Collective intelligence as networking collectives

Innumerable texts have been written on the subject of collective intelligence; what it is, what it isn’t, what it might be1. There are discussions about how the “more than one” may function (emergence, process, praxis, product, differentiation, integration, dynamics2, etc.); about it’s various forms (networks, collectives, connectives, communities of practice, les pronétaires3, prosumption 4, tele-cocooning, smart mobs, etc.); the kinds of impacting forces (interaction, interdependence, structure, goals, cohesion 5, norms, entitativity 6); about roles therein (position, significance of position, individuality maintained, blurred, eroded); about participation (opt in-opt out, P2P, many-to many, many to multitudes); about interactions (convergence, distributed exploration, collaboration, coordination, stymergy, requisite cognition, etc.); about what constitute necessary operational principles (openness, peering, sharing, acting globally, etc.); about the kinds of infrastructures (syntactic-structure-semantic-pragmatic, open architecture, community architecture, component architecture, non-hierarchical , collective classification or folksonomy, transparency, design-in-the-large (DIL) etc.); about ethical considerations (intellectual property, licence proliferation, private-public hybridity, etc.); and about the potentiality of the more-than-one (group think, mass amateurization, wisdom of crowds7, smart mobs, etc.). This list, while hardly exhaustive, gives a small indication of the scope and scale -and perhaps intensity- of the discourse around collective intelligence.8 This plethora of discourse pertaining to collective intelligence is of exceptional importance, notably because our choices therein affect “how we design software, organizational process, and even organizations themselves” 9. Continue reading

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Le médium enseignant

Originally posted on J'idée en neuf !:

Être enseignant c’est être habité par des questions relatives à un texte, une œuvre, un concept, une formule … – appelons cela la matière – (comment raconter cela ? par où commencer? quels liens tisser avec ceci ou cela ? quelles évocations ou quels exemples pourraient aider ? …) dont on essaie de tirer des éléments dramatiques, plongés dans le théâtre des ombres où séjourne l’inspiration qui l’a fécondée, et qui consiste toujours en elle, après moult transformations dans l’atelier de son auteur. Cet exercice qu’on appelle la préparation d’un cours culmine vers l’explication, en classe, tissée de liens multiples, mais de tensions très variables, entre les éléments dramatiques – dont l’organisation narrative appelle un ensemble symbolique très riche – et les référentiels des élèves que, pour l’essentiel, l’enseignant ignore.

Être compris par l’élève n’est pas la première compétence de l’enseignant; on suppose évidemment qu’il sait se faire comprendre et…

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La respiration pédagogique

Originally posted on J'idée en neuf !:

Si l’explication est la marque de virtuosité de l’enseignant, est-ce à dire que la pédagogie « magistrale » soit le seul modèle valable ? Aucunement.

L’explication est une capacité – une compétence, dirions-nous aujourd’hui – qui ne s’exprime pas à sa pleine puissance en tout temps. Cela dépend de la matière, des niveaux d’enseignement et tout autant du style pédagogique adopté. Un enseignant pourrait choisir de ne jamais montrer, dans une exhibition retenue de sa performance, aucune virtuosité, et réussir quand même dans son enseignement. Mais cela n’arrive que parce qu’il est crédible du point de vue de ses compétences. Aussi, la virtuosité peut facilement devenir intimidante et prendre le dessus sur l’interprétation ; une rhétorique peut facilement tourner à vide. L’essentiel est de faire circuler le pneuma de l’œuvre jusque dans les objets d’apprentissage. Et la gestion de classe s’impose souvent comme une compétence préalable à l’expression de toute virtuosité. Peu importe le…

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Collective intelligence as connective problematization ? (Part 4)

If we agree that university work1 is to problematize (and then sometimes to methodologically design ways to actualise the problem) then posing intelligent questions might constitute a purpose of collective intelligence for which (open) universities could learn to excel. In other words, to collaboratively explore the power of open and generative questions and collective intelligent problematization. This proposition for collective intelligent Problematization is based on two ideas. The first idea (open questions) is by Robert Bystrom2 “Whenever you entertain an open question, you invite personal intelligence. Whenever a group entertains a shared question, they invite their collective intelligence.” The second idea (generative questions) is by George PórI think not all open questions generate CI (collective intelligence) equally fit to call forth the most valued future of the organization or community. I call the ones that do “generative questions.” Their power is in the qualities of the individual or collective attention and consciousness, from which they come.”3

Just as there are now multiform narratives4 University 2.0 could work towards “multiform problematics”. That is, to systematically (pedagogically and technologically openly architecturalise) invite alternate, multiple, contradictory ideas as to what constitutes intelligent problems. That is, to go beyond appeals to collective problem solving towards “connective problem posing”.


