Some quotes from a video I found on YouTube:
“They’re already socializing [online]; why not give them a venue where you can be part of the conversation?”
“The stuff that I know is valuable enough that people want to hear it.”
“We’re talking more… at all levels. I think we have to turn that transparency outward… and allow them to participate in the conversations as well.”
“Imagine a wikipedia not only populated by the masses looking for knowledge but also by a bunch of tech masters… who are also using the space for their own use. Now you’ve got the quality of the crowd and some zen masters.”
“We are moving from a role of being the ones who own the messages and deliver [them] to a role where we are just the facilitators. We’re encouraging, we’re enabling.”
I wish I could say these are quotes from students and teachers in some forward-looking, cutting edge school. Unfortunately, they’re not. They are Best Buy employees speaking in a video showcasing the company’s various social media tools and how they are helping to transform the company’s culture. Clarence Fisher was the first to bring it to my attention in a brief post and the timing couldn’t be better: I’ll be introducing wikis to teachers in my inservice “New Technologies Seminar” course next week.
Now I’m no huge fan of Best Buy. I was there last week and grew angry as I hovered next to two blue-shirted salespeople who were more interested in talking to each other than in helping me – and even angrier when I discovered that the GPS I wanted was out of stock. But they certainly drank Circuit City’s milkshake and it seems like they are doing about as well as any retail outfit can in this economy. Watching this video tells me that at least they’re trying. Maybe one of those sales guys will be a little more attentive to his customers after reading about good customer service on the company’s wiki.
I’m sure many educators look down on places like Best Buy and the people who work there: pedestrian, commercial, too “Madison Ave.” But if they can adopt these new technologies to serve their customers better, why can’t we? No excuses in the video, no whining about time and training: just “I think what I have to say has value and I’m glad I have a place where I can express it, and read what my colleagues have to say, too.”
I hope that the day comes soon when it’s the educators who are providing the money quotes about collaboration, sharing, and empowerment, not floor workers in a retail electronics store.