Objectivity used be presented as a stopping point for belief: If the source is objective and well-informed, you have sufficient reason to believe. That was part of high-end newspapers’ claimed value: You can’t believe what you read in a slanted tabloid, but our news is objective, so your inquiry can come to rest here. Credentialing systems had the same basic rhythm: You can stop your quest once you come to a credentialed authority who says, “I got this. You can believe it.” End of story.
We thought that that was how knowledge works, but it turns out that it’s really just how paper works. In a linked medium transparency prospers, for you can literally see the connections between the final draft’s claims and the ideas that informed it. Paper, on the other hand, sucks at links. You can look up the footnote, but that’s an expensive, time-consuming activity more likely to result in failure than success. So, during the Age of Paper, we got used to the idea that authority comes in the form of a stop sign: You’ve reached a source whose reliability requires no further inquiry.
Source: http://www.hyperorg.com/backissues/joho-aug18-09.html#transparency via Will Richardson’s tweet
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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure