Are you an IT-empower worker or an old school worker?

Harold has a good post on what knowledge workers want. I’m turning it into a test… see in the table below whether you an IT-empower worker or not… I score 4 out 4 as an IT-empower worker.

old school worker IT-empower worker
I can’t find anything. I can find most things.
I get what I need more effectively from conversations. I get most of what I need from general written conversations and specific oral conversations – online (though I still like face-to-face discussions).
Knowledge gathering isn’t the best use of my time. Knowledge gathering is a good use of some of my time because I’ve developed a few efficient processes.
I prefer private knowledge stocks that I don’t trust others enough to share. I still keep some private knowledge stocks, but use the public ones more often.

I would add a few of my own…

old school worker IT-empower worker
I mostly use commercial software installed and maintained by someone else. I find and manage my own software, mostly free software.
Most software application I use are desktop applications: I spend 97% of my time in Microsoft Office. Most software I use is Web-based.
I’m getting nervous when people suggest we use a Wiki: what’s wrong with Microsoft Word? I run my own wikis.
A blog? I’ve got nothing to say and I prefer to preserve my privacy. My blog is one of my key knowledge management tools.
My projects are mostly with nearby colleagues. My office is the worldwide though I work from my basement.

A very large fraction of my colleagues are “old school workers”. How is it that I don’t feel more productive than they are? Is there any concrete benefit to being IT-empowered? It seems to me that as with each passing year, I’ve got more and more to read and my schedule is not getting any lighter. In many ways, my blog makes me smarter, but I just can’t point to the benefits in my daily life. I’d like to.

Published by

Daniel Lemire

A computer science professor at the University of Quebec (TELUQ).

6 thoughts on “Are you an IT-empower worker or an old school worker?”

  1. I try to keep the number of feeds I read under 100. Beyond that, I just can’t justify spending more than 2 hours reading stuff. I’ve recently read something about blog-induced ADD (, so I’m wondering if you’re suffering from that 😉 .

    It’s funny how most of the time is spent reading stuff. I read somewhere that the blog-world is made of more readers than writers and I find that to be more and more accurate.

  2. I presume you know about new developments in your field more rapidly and consistantly than old-schoolers (especially if you read RSS feeds)
    You have greater flexibility of choices amongst contacts to ask for help or perspective.
    You are probably a person in your wide community that others can look to for K-resources. You are obviously more excited about sharing than hording, thus making you a fundamentally different actor in the field.

    But I bet you’ve still got far more to read than you possibly can get through. Perhaps it’s a blessing, like too much good food to eat or to many friends who seek your company? It’s probably inevitable. I’m going to blog an entry about dealing with RSS feed overload (when I get a chance, ha ha).

    But concrete advantages of one being one kind of worker instead of the other seems both obvious and impossible. It feels like another world, doesn’t it?

  3. Didier, it would be sad indeed if we spent all our time writing and very little reading. (Actually, I think some academics are in that unfortunate situation.)

    Daniel, I think the difference between yourself and “old school workers” may not show so much in the workload (which always seems to expand to take up all available space regardless of productivity) as in your ability to make better-informed choices as to what’s worth pursuing and to take on more ambitious challenges.

  4. Hello Daniel,

    It’s just a little reaction on this assertion:

    “My blog is one of my key knowledge management tools.”

    Have you ever read this article:

    It’s one of the best I read about Blogs as Knowledge Management Tool. I think it worth the reading. I personally like it because it’s the article that incited me to blog. Since then, I only discovered the virtues of blogging 😉



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