Back to the blog, and lots to blog about.
It’s interesting to reflect on how the nature of my participation in Social Media has changed. At first it was all about the blog, and now it’s more about Twitter and Nings. But I miss my blog. It’s the place that makes me slow down and be accountable for what I am thinking and saying. In contrast I am more inclined to lob something half baked out into the Twittersphere to see what will happen; I own it less. However (now that I am thinking about it) since I am braver on Twitter it is also the space that has encouraged me to seek out people that challenge me. This twitter post for example:
As someone who has been guilty of spreading the “factory model” meme I considered this one worthy of a retweet because right or wrong it made me take a step back and examine my own thinking.
Through Twitter I also recently found a Globe and Mail article called Information Rich and Attention Poor in which they argue that since data and information today are in abundance the scarce commodity is time and attention, and a growing consequence of this shift is an increasing emphasis on speed at the expense of depth. In other word there are so many things we could be doing it is hard to justify focusing on one thing. Like blogging … when I could be tweeting instead.
The article also has this great quote about the production of knowledge:
We may think metaphorically of the production of knowledge as a function of “information” and “attention,” with attention understood as the set of activities by which information is ultimately transformed into various forms of knowledge.
So if attention is one the wane, how do we turn information into knowledge? Maybe I am missing something here. I know that there is a lot of power in the collective intelligence of the masses, but what this article seems to imply (and which I might be inclined to agree with – if I wasn’t such a fence sitter) is that this collective intelligence can cover a lot of ground, but not dig into it very deep.
The article goes in to discuss the decline of the “expert”.
But while hundreds of thousands of Web-empowered volunteers are able to very efficiently dedicate small slices of their discretionary time, the traditional experts – professors, journalists, authors and filmmakers – need to be compensated for their effort, since expertise is what they have to sell. Unfortunately for them, this has become a much harder sell because the ethic of “free” rules the economics of so much Web content.
The irony of all this is that most of the knowledge that “the crowd’ uses and remixes originally came from experts.
The system works because it is able to mine intellectual capital. This suggests that today’s “cult of the amateur” will ultimately be self-limiting and will require continuous fresh infusions of more traditional forms of expert knowledge.
For someone like me who is usually so immersed in the ra-ra world of web 2.0 this perspective on information and attention was a refreshing change and like the tweet that I started this post with, it made me revisit some of my assumptions. Which I hope, in the end, will keep me honest.