Connections and Comparisons: The Wealth of Blogs

A couple of Comments and Corrections before getting to the main portion of today’s posting:

First, thanks to Tom Kuhlman from Articulate Global for commenting on my last posting, Rapid E-Learning, Blogs, LMSes, and more. Tom noted that e-mail subscription to The Rapid E-learning Blog is not necessary to get the free download of An Insiders Guide to Becoming a Rapid E-Learning Pro. The RSS subscription also offers this option. Either way, I encourage you to check out both Tom’s book and his blog.

Second, Valerie Smothers has commented on Medbiquitous, Soon to be Ubiquitous that the call for abstracts for the 2008 meeting, May 13-15 here in Baltimore, is now open at https://www.medbiq.org/callforabstracts. If you are involved with an organization that provides online education or credentialing in the healthcare space, attendance at the Medbiquitous meeting is a must.

Now, it appears that fellow blogger Dave Sabol and I are on a similar cognitive wavelength this week. I’d like to mix his brief review of Collective X, a free online community platform, in with my tool-oriented prior post.  I also note that Dave has posted a call for participation in Blog Action Day on his site—precisely what I had planned for this iteration of Mission to Learn.

I could, of course, have plunged ahead with this posting without mentioning Dave, but that would have diminished my message. One of the direct benefits of blogging is the great Web of connections and comparisons it enables both bloggers themselves and ardent blog readers to weave. My background is in comparative literature, and I will admit that I may tend to value comparison for comparison’s sake more than the average person, but clearly much more than that is happening in the blogosphere. Pursued conscientiously and self-consciously blogging and blog reading almost by default lead participants into the upper levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy of the cognitive domain: analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.

This realization is hardly rocket science (which seems to be less than what it used to be anyway), but the context in and process by which I came to it is worth noting. At the moment I happen to be reading simultaneously Yochai Benkler’s The Wealth of Networks and Paul Hawken’s Blessed Unrest. The first takes perhaps the most in-depth look to date at the way that information production and distribution has fundamentally changed and offers (in the words of the book jacket) a “comprehensive social theory of the Internet and the networked information economy.” The second addresses (again, in the words of the book jacket) “the appearance of systemic problems that are genuinely global in scope, and the growth of a worldwide movement that is determined to heal the wounds of the earth with the force of passion, dedication, and collective intelligence and wisdom.”

Both of these books are fundamentally about system dynamics, whether these dynamics evidence themselves under classic headings like economics, ecology, and social justice, or something that is all of these and yet entirely new. It seems clear that what is happening in the context and the processes of the blogosphere evidences this same underlying dynamic. To a certain extent this phenomenon is simply a product of the disintermediation that my friend and colleague David Houle has written about so extensively. It is also suggestive to me of the process of order spontaneously arising in highly complex, seemingly chaotic systems that Stuart Kauffman describes in At Home in the Universe and that I have written about in The Capacity Continuum. In any case, the potential for learning—and action—represented by these new system dynamics is awesome.

Which brings me back to Blog Action Day. Here, of course, Hawken and Benkler coalesce, and the Web becomes the platform by which individuals “around the web will unite to put a single important issue on everyone’s mind – the environment.” What a fantastic event for learning. What an incredible catalyst for action. Dave and I will be part of that dynamic. Will you?


Books referenced in this posting:

4 thoughts on “Connections and Comparisons: The Wealth of Blogs”

  1. Great post Jeff! Sorry for such lag time in responding! I wanted to comment on a few areas that you referenced particularly:
    Articulate’s An Insiders Guide to Becoming a Rapid E-Learning Pro is fantastic and I am glad you posted about it. I had become aware of it because I too am a fan and customer, had you not beaten me to the punch with your own posting on it, I would have likely written something similar. Additionally, thanks for referencing the Medbiquitous meeting. I was previously unaware of the gathering and all of the great work the group is doing. It definitely looks like an organization to keep an eye on even though I am not involved with continuing medical education.
    As for the synchronicity effect of our blogging, all I can say is that great minds think alike! In all seriousness, I too value the connections and ideas that having a collective of folks writing, thinking and working in a related area enables. The fact that we had some similar thoughts likely means we share some similar values and are interested in some similar topics (no surprise there).
    I agree with your analysis on Blooms Taxonomy, blogging definitely forces thinking at the upper levels, which is why I not only enjoy doing it but also see so much educational value in it. I have been stewing on a post that correlates different types of blogs and blog postings to the taxonomy in attempt to flesh out a taxonomy of my own. Stay tuned on that.
    To your point on system dynamics and the link to David’s website, all I can say is wow. Great correlation and analysis, and definitely some additional reading that I have to do. Fantastic what happens when one looks at something through a different lens.
    Keep up the great blogging. I really look forward to your postings as I am finding myself thinking and questioning a lot as a result of what you write.

  2. Hi Jeff
    Enjoy your posts. As you are reading Benkler’s work on peer production you will want to explore the various product design models which have become off shoots of the volunteer-based version: crowdsourcing and crowdfunding.
    Also, make sure to explore “Open Value Networks” which deal with knowledge management of people networks.

  3. Jeff-
    Great post! Three things:
    1. Yes I will participate n Blog Action Day. I did not know of it, so thank you.
    2. Thank you for the mentions in the column. Yes Blog Action Day is a direct result of disintermediation. Ten years ago what would we do, all write letters to the editor and hope they get published?
    3. Oh no, two more books to read. Where is Evelyn Woods now that I need her more than ever?
    Great content on your blog, but then I would expect nothing less from you.
    Thanks again,

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