Putting on the Monday Morning Thinking Cap
Thinking Cap Edgar from Patricia Carlisle fine art, Santa Fe New Mexico USA
A few years back, the promise of the internet seemed unlimited. We thought that lowering the barriers to connection between people would fundamentally alter the way we live by exponentially increasing the value of our learning experiences. Well, the first results are in. We are starting to realize that getting benefits from connecting over the net is not quite as easy as we thought. Here is why.
First the good news. The web has removed barriers that limited access to media. With the barriers gone, we are moving from passive consumers of information and entertainment to active participants. As we get more active, we will see more and more opportunities for learning experiences via sharing that used to be beyond our reach.
But there are some downsides. We can see already that net connections do not replace real world relationships. In other words, to build community we still need to start with real world groups. But as we spend more time playing with data and less time in real world interactions, that gets harder instead of easier. More mobile devices like the IPad and even Google Glasses do not improve this.
Second, the web experience is different than traditional learning experiences. Books pull us into complex stories. In contrast, the internet experience is episodic. It is harder to build up great net based story lines (or threads). We get a lot more noise but not necessarily a lot better stories. This has limited the learning experiences we get from the web so far.
So we have already bumped into some limits on the potential of the web. Can we get around them? Of course we can. But not by ignoring them. Some people are already experimenting with ways to get more out of the web. To give more priority to building real communities and to offer better learning threads. For example, check out what VC Fred Wilson is doing, live streaming “MBA Mondays”. Here is the story —years ago, Fred started off just blogging. He became very successful at it with a large web following. Part of the reason was the Fred linked his blogging to his real world business. Then Fred decided to offer some text business teaching once a week, calling that blog post “MBA Mondays”. Now he is offering this teaching as a real world in class presentation, live streamed over the web. For me, the key learning steps here are (1) better linking web and real world and (2) building learning threads.
FOLLOW - Here is a phrase that captures at least some of the above idea
… as the web tends to organize around passions.
Organizing around passions? Right. Those would be shared real world concerns that require threads of learning. Katie Fehrenbacher writes about a new site called snip.it that attempts this. Snip.it uses the Pinterest design idea of making it very easy to post a piece of content for sharing. Pinterest allows you to “pin” pictures. Snip.it allows you to “snip” articles. Katie argues that snip.it may help people who are passionate about environmental concerns to share ideas and learn faster. Let’s see.
2d FOLLOW - As people wake up to new opportunities, they naturally reach out to get and as quickly as possible to give advice. This is leading to an explosion of “how to do it” content. Here is an example. I expect this trend to continue and to grow ever more sophisticated.