Teague's Tech Treks

Learning Technology and other Tech Observations by Dr. Helen Teague

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The birth of 140 characters- Twitter Turns 8

Twitter was launched on this date in 2006, only it was called “Twttr,” with no vowels. The social media platform is famous for its 140-character “microblogs.”

On its launch date, the company reported 224 “tweets” for the whole day.

On its fifth birthday, users logged that many tweets in less than one-tenth of a second. In an early review of the platform, the Techcrunch website reported, “People are using it to send messages like ‘Cleaning my apartment’ and ‘Hungry.’ You can also add friends via text message, nudge friends, etc. It [is] really a social network around text messaging.”

Many countries since then have routinely shut down or blocked Twitter during times of upheaval, natural disaster, and national emergency. Clay Shirkey speaks about this in his video How Social Media Can Make History.

Happy Birthday, Twitter!

Happy Birthday Twitter

 

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520 million is a big number

I read on Tom Peters’ blog that “We write the equivalent of 520 million books every day on social media and email.”

We are writing:

154.6 billion emails
400 million tweets
16 billion words on Facebook
52 TRILLION words on email and social media*
(*equivalent to 520 million books)

We offer our ideas, good and bad and argue about it.

This process has changed the way we think. Just as we now live in public, so do we think in public.

Or, as Clay Shirkey would say, we live in an “Publish, then Edit” society.

What are you publishing today?

lockfromscoutiegirl

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Participating in an online community~Week 6 Post 2

Disclaimer: This post is part of course requirements following this assignment: Extend your identity in the direction of your career path and participate in a new online community. Interact online using your projected identity for at least six weeks. Think deeply about identity and learning and blog twice a week about your experience. Take time to analyze the meaning, power, and constraints of the community on your learning. ~~~~

Week 6, Post 2

My online group chose The Long Earth as its December book choice. Its authors are Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter and it received the Goodreads’ Choice Award in the category Science Fiction in 2012. I found out about the book choice from the weekly emails and discussion forums composed by our Science Fiction and Fantasy Book group’s moderator. Included in the picture below is a sample of our discussion forum, the moderator’s post to seed the discussion, and my response. Within a few minutes of my post, other posts also appeared.

science fiction groups' post

Science fiction book group’s posting with personalized data redacted.

I began this assignment on September 2, 2013. Although uncertain as to the actual path my future work life will take, I knew that it would involve new ideas and that I would somehow help people integrate the change which accompanies new things. On Sunday, August 25, 2013, I made a big change and joined the Science Fiction Writer’s Group. I was warmly received, invited to participate, encouraged in my posts, given book recommendations and even a few plot spoilers. Along the path of this assignments, applications from authors McLuhan, Adams, Carr, Jenkins, Shirkey, and Dijick stood out like freshly dressed soldiers ready for inspection. (a complete list of authors is included below.)

Change is scary. Just watch how the performer Bjork describes her encounter with television:

Bjork explaining TV

 

Change is scary for me too. I discovered that since change is scary for many of us, these gently encouragements served as a cushion to my new experience. Also, the quick replies to my questions and posts from the moderators and group members helped me to move from outsider to peripheral to occasional and almost to active status, as Etienne Wenger predicted in Communities of Practice.

CofPLevelsofParticipation

And it all began with Etienne Wenger. Hearing him speak along with his wife was a highlight of this semester. Communities can be achieved in face-to-face settings and online protocols as long as the people within each of them continue to participate.

