If you are interested in finding out the key media trends, the events and the new communication technologies that are shaping your future, in this issue of Media Literacy Digest, open education advocate George Siemens, explores and reports on new fascinating stories and insights and their impact on learning, work and society.
Photo credit: Robert Mizerek
Inside this Media Literacy Digest:
learning, networks, knowledge, technology, trends
by George Siemens
Nielsen's research states that 18% of time spent online is spent on social networking sites and services. At first glance, this seems a bit high - especially considering the figure is 3x's greater than last year.
However, if accurate, it provides strong support to the reports claim that
"This growth suggests a wholesale change in the way the Internet is used… While video and text content remain central to the Web experience - the desire of online consumers to connect, communicate and share is increasingly driving the medium's growth".
More info is available here.
Google just announced Social Search. The service helps you "to find publicly available content from your social circle".
Google extracts information on your social circle from three sources: Google Reader subscriptions, Google Profiles, and Google chat (GMail). They use the term "surfacing" connections to describe not only adding your friends, but one additional degree: your friend's friends.
This move by Google is a direct assault on Facebook.
Facebook has emphasized social connections over content. Google has, to date, primarily emphasized information sorting, filtering, and ranking. Facebook's model of emphasizing social rather than information connections is a problem for Google.
What is unique in Social Search is the focus on aggregation rather than place-based interaction. In theory, Google emphasizes pulling together various pieces of online interactions through aggregation, whereas Facebook emphasizes housing interactions in their environment.
It is interesting to note that we are seeing increased consolidation of ideas and concepts around the future of technology and the web.
Schmidt's comments do not provide anything new. It is a laundry list of topics and predictions that most people who are involved in technology fields are already familiar with:
Five years ago, when the groundwork of the social web and emerging technologies in general was being laid, new and revolutionary ideas arose every week (at least that is what it felt like).
It is possible that a reduction of diverse views is a natural progression as the web matures. On the other hand, the revolution is being monetized and utility-drive of technologies might be pushing concept normalization.
By now, I think the view of innate generational differences in technology use has been sufficiently debunked (see Mark Bullen's Netgenskeptic site).
"Some of the highest growth rates in broadband use are happening among the elderly. The Pew Research Center found that broadband use for those 65 and older increased from 19 percent in May 2008 to 30 percent in April 2009. Since 2005, broadband use has tripled in that group."
I have been following Indexed - a site that uses simple visuals to communicate complex relationships and interactions.
For example: The relationship between information and confusion. The simplicity of the approach somewhat hides the impact. We live life in flows, but we are remembered by artifacts. A blog post, a paper, or an image are artifacts.
Given the abundance of information that washes across our mind on a daily basis, an image can have greater impact than a well-reasoned scientific paper. Connections, associations, and relationships can often be better communicated visually than with text.
When change happens in a networked environment, it is rapid. We have seen it in the financial markets, music industry, TV (YouTube), and, perhaps at it is most pronounced, the newspaper industry.
For example, consider these results from major publications in the US. Only one had increased circulation - others had enormous drops - up to 25% in a six month period.
Hierarchical organizations are simply not designed to adapt to change at this pace.
If you are not familiar with cPanel, it is a fairly accessible interface (similar to Ensim) for managing websites on a server. Adding a wiki, a forum, a blog, or a chat room only requires a few clicks. Gardner expands this view in A Personal Cyberinfrastructure:
"Suppose that when students matriculate, they are assigned their own web servers - not 1GB folders in the institution's web space but honest-to-goodness virtualized web servers of the kind available for $7.99 a month from a variety of hosting services, with built-in affordances ranging from database maintenance to web analytics. As part of the first-year orientation, each student would pick a domain name.
Over the course of the first year, in a set of lab seminars facilitated by instructional technologists, librarians, and faculty advisors from across the curriculum, students would build out their digital presences in an environment made of the medium of the web itself."
About George Siemens
George Siemens is the Associate Director in the Learning Technologies Centre at the University of Manitoba. George blogs at www.elearnspace.org where he shares his vision on the educational landscape and the impact that media technologies have on the educational system. George Siemens is also the author of Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age and the book "Knowing Knowledge" where he develops a learning theory called connectivism which uses a network as the central metaphor for learning and focuses on knowledge as a way to making connections.
George Siemens -
Social Media Time - Stefan Hanusch
Social Media Time - Center for Community Engagement
Social Search - Chris Lamphear
The Web In 5 Years: More of Now -Stephen Aaron Rees
Go Grandpa! - Lisa F. Young
Communicating Complexity - Indexed
Falling of The Cliff - Stefan Hanusch
A Personal Cyberinfrastructure - Yuri Arcurs