Exploring Networks of Communities: July 6-24, 2009

Over-emphasis on the technology side?

Re: Over-emphasis on the technology side?

by Peter Rawsthorne -
Number of replies: 3
I agree, at this time I believe there is way to much talk in general about the technology or platform facilitating community. Over the last four years I have worked on the building of a number of communities (learning and otherwise) and every time the platform discussion comes up. I have come to the conclusion that the "Internet is the platform", tying a community (other that tagging) to any particular platform misses the point of community. IMHO community is about honoring everyone and their approaches, and once you decide on a specific platform (drupal, webct, WPMu, Moodle, ning, yahoo groups, wiki, blackboard, etc... many technologies here) you restrain the community from expressing itself. And how many times have I seen a key community member creating some other useful community node in a new or different technology. I used to get frustrated by this, you know, why didn't they just use the agreed upon platform! Well the platform obviously didn't meet their needs and they went a built somethig new, very relevant and useful somewhere else... So, once we decide the "Internet is the platform" then we will stop talking platform and we can get on with how to facilitate communities using the internet and its woderful set of integrated technologies.... sorry for the rant, but I think I made my point.

So this now goes back to the use of tagging. The use of tagging or the creation of a folkonomy within the community will tie it all together. We have done this with some success with our open gov't initiative on Bowen Island.
With the use of tagging we can get complete coverage of the community without being tied to any particular platform. Ahhh... the semantic web really is the 3.0...

Thanks for letting me lurk on this discussion. You chose a topic I am passionate about so I just had to speak up. I am also co-authoring a book chapter on this topic, funnily enough it is a very technical chapter... Collaborative Book: Internet is the platform.

Thanks for your time,

Peter

In reply to Peter Rawsthorne

Re: Over-emphasis on the technology side?

by Jay Conk -
Hi, yep here we go web 3.0. The platform exists. I will deal with anyone outside this forum to discuss; although Peter is putting you on the right track. Where are all experts from education been???? Pointing you in different direction I'm sure. And honestly, most educators resisted this type of integration, IMHO, and from my experience, bitterly resisted it. Rabbit hole, after rabbit hole.

I have an MA id DL, strong background in education, digital technolgy. Not a good mix, I thought it was, but not in these realms. I proposed a system a few year ago to a vancouver island, have-not district, that would eventually allow educators to 'forget about the platform' not ignore it, save money, open doors for partnerships, increase their bandwidth potentials etc, etc, etc -- spent 8 months of my own time on it, got sponsors (big ones)-- not a cent for me, and it got the gov and died with no explanation. In keeping brief there are details, but the result is the result, I was left to hang out dry, which was fine, nothing new in these realms. I just wanted to finally see someone take real action, and produce a human communication platform -- I called it Community Area Networks I believe, would have look back.

Your leaders must have solid plan, if not oust them as they are just collecting public monies from the coffers for no justifiable reason; which are always bare in education apparently, yet that group wastes more time, money than I care to discuss. It is infuriating, and what caused me to abandon my passion of DL, formally, for the last two years. Learning, from my experience, has always taking a second seat to personal and political agenda. Let go of your ego, get educated, and demand more. The words are finally becoming tiresome for most and it actually cost less.

Kind regards to all. My plan is to rally people together here on Vancouver Island and start making our government and school districts accountable for their lack of action, and adhoc planning, especially when it comes to anything involving a computer. Should be fun.

JB
In reply to Jay Conk

Re: Over-emphasis on the technology side?

by Jeffry Curtis -
I have not participated recently for a variety of reasons, but have lurked at various discussion topics for the past several months.

Jay's title jerked me out of my digital morass and has forced me to comment through the detritus of several failed (or failing) digital communities I have participated in. My opinion is that one cannot expect to force digital communities to be functional. There are too many folks that do not understand the possible power of these communities and fail to participate because of that lack of understanding. In a perverse inverse of "economies of scale", there often aren't enough participants to make make-it-happen.

Case in point. I belong to a digital community of over 50,000 talented, well educated individuals. A few months back, while considering another, less viable community, I asked the administrators (of the large group) what the participation-to-lurk rate was (thinking in the back of my mind 2% to 5%). Their reply was 2%-4%. Fully 96% to 98% never did participate; other than to read, i.e. the "hits" were there, but no other participation was.

This is a developing world community, not everybody is digital; even in so called 'developed' nations. For those of us comfortable with the technology sharing and participating is simple; for those not comfortable it is not. Our expectations and outcomes, those that participate, vary immensely from those who do not, will not, don't want to, see no value in, (insert another reason) this type of community building.

Jay, I feel your pain! Working to build a community and having it fail...I have miles of digital trails littered with attempts to build. It will come; it will happen. It must. But the people must want it. Not just us.

Thank you for you thoughtful post, keep up the good fight.

Kind regards,

Jeff Curtis ... across the water in Bellingham
In reply to Peter Rawsthorne

Re: Over-emphasis on the technology side?

by E.A. Draffan -
I have been lurking as well and it has been very interesting to read about the issues concerning which platform or what technologies to use. From my field of expertise in accessibility and assistive technology - it would be wonderful if one could think of it as a car and make personal choices that suit user preferences but the outcomes are that one travels along the same road smile