Thank you for reading these posts! And thank you, Dr. Paul Sparks for these invitations to explore and change!

~~~

Comprehensive Source List:

Adams, D. (1995). The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Del Rey. Link

Carr, N. (2008). Is google making us stupid? The Atlantic, Retrieved from http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2008/07/is-google-making-us-stupid/306868/

Couros, George. The Principal of Change Blog. Retrieved September 15, 2013 Link

Dijck, José van (2013). The culture of connectivity: a critical history of social media. Oxford University Press. Link

Gerstandt, Joe. (2012). Social Gravity: Harnessing the Natural Laws of Relationships [Kindle DX version]. Retrieved from Amazon.com. Link

Gray, D. E. (2009). Doing research in the real world (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications. Link keywords=Doing+research+in+the+real+world

Jenkins, Henry (2008-09-01). Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide (Kindle Locations 3040-3041). NYU Press. Kindle Edition. Link

McLuhan, Marshall (1967). The Medium is the Message. Gingko Press Inc. Link

Pratchett, T and Baxter, S. (2012). The Long Earth. Harper Collins. Link

Shirkey, Clay. (2010). Cognitive Surplus How Technology Makes Consumers Into Collaborators. Penguin Books. Link

Shirkey, Clay (2010). How cognitive surplus will change the world | Video on TED.com. Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/clay_shirky_how_cognitive_surplus_will_change_the_world.html

Simmons, A. (2013). Facebook has transformed my students’ writing—for the better. The Atlantic, Retrieved from http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2013/11/facebook-has-transformed-my-students-writing-for-the-better/281563/

Sullivan, D. (2013, September 26). [Lurkers And Superfans: Why You Need Both In Your Facebook Communities]. Retrieved from http://allfacebook.com/crowdly-dan-sullivan-superfans-lurkers_b125468

Turkle, Sherry (2012). Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other. Basic Books; First Trade Paper Edition edition. Link

Wasko, Molly McLure and Faraj, Samur (2000).  It is what one does: why people participate and help others in electronic communities of practice. The Journal of Strategic Information SystemsVolume 9, Issues 2–3, September 2000, Pages 155–173.

Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of practice, learning, meaning, and identity. (1st ed. ed.). Cambridge University Press. Link

 

See all posts

 

 

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Participating in an online community~Week 5 Post 2

Disclaimer: This post is part of course requirements following this assignment: Extend your identity in the direction of your career path and participate in a new online community. Interact online using your projected identity for at least six weeks. Think deeply about identity and learning and blog twice a week about your experience. Take time to analyze the meaning, power, and constraints of the community on your learning.
~~~~

Week 5, Post 2

The 4 C’s of Community Combinability

The principle of combinabilty and shared knowledge enhance online communities, especially the community to which I belong, The Science Fiction and Fantasy group on Goodreads. The word combinability is so novel that it still sparks the SpellCheck red underline. But it is also featured in Clay Shirkey’s Cognitive Surplus and his description of Dominique Foray’s research.

Foray's Combinability

Our book community meets entirely online. We have a clarity of shared purpose, hobby, and goal to read science fiction and fantasy books. This is an essential component of our culture. The cost is free, predicated only by the cost of the books we purchased for our Kindles or bookshelves. The facility of communication and convergence of the Science Fiction and Fantasy group is aided by the catalyst effect of the increased comfort to which people in online communities have grown accustomed. Our culture has been altered, whether positively or negatively depends on each individual’s experience.

Clay Shirkey writes in his book Cognitive Surplus that the first social networking website was not Facebook or Friendster but a site called Six Degrees. According to Shirkey, Six Degrees “failed because in 1996 not enough people were comfortable living their social lives online” (193). At the same time, the emotional distance fostered by Facebook and other sites can encourage a healthier candor, too. Seventeen years later, not only do we feel comfortable sharing online, many of us feeling comfortable oversharing!

Nicholas Carr warns of the “Web’s info-thickets” of information that requires us to scan and skim and skip lightly across miles of hyperlinks. Across those thickets, not all is inclusive and accommodating to Foray’s combinability theory.

Teacher, Andrew Simmons writes about the changes he has seen in his students’ writing, “It’s a really bad neighborhood. On Facebook and Twitter, students humiliate, jeer, and shame one another. They engage in antisocial, even criminal behavior—leaving belligerently racist comments on links, harassing classmates with derogatory posts.”

Things are far more civil in my online book community, but within our online culture, there are cultural differences corresponding to our different countries. Several folks in my online communities are taciturn in their responses which they attribute to their disinclination to share everything. Some of us are over-eager to traverse participation circles as described by Etienne Wenger and share with a fluency of what I’ve labeled the 3 R’s of Combinability: responses, recommendations, reports. Protected by my identity and closed profile, I enjoy a bookish version of anonymity.

  • Johan* notes that his posts are abbreviated because he has a limited amount of time online because he is late to the library where he must connect.
  • Trianna* writes that she does not have access to Kindle books since they have not been translated into her native language.
  • John* explains that he was especially sensitive to spoilers during the Harry Potter book roll-out because the sequels came out later than in the Potter’s U.K.’s home country.

