Sense-Making of Technology and Media: a George Siemens Weekly Digest
by George Siemens
50 Ways to Tell a Story
I’ve linked to Alan Levine’s site 50 web 2.0 ways to tell a story before. I just listened to a presentation that he delivered on ustream (it takes a minute or so until the audio starts). The first time I came across his wiki, I was focused on the tools themselves. But, listening to Alan’s presentation, it dawned on me that this model could be a great approach to curriculum development for faculty (or trainers) who might not have access to instructional designers… but are wanting to incorporate different technologies into their teaching.
An interesting look at various networks, particularly revealing of the strong presence of a small minority in acquiring the majority of links – Between Friends:
“The idea of a social graph–a representation of a person’s network of friends, family, and acquaintances–gained currency last year as the popularity of online social networks grew…The push to understand the nature and potential value of links between people online has led to imaginative ways to represent such networks.“
The article focuses on social networks and ways they can be visualized. Obviously, those are two separate issues. How and why social networks form online has not been extensively researched (social networking sites (SNS) is still only about four years into its popularity cycle). Sociologists such as Watts, Castells, and Wellman have extensively researched social networks, but the online component has not been fully considered in light of SNS tools. The other aspect – visualization – is of far greater value than just exploring how people are connected through links. The visualization of data has the potential to significantly improve how capacity to handle information abundance, gain new insight and meaning, etc. Plus, I have yet to see a significant focus on how network analysis can be utilized in education (Gruzd and Haythornthwaite offer a consideration (.pdf) of interaction patterns in online communities)
Future of Reputation
I haven’t had time to read this book in its entirety, but from the sections I’ve skimmed, it’s worth taking a look at: The Future of Reputation: Gossip, Rumor, and Privacy on the Internet. The entire book is available for download.
Rough day. Apparently new research suggests we don’t have free will and the resulting deterministic messages have the potential to lead to general moral decay. I’d do something about it. But it wouldn’t make a difference.
Free! Why $0.00 Is the Future of Business
Photo credit: Wired Free! Why $0.00 Is the Future of Business:
“Over the past decade, however, a different sort of free has emerged. The new model is based not on cross-subsidies — the shifting of costs from one product to another — but on the fact that the cost of products themselves is falling fast. It’s as if the price of steel had dropped so close to zero that King Gillette could give away both razor and blade, and make his money on something else entirely. (Shaving cream?) You know this freaky land of free as the Web.“
I wanted to like this article – it deals with concepts that many of us experience in our daily lives such as the reduced of cost for computing and online participation. But several aspects of the article don’t resonate with me. Software and content are free on the surface. What has happened, however, is not a full scale revolution as Anderson suggests (he is, after all, ramping up for publication of another book, so attendant hype and jargon are to be expected). Instead, the value point of content has shifted. Google is definitely not a company built on freedom, openness, running through meadows holding hands, etc. Google is very much concerned with selling and revenue. To compete, however, it has been forced to adopt a different model than what Microsoft was built on. It has managed, however, to adopt the television model – free for users but sponsors/advertisers pay. Facebook is now in a similar position – they need a revenue stream as there current valuation is based on potential, not reality. When generic content is free, then we pay for other things – such as high quality content or first access (such as movies). While certain examples of free-simply-because-it’s-right exist (wikipedia and emerging discussion of P2P and gift-based economies), it is certainly not the norm. Just because something is free on one end of the value continuum does not mean it is no longer to be found on the continuum at all.
The Downside of a Good Idea
The Downside of a Good Idea – a short critique of the challenges of too much openness and sharing (to the point where innovation is negatively impacted as good ideas are overlooked while everyone is busy trying to manage and share). Beinhocker makes a similar point in emphasizing that “densely connected networks become less adaptable as they grow” (p.152). But the study itself doesn’t make much sense to me. Is it comparing connections? Or effective group size for solving certain problems? And what about trust? I don’t just randomly consume and share information. I do so in a context – or more accurately, a network of people I trust or have some familiarity with.