1 I, personally, believe all education at all levels should be this way.

2 In his comment on the “Connectivity ramp, CI, and Jaron Lanier

3 August 20, 2006

4 “Multiform narrative attempts to give a simultaneous form to these possibilities, to allow us to hold in our minds at the same time multiple contradictory alternatives. Whether multiform narrative is a reflection of post-Einsteinian physics or of a secular society haunted by the chanciness of life or of a new sophistication in narrative thinking, its alternate versions of reality are now part of the way we think, part of the way we experience the world. To be alive in the twentieth century is to be aware of the alternative possible selves, of alternative possible worlds, and of the limitless intersecting stories of the actual world.” (Source

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Digitally-based Networking Collectives in Higher Education (Part 3)

Even though   “open learning constructs” (small world networks and holacratic governance) are being actualized in many digital spaces, how could we bring such radically unpredictable, unauthorized (in the traditional sense) collectives into higher education? Furthermore, how could these collective connections potentially enable collective intelligence ?

Three (non) problems

Digitally based collectives can pose particular problems with respect to their integration into higher education learning. Here follows three (non insurmountable) problems for our collective consideration.

First of all, it goes without saying that at present, most university classrooms are not equipped to have a “permanent interpenetration with cyberspace”. However, given the proliferation of mobile devices this access problem is temporary (at least for universities whose students have elevated economic currency and digitally based social capital ). Nevertheless, if we agree that the ability of a group to solve a problem collectively is potentially directly proportional to the number and diversity of members in a group, then we have to ask ourselves how we enact and resist homogeneity (like mindedness or group think) both in our theoretical stances and learning practices. What forms, kinds and opportunities for heterogeneity are pedagogically and technologically architecturally integrated in our university work (research, community service & courses)…and perhaps more importantly who is deciding these (the power base).

Second, in “course-related collectives”, to the degree that these exist, collaboration (team work or group work) is often imposed or simply implied. Working together becomes an obligatory passage point1 enacting a “participation-partage forcé”. This kind of collaboration, a “collaboration forcée” is not necessarily the same kind of collaboration as evidenced by collectives on the WWW wherein people “freely” participate and share on their own accord. Reasons, motivations and levels of engagement (as to why one might collaboratively engage with others within or outside of a course) may be different in kind and/or degree. To date the web 2.0 is often referred to as the social web. While the word social usually refers to the collaborative nature of exchanges and creations, it may also represent the kinds of collaboration and content presently being actualised. That is, productions that are not necessarily of interest to higher education. The web is also being depicted as a “learning web”. This is not to say these two terms (social and learning) are mutually exclusive. On the contrary they are interwoven. (However, to more explicitly focus on web affordances for higher education I will herein refer to a “learning web” and this for students and professors and administrators.) What we often have seen to date (with respect to technological integration in universities) is a “ teaching web”, call it “teachnology”. That is, students are taught using Web 1.0 type technologies (1 to many and/or a closed few to a closed and enclosed few)2 or students do use Web 2.0 technologies but in Pedagogy 1.0 ways. So, how to know if our digital course-related spaces are taking a “learning web turn”? One of the questions to ask is how much power (control) has been afforded to students to openly create, share, authorise and remix course related projects, processes and their distribution ? And, A second question we might ask of ourselves is how is this power distribution pedagogically and technologically ?

Third, “course-related collectives” are rather limited in their duration, they typically exist for a 15 week period. Hence course-related collaboration is not long term. There are many ways in which to subvert this timeline. The first is a building of an open course-related repository which continues to be used and built across courses (semesters and years). 3 In terms of a pedagogical theoretical perspective which supports ongoing building and sharing of knowledge within and across coursework, Holmes, Tangney, FitzGibbon, Savage, and Mehan uphold Communal Constructism. In their article Communal Constructivism: Students constructing learning for as well as with others,) they argue that:

“…there is a need for an expanded definition of social constructivism that takes into account the synergy between the more recent advances in information technology – which are increasing our potential for communication and the ability to store a variety of data types – and advances in virtual learning environments. In particular we are still at an early stage in trying to construct knowledge as to how to teach and learn effectively with ICTs. What we argue for is a communal constructivism where students and teachers are not simply engaged in developing their own information but actively involved in creating knowledge that will benefit other students. In this model students will not simply pass through a course like water through a sieve but instead leave their own imprint in the development of the course, their school or university, and ideally the discipline. “(See the footnote 4 for the reference as well as a synopses of this in French.)