Whether it is Wenger’s invitation to Communities of Practice, Foray’s Combinability Theory, or Shirkey’s fulcrum toward our cognitive convergence, the Internet is the catalyst that Carr describes:

“For me, as for others, the Net is becoming a universal medium, the conduit for most of the information that flows through my eyes and ears and into my mind.”

~~~

*=name aliases

Article Sources:

Carr, N. (2008). Is google making us stupid?. The Atlantic, Retrieved from http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2008/07/is-google-making-us-stupid/306868/

Simmons, A. (2013). Facebook has transformed my students’ writing—for the better. The Atlantic, Retrieved from http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2013/11/facebook-has-transformed-my-students-writing-for-the-better/281563/

Book Sources:

Shirkey, Clay. (2010). Cognitive Surplus How Technology Makes Consumers Into Collaborators. Penguin Books.

Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of practice, learning, meaning, and identity. (1st ed. ed.). Cambridge University Press.

I created the Foray mindmap at Bubbl.us

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Participating in an Online Community, Week 5, Post 1

Disclaimer: This post is part of course requirements following this assignment: Extend your identity in the direction of your career path and participate in a new online community. Interact online using your projected identity for at least six weeks. Think deeply about identity and learning and blog twice a week about your experience. Take time to analyze the meaning, power, and constraints of the community on your learning.
~~~~

Week 5, Post 1

A great quote I’ve ever heard about writing science fiction is, “A good science fiction writer invents the car. A great science fiction writer comes up with the traffic jam.” A few months ago, I did not know about much about science fiction writers and their books. Now, thanks to the welcome and inclusion offered by the Science Fiction and Fantasy group at Goodreads, I have ridden in great space ships, conveyor belts, seen eerie sights and laughed out loud while reading Vogon poetry.

I like the car and even the traffic jam! I’ve continued to spend time in my Goodreads group. I have finished three books and learned a lot about theme, plot, arc, conflict, and innovation. I caught myself offering a consulting client a far-fetched idea as we brainstormed possible solutions for a shipping problem that would cause even Zaphod Beeblebrox to smile (or, more accurately, to take the credit).

My adopted group responds quickly and energetically. After a week away at face-to-face classes, one email I see informs me: “You have 419 new posts from 43 discussions on Goodreads”   Discussion Topics are very pertinent and rich with titles such as  Fantasy based on nonwestern myths?The Consciousness PlagueMalthusian settings?Give Us Your Themes!What are Your Favorite Anthologies and Short Story Collections” 

Last week there was an interesting discussion in our group about our preference for paper vs. ebooks. Over 70 responders expressed their opinion with a mixture of enthusiasm and respect for the preferences of others. I am noticing that my identity is not as timid and confining as it/I once was. Is “Goodreads ByTheFire” is more confident and expressive than me? Is it easier for me as “Goodreads ByTheFire” to respond to questions? Is it easier to communicate when we are operating behind other identities?
In a discussion of specific features of science fiction, “C”* wrote: “I agree that too much emphasis can be put on the societal commentary aspect of sci-fi, but it is a feature of many classics.” “D”* asserted, “It’s quite a narrow way of looking at a genre and seems to devalue novels that are examples of good storytelling that just happen to be in a sci fi setting.” Another contributor, “E”* adds, “The technology angle also forgets that some of the biggies in the genre are not ‘about’ the technology, but about the tendencies already present in human nature and society as a whole; technology is just an enabler.”
Not your average Jerry Springer smack down! The ease of interplay and virtual dialogue illustrated Clay Shirkey’s claim that in the Publish then Edit neighborhood, the emphasis aims to “Convene but not control.”
heisnotavegan
he is not a vegan2
I thought about joining many groups before I settled on the Science Fiction and Fantasy group. I lurked in a cooking group and saw the preceding messages. There seems to be a self-regulating system to the internet in general and online communities specifically. Members enforce the official and unofficial rules of their particular system. Admonitions to stick to the subject of the “OP” (original post), to move off-topic posts to appropriate forums, and to avoid spoilers serve as an informal blending of civility and order.
“Don’t try to outweird me, three-eyes.  I get stranger things than you free with my breakfast cereal.” ~Zaphod Beeblebrox in “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”

~~~

Adams, D. (1995). The hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy. Del Rey. Link

Shirkey, Clay (2010). How cognitive surplus will change the world | Video on TED.com. Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/clay_shirky_how_cognitive_surplus_will_change_the_world.html

*=not the actual initials

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