How about an order of slimehead?

Hungry? How about some filet of slimehead in Chinese gooseberry sauce?

You get the same reaction from many CIOs if you ask them “How about installing blogs, wikis, instant messenger, Skype, social software, collaboration tools, Web 2.0 mash-ups, and maybe some open software.”

Slimehead is more palatable if you call it orange roughie, Chinese gooseberries better if you say kiwifruit. Same fish, same fruit, new labels.

It’s time for us to come up with a vocabulary that’s not an obstacle to installing learning technology. Take the word blog. For some people, the word sets off alarm bells. They envision amateurs, threatening hackers, neo-nazis, the Drudge Report, people obsessed with kittens, semi-literates, unverifiable nonsense, spammers, porno freaks, political extremists, teen age confessionals, MySpace flirts, people who are out of control and lawsuits waiting to happen. It’s enough to give disruptive technology a bad name.

So let’s not speak of blogs or slimeheads. Let’s talk about Project Logs. Or Collaborative Project Documentation. Or Knowledge Logs. Or professional journals.

A couple of years ago, Lee LeFever, who’s currently taking a year to travel around the world with his bride, wrote this plea for showing the boss the benefits of the whatchmacallits.

First, think about the value of the Wall Street Journal to business leaders. The value it provides is context — the Journal allows readers to see themselves in the context of the financial world each day, which enables more informed decision making.

With this in mind, think about your company as a microcosm of the financial world. Can your employees see themselves in the context of the whole company? Would more informed decisions be made if employees and leaders had access to internal news sources?

Weblogs serve this need. By making internal websites simple to update, weblogs allow individuals and teams to maintain online journals that chronicle projects inside the company. These professional journals make it easy to produce and access internal news, providing context to the company — context that can profoundly affect decision making. In this way, weblogs allow employees and leaders to make more informed decisions through increasing their awareness of internal news and events.

What has helped you sell Web 2.0 benefits to non-believers? What stories have worked? Care to rename any technology? We’ll ponder this in the ongoing Unworkshop, but your comments and email will be greatly appreciated.