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How E2.0 unveils the wizard behind the curtain

There's something to be said for face-to-face interaction. And I'm going to draw an analogy from one of the greatest films ever made, "The Wizard of Oz."

In the story, Dorothy, The Scarecrow, The Tin Man, and The Cowardly Lion beseech The Wizard to help them with their unique needs. They need his knowledge, wisdom, and guidance. But he's a busy guy, ruling Oz and all, and he has some requirements of his own.

He first tasks them with killing The Wicked Witch of the West before helping them. And yet, it wasn't until little Toto unveiled the wizard that he stepped up and granted them their wishes.

I think the story of "The Wizard of Oz" illustrates the points Ron Miller recently made in a Fierce Content Management article.

He writes, "Today's workers are more disconnected from the company than ever. Spread out by distance, sometimes even without an office, these workers are looking for a way to connect to their fellow workers like never before, and this is especially true for knowledge workers who frequently require contact with other employees to get their work done."

I agree with Ron's assertion that e-mail today is easily ignored. Traditional e-mail, as well as the phone, essentially let workers hide behind the curtain.

Of course it is much easier to ignore an e-mail from, say, Sally, someone you've never met from halfway across the country, than it is Joe, who sits one cube over. But the point is, this mode of communication does not support real-time, rich knowledge sharing.

How many times have you said, "It's nice to put a face to a name?" Nothing will replace a face-to-face meeting, even E2.0. We're just too human for that.

But E2.0 does bring us closer -- whether through social profiles, video conferencing, blogs that demonstrate personality, or on-the-fly instant chat. These all give us windows into the man or woman behind the curtain, which in turn allow us to start making connections that are the building blocks for more substantial and productive relationships.

Wasn't The Wizard so much more agreeable and willing to help once Toto called him out? You could say E2.0 is calling us all out, and encouraging us all to step up and share our individual expertise with those who need it.

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