Dec 122010

…which confounds past modeling, but that’s what you get from reading Gibson.

This is not a pipe. It is a reproduction of "The Treachery of Images," René Magritte’s 1928–29 painting, which is also not a pipe.

Which relates, somehow, to an upcoming discussion of social media, or at least: That makes me think of…

One of the things that we’re likely to hear is that, “Social Media is not new, or perhaps News; humans, being mammals, have always been ‘social beings.” Which is certainly true and probably a good antidote for the bandwagon virus.  It does, however, leave out the factors of time and scale.  Radio and telegraph are, in the same sense, only shouting, and the internet only television writ generally producible.  If the fact that you can send a message from Europe to America in seconds rather than months seems to you not to matter, then saying that there’s no news to social media is no doubt profound.  Profound or not, it’s undoubtedly important, because when you do factor in scale and immediacy you get sea-change.

In the late ’90s you heard a lot of ed-tech conversations about whether instructional technology improved learning.  Nowadays there doesn’t seem to be much point to that discussion; technology educational and otherwise is water.  It’s not good or bad; neither useful nor a waste of time.  It’s what we do, and you do or don’t participate at your own risk. Either way you’re making the culture, the world; you always have been, nothing new there. But if you think about it, it gets confusing:

The development of electronic media blurs the line between map and territory by allowing for the simulation of ideas as encoded in electronic signals, as Baudrillard argues inSimulacra & Simulation:

“Today abstraction is no longer that of the map, the double, the mirror, or the concept. Simulation is no longer that of a territory, a referential being or substance. It is the generation by models of a real without origin or reality: A hyperreal. The territory no longer precedes the map, nor does it survive it. It is nevertheless the map that precedes the territory – precession of simulacra – that engenders the territory.”  (Baudrillard, 1994, p. 1)

Neil Gaiman makes it a little more human:

One describes a tale best by telling the tale. You see? The way one describes a story, to oneself or the world, is by telling the story. It is a balancing act and it is a dream. The more accurate the map, the more it resembles the territory. The most accurate map possible would be the territory, and thus would be perfectly accurate and perfectly useless. The tale is the map that is the territory.

Aug 032009

The I Ching makes a not so subtle distinction between the “easy” and the “simple”. By way of example: lets say that there’s a mountain and for whatever reason we need to get to the top. The “easy” solution is to rent a helicopter, or if you’d prefer we could design and build a funicular which would allow us to make multiple trips, and perhaps make it possible to sell tickets to future tourists. Easy solutions, both. On the other hand, the “simple” solution is to start walking/climbing. What you’ll notice is that the simple solution doesn’t require much thought, just a bit of work and a lot of determination.

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

I’ve suggested that we need to become community organizers, and given you a tool to help you get started; my assumption being that we need to get our own community going before we can start helping others organize and manage theirs. I’m fairly certain that my suggestion has caused a good deal paranoia and paralysis, because you don’t know how to make a community or how to use the tool. I’m equally certain that the real problem is that you’re looking for an easy solution when what’s required is simplicity; all you have to do is share something. It can be a link, a picture, a thought, an idea, a tweet, or a LOLcat. It really is that simple; share something on a daily basis and community will happen. It’s not easy, because it feels new, different, not something you’re used to doing, but it is simple, sharing is always simple …

‘Tis the gift to be loved and that love to return,
Tis the gift to be taught and a richer gift to learn,
And when we expect of others what we try to live each day,
Then we’ll all live together and we’ll all learn to say,

When true simplicity is gain’d,
To bow and to bend we shan’t be asham’d,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come out right.

Pasted from <>

Feb 282008

In catching up on the aggregator I came across Meg Tilly, yes that Meg Tilly, at Northern Voice and a little thing about ice cream. This following a skim of The Future of Reputation. Which all relates to half a dozen posts which I haven’t had time to write, but which in one form or another are on the way. I’ve been beating my co-workers up with, “It’s people stupid!” and it looks like I’ve only just got started.

Feb 072008

Picking up on yesterday’s theme, and on a post from a while back; dean David Rubin postulated that ‘texting’ was, I don’t want to put words in his mouth but something like, “…replacinging traditional communication forms and thus discouraging face to face social interaction in class.”  Something bothered me about that, but I couldn’t put my finger on what it was.  Encountering another dean who seemed to take the position that there were no serious problems with either students or technology, the light bulb went off.  I’ll agree that it’s difficult to get students to interact in class, but my experience is that they’re doing just fine in their dorms, apartments, clubs, bars, snack bars, on the quad, etc. We may not be altogether comfortable with what they’re doing face to face, but we sure can’t accuse them of not doing it, and perhaps more to the point, they’re using technology to set it up.

Here’s and interesting YouTube video that suggests some ways we might leverage that for more formal educational purposes.