We make the knowledge

My quote of the day via Harold Jarche:

“Our old technology — paper — gave us an idea of knowledge that said that knowledge comes from experts who are filtered, printed, and then it’s settled, because that’s how books work. Our new technology shows us we are complicit in knowing. In order to let knowledge get as big as our new medium allows, we have to recognize that knowledge comes from all of us (including experts), it is to be linked, shared, discussed, argued about, made fun of, and is never finished and done. It is thoroughly ours – something we build together, not a product manufactured by unknown experts and delivered to us as if it were more than merely human”. – David Weinberger

Image credit: The Recorder Newspaper. Whites Aviation Ltd :  Photographs. Ref: WA-13768-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22346638

Tapscott at TED: Four principles for an open world

Highly recommended summary of four “big ideas” that underpin the development of the web, from the author of Growing Up Digital and Macrowikinomics.

Need three reasons to watch?

  1. Tapscott’s fluent linking of stories to illustrate the exponential development of the web, and the shifts in the way we now think about collaboration, transparency, embracing the commons, and the way it can lead to empowerment.
  2. The concept of organisations as naked, open to the world and better for it in these straightened times as long as they understand the need for integrity and our trust.
  3. The stunning analogy towards the end of the murmuration of starlings.

Go watch.

If I want to be alone, will you think I’m weird?

My last post, ‘I Facebook therefore I..’, asked whether you have to be social to do social media. It prompted a number of interesting responses – and got me thinking about whether we are moving towards a default position of  ‘be social or die’.

We are surrounded by media that rarely profiles the beauty of ‘aloneness’ – everyone is in a group, a family, laughing, barbecuing, cruising along holiday roads in cars crammed with cheerful, attractive friends, a relentless cacophony of ‘joining in’.  School curricula encourage us to ‘relate to others’ and ‘participate’.

And online, it’s the same. We can’t move for people twittering at us, urging us to like, share, ping, connect. I’d be up there with the best of ’em.

And I’m not saying any of this is necessarily wrong. But what if we don’t want to? What if we can’t? Or feel that we can’t – in a world where we all seem to have to find a space to belong?

There was a great article in the Sunday Star Times recently that championed being alone – ‘Me, Myself and I’ by Catherine Woulfe – and quoted Auckland psychologist, Dr Susan Hayes.

“There’s a very strong human need for just space, to recharge. I think our culture is very judgmental about aloneness and I’m not sure where that came from. I mean, we are social animals and we do need social interaction… We do need and crave a sense of belonging and connection to others, but we also need and crave space to ourselves, just to think. And I think a lot of us get peopled-out without realising it.”

Dr Sherry Turkle of MIT, author of Alone, Together, urges us to moderate the time we spend frantically connecting online, just to feel connected, feel affirmed. That affirmation should come from inside us, not from someone else’s 140-character brain-burp:

…and this moving/corny poem, How to be alone, has had 3 million+ hits on YouTube:

So, do you ever get peopled out? And are we now in such a fast-buzzing society that escape is either impossible – or so frowned upon that it might as well be?

Image credit: Image: Idea go / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I Facebook, therefore I…

Apparently, I am more likely to be female, over 35, trusting, politically active, to have close relationships, and more social support. Is it because I am friendly, sociable and gullible? ;-)

Or it is because I am on Facebook?

These are the assertions of a recent Pew Report – Social networking and our lives (Hampton, Goulet, Rainie & Purcell, 2011), which surveyed 2,255 adults to explore “how people’s trust, personal relationships, and civic and political involvement are connected to their use of social networking sites and other technologies”.

The paper seems to fly in the face of the usual media suspects who often claim that social networking leads to narrow, superficial, stunted relationships, lacking in diversity. On the contrary, the survey seems to suggest that regular involvement in social media sites is reflective of the opposite – civically engaged, connected, social beings. There is even an interesting discussion about MySpace and ‘perspective taking’, which might suggest that such spaces are not the closed echo chambers that we might assume.

And apparently it doesn’t make us dumb, either. When exploring how strong  the relationship is between internet use and the diversity of people’s overall social networks, they concluded that:
Education is the best predictor of a diverse social network. Each year of education is associated with 1.5 additional points on the diversity scale. From this perspective, internet users have a boost in network diversity that is equivalent to about two years of formal education, bloggers have a boost of about four years.”

So all that blogging does pay off.

But I am still left wondering: is it the technology at play here – or are those people who are active in these networks those early-adopter, more socially-brave types that would have wide, active networks anyway?

Can you ‘do’ social media if you’re not very social?

[Image source: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=2125]

Ewan McIntosh: On being an entrepreneurial learner

Had the pleasure of hearing Ewan McIntosh address the Wellington Edu-crowd this morning, courtesy of Core Education. And I have tried to capture the key points that he made here – trialling Omnigraffle for myself at the same time (visualisation being, after all, a growing focus for digital literacy;-)).

In essence, the social web should – could – be driving education much more than at present. He offered a whole range of real-world examples to illustrate different types of ‘social’ collaboration, and drove towards his main point that learning should be entrepreneurial in approach: self-directed, outcomes-driven, peer collaboration and inquiry-based.

And with ‘entrepreneur’ in the New Zealand Curriculum being a term that has been open to discussion, this is a helpful lens through which to view it.

Links related to Ewan’s trip to NZ: