Clay Shirky on online community. Clay's contrasting of "audiences" versus "communities" is also relevant in the enterprise environment. "Employees", like "audiences", are intentionally gathered sets of individuals, linked by organizational affiliation and by the business processes within which they need to participate. The bonds that hold communities together, however, are edge-based forces - the same forces that bring people together to solve problems, to innovate.
Center vs. edge. Orchestrated organization vs. self-organization. Business process vs. business practice. Fragility vs. resiliency. Complexity vs. chaos. Control vs. empowerment.
Clay and Ray are right.
Complexity science bleeds all over the social sciences. It is slow going and the math and empirical work are just getting started. But the thought, the approach is there. We're not decomposing organizations. We're going to their atomic components, people, and studying their interactions.
Today the Pew Internet & American Life Project released its report, The Internet Goes to College. Among its findings: only 9% of U.S. college students use the library more than the internet for information searching. [FOS News]
The report says: Occupying a middle ground between childhood and adulthood, between work and leisure, college students have been at the forefront of social change since the end of World War II.
Here are a few more statistics:
73% of college students say they use the Internet more than the library.
Two-thirds (68%) of college students reported subscribing to one or more academic-oriented mailing lists that relate to their studies. They use these lists to carry on email discussions about topics covered in their classes.
42% of college students say they use the Internet primarily to communicate socially.
The study also suggests that "Colleges and universities might be experiencing an Internet generation gap between professors and students in terms of their Internet usage interests or abilities." I seriously think there is such a gap, and it has to do with the fact that professors already have established means of finding information and connecting with people, while students have nearly empty professional networks and are likely to search for information in the most convenient way, which at this time is the Internet.
But I feel that the most important observation is the following one: "While formal distance learning has not replaced the classroom, informal learning often takes place online." Teachers aren't always around, and our knowledge needs are constantly increasing. How are we coping? By becoming teachers to one another, which is now becoming possible across time and space. To quote Andy Oram, look at how individuals solve information problems on their own, and you'll see that this is what is happening.
An international panel of copyright and science experts recommends that developing countries (1) favor open source software, (2) not enact anti-circumvention rules, (3) declare shrinkwrap licenses null and void, (4) adopt explicit fair-use rules for "creating and distributing printed electronic copies in reasonable numbers for educational and research purposes and making reasonable excerpts in commentary and criticism", and (5) adopt a rule that "[i]f suppliers of digital information or software attempt to restrict fair use rights, either through contract provisions or by technological methods of protection, the contract provisions may be treated as void." (Read the ZDNet summary or the full report.) [FOS News] What do you think?  links to this post 7:40:43 AM
The September 16 issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education has four articles on how budget cuts and recession are eroding our "intellectual infrastructure" especially in libraries and university presses (1, 2, 3, 4, each accessible only to paying subscribers). The first of these quotes Willis Regier, director of the University of New Mexico Press: "Universities may find that a more honest way to track the cost of publications would be to fund them upfront, publish them electronically, and publish them free." (PS: Apart from Regier, no one interviewed for these stories suggested open access as a solution. If your campus is discussing this erosion, make sure that open access is not overlooked.) [FOS News] What do you think?  links to this post 7:39:07 AM
Let's spam the world. It just occured to me: bloggers are spammers. We spam the world with unsolicited opinions. [Krzysztof Kowalczyk's Weblog]
The key difference being that we're not pushing them into everyone and their brother's inboxes. Those opinions have to be pulled to be seen. Not many people will subscribe to a pure spam RSS feed!
The status hierarchy that results from the symbiosis between Google and K-logs provides a natural incentive to share, as Jon Udell remarked in Google And Weblogs - Best Hope For KM. This is similar in structure to how academics get recognition more or less proportionally to how many people rely on their work. Being perceived as an expert by peers matters.
Does anyone know of a simple way of automatically storing (or e-mailing) my list of referers every day just before they are reset, so I can look at them when I have the time? What do you think?  links to this post 6:42:39 AM
Sebastien Paquet. Last update:
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