30 November 2009

Being mindful of a hype cycle

At this stage the implicit motivation of the handful of staff has been enough to maintain a fairly high level of engagement with social media, spilling over into program and course development and general awareness in the faculty. Some staff have become enthusiastic with the potential, encouraging others to make contact with me and find out more about social media.

I sense this is the beginning of a critical moment however. One in which there will be a down turn in that initial enthusiasm, with a dampening of expectation when the reality of time constraints and technical ability present themselves. This sort of trend is common in my line of work, generally known as a hype cycle.

I am hoping however, that a small second wave will help buffer that down turn, as well as the finishing of the UCNISS website. At this stage, my approach to avoiding a trough too soon or too deep is to advise the early adopters to focus on the use of social media for their own professional development and research, and to hold off thinking about uses for teaching. This takes away the risks of a failure under teaching pressure, but the risk of not finding a useful synergy with research and professional development remains. Ben rightly points to the absence of any explicit incentive or reward for academics adopting social media practices, citing the Performance Development Review process at UC as a potential hindrance or driver.

Keane Wheeler has referred me to a number of coaching concepts that could be very helpful in my work to keep up momentum beyond the trough. Frameworks such as FITT (Frequency, Intensity, Time and Type) coaching. Ideas of "over compensation" in cognitive loading. Periodisation as a basis for thinking about timing and types of activity. And the writings of I. Balyi and T. Bompa for ideas relating to all of this. Coaching concepts are something I have not considered, and I realise now that there is no-doubt a wide array of knowledge in this field that will be useful, and I have experts like Keane to help me understand and apply it.

1 comment:

Mike Bogle said...

It always amazes me how accurate that graphic proves to be in practice. Certainly you see many examples of it across the fickle followers of blogs like TechCrunch and TechMeme, but beyond that as well - seems to mark the trend from "Hey I've got this great idea!" through "Man this is harder than I thought it would be" through the period of strengthened resolve and regathering focus, through eventual maturity.

I think the important thing is to recognise what the trough truly represents (and be prepared for it - as you say), because more often than not when the initial novelty or enthusiasm for the idea wears off people thing that the project has failed and move on to other things.