Tag Archives: Social Evolution

If Facebook is a country ...

If Facebook was a country …

If Facebook was a country … yeah, but it isn’t.

I like infographics and social media statistics, but this is the one that has always annoyed me. Liking Facebook (a global network) to the population of a single country is inaccurate.

However instead of saying “if Facebook was a country (population X) it’d be the largest” you said “if Facebook was a government of a country (with population X) it’d be the largest in the world” sounds far more accurate. It’s not about the position or the size of the population, for me it’s the appropriateness of the comparison to geographic countries or responsibilities to it’s ‘population’.

According to Wikipedia Facebook is marginally ahead of China in population, with China at 1.36 billion, and Facebook reportedly at 1.39 billion.

And this is really what it is – Facebook is not a country, it is a government, of sorts. It has ‘residents’ or ‘citizens’, they are real people (for the most part), they have communities and shared interests, passions, ‘likes’, they poll/vote, etc. and they do all this in the area their government is managing.

I’m sure Facebook probably knows more about it’s citizens than most governments do (it knows when we’re happy, sad, ill, socialising, etc.). What I’m not sure on, however, is how many other governments sell this data to other governments?

This reminds me of the opening track from the 22 year old Billy Idol album ‘Cyberpunk‘ where it says:

The future has imploded into the present.
With no nuclear war, the new battlefields are people’s minds and souls.
Mega corporations are the new government.
The computer generated info-domains are the new frontiers.
Though there is better living through science and chemistry, we are all becoming cyborgs.

The computer is the new cool tool, and though we say “all information should be free”.
It is not.
Information is power and currency in the virtual world we inhabit, so mistrust authority.

Is there a similarity in these words and where we find ourselves today as we freely give our data, our currency, to the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Google, SnapChat, Apple, etc.?

Image source: Kārlis Dambrāns (CC BY 2.0)

The NET Model of Social Leadership is built around three Dimensions: ‘Narrative’, ‘Engagement’ and ‘Technology’. The NET model is both an idea and a call to arms.

Book review: The Social Leadership Handbook @julianstodd

“What we know today will get us to tomorrow, but we’ll have to learn more again tomorrow to keep ahead … welcome to the Social Age, where change is constant and we live in constant beta.”

I’ve never thought about learning like this before, other than I know I get bored quickly so find new things to keep me engaged and entertained. But, with the constant bombardment of new technologies, new networks, new applications to old techniques, etc. we are indeed in ‘constant beta’.

And I mean ‘we’ in the context of learning professionals (which I’m exploring with my next book project: follow here for news –#EdTechBook) that we need to not only keep up with developments but somehow keep ahead of them. I know this is near impossible, but we can at least be proactive in how we approach the changes, reflect on our own experiences, and make suggestions and engage with each other (and the students). From this will come better understanding and a clearer picture of what could be used, how, where, why, and (importantly) by whom.  Continue reading

Digital distraction

Digital Distraction

“The mere presence of a cell or smartphone on the table can disengage people during in-person conversations and hinder their empathy, according to a new Virginia Tech study that finds your attention is divided even if you’re not actively looking at your phone.”

The article ‘Your smartphone could be turning you into a lousy friend – even when you’re not using it‘ is as much about the social impact of the always-on connections we have through our mobile devices as it is about how we manage them.

“For many, digital distraction involves the “constant urge to seek out information, check for communication and direct their thoughts to other people and worlds,” the authors write.”

Continue reading

The Internet (in real-time) Infographic

We all love infographics (well, I do. Well, decent ones anyway) which is why this one is really interesting. Instead of being a static “this is what happens in an Internet-minute” like this one and this one) you can see the number of posts, likes, tweets, pins, emails, views, downloads, clicks, saves, etc. build over the time it takes you to view the details of the infographic.


Click image to open interactive version (via Penny Stocks Lab).

Social Media Landscape

Social media for engagement #jiscinform

Whilst reading the excellent JISC Inform newsletter (I’ve not paid this enough attention in the past – I will from now on!) I read the article on ‘social media for engagement’. Go read it now!

