The axiom that information is power has never been truer, but have you noticed the shift in focus?

There are folks who are not into details and others like myself who hear an anecdote, read a snippet or attend a webinar, and yearn to delve into, dissect and extract the details that may provide value in some way. Regardless of where you are on the spectrum, we all rely on information to help us live and work in a world changing rapidly.

Culture change

Although information has always been valued, there was a time when most information was proprietary and protected. Irrespective of security concerns, our culture had a sense of reticence. People tended to guard personal details and employers discouraged workplace interaction. That culture is essentially defunct. The focus has shifted from competition to collaboration and from opacity to transparency. The cautionary expression, don’t air your dirty laundry in public, has been replaced with the ubiquity of sharing.  

Social information sharing

In our social and entertainment culture, this is evident with not only likes, tweets and followers but also the changing world of television. Reality TV is the most obvious example. Another is the classic talk show, which used to be about talking, but now serves as a venue for people to unleash deeply personal details of their lives. The nature of information on crime shows has evolved as well. Predominantly, stories centered on a protagonist with deductive ingenuity. Now in the digital age, much of the credit belongs to behind-the-scenes high-tech teams who cascade information to sleuths in action.

Business communication trends

In the workplace, information gathering and dissemination often exists in an open, shared workspace to encourage team interaction rather than behind closed doors. We have gone from push communication (received through letters, memos and emails) to pull communication (retrieved from databases) to interactive information (shared through internal social networking). While these communication methods co-exist, the trend is to foster an engaged workforce through participation in the flow of information.

As someone who thrives on research, taking classes and working in a learning culture, I am thrilled that information is more accessible than ever and that companies place a high value on knowledge and sharing. As for personal exposure, you won’t see me on any reality shows any time too soon.