Friday, April 21, 2006

Another point of view


I’m not sure quite how we know, but we’re told that while the number of bloggers is increasing, the number of reporters (people actually gathering news) is diminishing. Blogging may be part of a culture where attention is gained by the superficial – what our page looks like and how we say things rather than the content or the factual basis of our opinions. But of course we may not want to be activists or newshounds of the cyberage. Perhaps we’re content with the social aspects of blogging. I think that applications like blogs, wikis, networking sites, IM and spaces like Flickr that use folksonomies to categorise and classify could be seen (or used) in one of two ways. The first is just an extension of everyday social exchange – playful and interactive. The second is more radical and is about how knowledge is seeded, built and shared. Probably, the reality is that these are two ends of a continuum – any interactive media (eg the mobile phone) can be put to a variety of uses, some frivolous and some serious. I suppose this is just a return to the debate about whether the category “social software” is a useful term or not. Given that learning (knowledge building) is a particular kind of social exchange maybe our task is to see how the affordances of certain applications match particular kinds of learners and learning. This looks like an interesting arena for exploring these issues – there’s an extension for proposals for software related stuff – whatever they mean by that, till May 31st. That’s Vienna, alternatively there’s this in London. Could be interesting, too but certainly rather narrower in focus.

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