It’s very challenging to design a digital space that is both richly supportive of human social needs and easy to use. The Landing is definitely not the solution, but the underlying idea – that people are richly faceted social beings who interact and present themselves differently to different people at different times – still makes sense to me. As the conversation between Jesse and Stephen shows, there is a need for support for that more than ever.
How do we make writing become hard fun? One way is to develop for kids “writable” activities that they love to do. The building of robotic devices acquires “writability” because it lends itself to stage-by-stage description. Its writability is further enhanced by the use of word processors and digital cameras. But beyond technology there is the attitude in the learning culture. An example of what I mean was brought up by a teacher who objected to the idea that children should be allowed to write about what they liked. “When they go to work they’ll have to do what they are told.” Therein lies a source of many kids’ failure in reading. Of course we should teach children the skill of self-control needed to carry out orders. But mixing up learning that skill with learning to write defeats both purposes.
For me, what matters is not necessarily the content, but the conditions created that provide the possibility for personal problem solving. To reword Rushkoff’s question, is professional development meant to solve our riddles or pose new ones?
I was intrigued by your statement about being an ‘expert on learning’:
I really believe that people educating room full of experts on learning should be absolute masters of learning – otherwise they’re hardly qualified to be doing that job.
I wonder if all learning is the same and with that if all professional development is the same?
Unlike Wolfgang Iser who analyses individual acts of reading, Stanley Fish situates the reading process within a broader institutional perspective. In Is There a Text in the Class? (1980), Fish proposes that competent readers form part of “interpretive communities”, consisting of members who share “interpretive strategies” or “set of community assumptions” of reading a text so as to write meaning into the text. He also proposed that each communal strategy in effect “creates” all the seemingly objective features of the text, as well as “intentions, speakers and authors” that readers may infer from the text. Hence the validity of any text depends on the assumptions and strategies that the readers may share with other members of a particular interpretive community.
Imagine if every single person on the planet had their own dashboard that allowed them to indicate their needs, desires, wants and flag it so that anyone who felt that they could satisfy those needs, desires and wants could respond with an offer human-readable terms of the contract, pricing, expected timelines, etc.
However, the problem with ‘energy’ as a metaphor is that it just does not stick. I think that data as people struggles in the same way.
All these metaphors imagine public data as a huge, passive, untapped resources – lakes of stuff that only has value when it is extracted and processed. But this framing completely removes the individual agency that created the stuff in the first place. Oil is formed by millions of years of compression and chemical transformation of algae and tiny marine animals (sorry, not dinosaurs). Data is created in real time, as we click and swipe around the internet. The metaphor might work in an economic sense, but it fails to describe what data is as a material. It’s not oil, it’s people.
I therefore wonder what the ‘hole in the ozone layer’ might be?
After unpacking all of the options, it makes me wonder if maybe the comments never left, but rather have become dispersed across various spaces. Maybe the answer is that everyone moves their content and conversations to Medium, but what happens when that space changes and folds under the pressure of investors. Maybe as Martin Weller recently suggested, “Blogging is both like it used to be, and a completely different thing”. Rather than a call to go back to basics, to a time when commenting seemed to be simple, what I think is needed is a broader appreciation of what constitutes a ‘comment’. As with the discussion of digital literacies, maybe we should focus on the act of defining, rather than restrict ourselves with concrete definitions.
Personally, I have taken to the world of webmentions where comments are first written on your own site. I have found this useful as it means I can come back to these ideas, also I feel that I actually own these ideas a bit more. When a corresponding site does not support webmentions, I just cut and paste.
In regards to social media, I have stepped away from broadcasting everything. Now I share out my posts and newsletter, and sometimes respond there depending on the context. I am still intrigued by Micro.Blog as a platform in that the only way an interaction is shown is if it is a comment. Although you can like, this is not presented to the other user. I think that this is a better model, just does not completely fit my own workflow at this point in time.