“The role of social media has the potential to extend beyond learning and teaching to support student engagement in the broadest sense. It offers a new way to develop relationships between the student or learner and their institution, as well as an alternative means to raise awareness of an institution’s engagement efforts.”  Continue reading

Skater

Working Title: Inspiration

Last night I surfed through the list of Netflix movies looking for something different, something new, something that would engage me on a level a blockbuster or classic film wouldn’t. Thanks to whatever algorithm Netflix uses to offer me a recommendation I went from a documentary about the Le Mans 24 race (“Every Second Counts (2012)“) to a skater docu-film called ‘Bones Brigade, an autobiography‘.

Yeah, that’s what I thought too; “really?” Initially. But it appealed to me: I’d never been any good on a skateboard as a kid, even worse on roller-skates. I do enjoy watching things like the X Games and other (Red Bull) type skater/surfer/extreme sport films. I alsohave admiration for the things skaters could do, and for the things they’ve broken to try and master a trick or move. This documentary, about a group/team of skaters who redefined skating and what the ‘sport’ meant, was quite an emotional roller coaster for me: here were a bunch of misfits, goofballs, loners, outsiders, etc. who refused to give up when, in the early 1980’s, the sport and skate parks (their arenas) disappeared and were ripped up.

“When six teenage boys came together as a skateboarding team in the 1980s, they reinvented not only their chosen sport but themselves too – as they evolved from insecure outsiders to the most influential athletes in the field.” IMDB  Continue reading

Learning Fundamentals: How to focus in the age of distraction

How to focus in the age of distraction

So many of us are connected and/or using our connected devices regularly. Some might say we / you are addicted to them and suffer withdrawal symptoms when we forget them or leave home home without them.

So then, how do we stay focused in this “age of distraction”? Jane Genovese writes on the Learning Fundamentals website on ‘how to focus in the age of distraction‘ and produced this excellent mind-map of Leo Babauta’s eBook Focus: A simplicity manifesto in the age of distraction”.

Genovese highlights her analysis of the book and the changes she’s making to sharpen her focus, including:  Continue reading

21st Century Education: Thinking Creatively

Thinking Creatively

As part of my 2013 review I’ve been looking over some blogs and reports I read this year, and this one by Anthony Chivetta, whilst originally posted in 2008, still has so much impact today, some 5 years on – “21st Century Education: Thinking Creatively”

“Today’s world is no longer content with students who can simply apply the knowledge they learned in school: our generation will be asked to think and operate in ways that traditional education has not, and can not, prepare us for.” (Chivetta, 2008)

Just so you know, at the time of writing (Jan 2008) Anthony was 18 years old. We must also remember that in 2008 we didn’t have tablets like the iPad, we were still using desktops and laptops and netbooks, and we had only just received the first iPhone (June 2007). Yet this observant millennial had already seen the power and advantage a device like this could give a student, and that his teachers were lagging further and further behind their students.  Continue reading

The Connected Age

Learning Technology at the core of The Connected Age? #LTHE

Enjoy this video from Educause. I hope you can see where I am coming from and why I’ve added this video to the #LTHE project as I see the Learning Technologist as an enabler, facilitator, manager, specialist, and even student in these ‘connected age’ Education settings:

“Higher Education is a connected community, and connections can do transformative things. When education is connected it forms a pathway; formal and informal learning are no longer separated. Learners can connect to an ever-widening circle of mentors, peers, experience, knowledge, games, simulations, collaborations tools, and augmented reality can help learners connect the dots in ways never before possible.”

The Connected Age from Educause on Vimeo.

The future of books

Textbooks: paper or digital?

The future of books

The question as to when (or if) paper textbooks will be replaced with digital editions keeps cropping up, and I was asked this again on twitter today by @SteljesEdn: “Are textbooks coming to the end of their life? what do you think”: read the discussion we had on the link.

So, will they? I don’t think so, not any time soon at any rate. The digital editions of textbooks currently available are little more than a PDF of the printed version, and for publishers that literally provide a PDF and call it an eBook .. shame on you! An eBook doesn’t have pages as the text is defined by the eReader device or software and can be altered by the individual: you cannot change a PDF text size except by zooming in/out.

In order for digital textbooks to really surpass the paper editions they need to offer more, and by more I mean embrace the technology and have embedded video, links, question & answers, and even link (in real-time?) readers from all over the world.  Continue reading