1 via grading procedures for the students and, for professors, so as to ease the burden of marking time in an ever increasing number of courses they are being required to offer as well as classroom sizes therein.

2  These kinds of web 1.0 controlled and controlling technologies are often imposed by technology personnel in the name of security

3 I have been doing this in my graduate and undergraduate courses since 2005 using a wiki repository. If you are intersted I would be more than happy to talk about it during our symposium.

4 Nous nous réclamons du constructivisme communautaire, où étudiants et enseignants s’engagent au-delà d’une simple élaboration de leurs propres connaissances pour participer activement à la création de connaissances qui serviront à d’autres étudiants. Selon ce cadre théorique, les étudiants ne font que suivre le cours ; par leur travail, ils contribueront à l’amélioration du cours, de l’école ou de l’université, et idéalement, à la discipline elle-même.Source

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Collectives (Part 2)

According to Noubel (2004) groups that denote collective intelligence have the following dynamic properties in common. These include transparency, a gift economy, a collective awareness, a polymorphic social structure, a high learning capacity, a convergence of interest between the individual and collective levels, interactions characterized by human warmth, and, above all, an excellent capability to handle complexity and the unexpected.” 1 Noubel offers several observable phenomena inherent to intelligence practices in typically small. well-trained groups. For the sake of brevity I will paraphrase them. He outlines seven characteristics : 1) the emergence of a notable group singularity (a style, a form,); 2) a holoptical space, a way for each participant to have an ever updated perception of other participants and the emerging work of the collective2; 3) an agreed upon social contract (operating protocols); 4) a polymorphic architecture to map changing relationship ; 5) circulating object-links (collectively pursued objects); 6) a learning oriented organization (processes for individual growth which can become useful for others; and 7) a gift economy where people give first, then potentially receive later on when the collective has increased its wealth. 3 In addition, collective intelligence is deemed to be based upon the necessity of : a) group diversity, independence, and decentralization and a well documented group memory or knowledge base with aggregation functionalities. Finally there is repeated insistence to promote creative thinking and to ensure solutions undergo critical peer review.4 

But what happens to collectives (and their potentiality for intelligence) when interactions occur on radically open, dispersed, digital interfaces ? For example, what happens to a given group singularity (the Whole) when interactions -and even interfaces- can be synchronously altered, remixed, even undone? Or, how are holopitcal space affordances5 affected given large scale6, often fleeting, unidentifiable, fractionnary participation? It may be too soon to know whether these dynamic, open space-related changes lead to a different kind of collective (emerging ontological entity) or whether they are evoking differences at the level of degree. Nevertheless digitally-based collectives are said to share some common principles7: (a) Openness or crowdsourcing b) Peering8 c) Sharing 9 and Acting Globally10; to function via collaborative intelligence (or CQ) or connective intelligence11 ) and to require new skills : transmedia navigation, prosumerism practices, curation engagement (how to become invested in collecting, annotating and archiving data for self as well as others)12; wise very public participation principles13; and perhaps most importantly, how to participate as if your presence matters14. What it means to “effectively” (intelligently?) participate and co-create within and across digitally-based, shifting, non linear, complex, perhaps even contradictory, large-scale repositories is an increasingly emerging question. Some answer with the concept of Learning 2.015 .While there are a plethora of questions pertaining to open digital collectives (authorship, ownership, durability, etc.) and what constitute skills therein16 I will briefly discuss two in the next section.

Digitally-based collectives : two issues

The first question relates to group manageability : How to network dynamic expansive and expanding repositories, that is innumerable and indeterminable connections out of anyone’s control? The second is related to power : How to actualize radically open digitally-based Collective Intelligence (Governance 2.017)?

To address issue number one, how to manage knowledge navigation-curation-production practices within and across digital collectivities, Clay Shirky18 (among others19) suggests we workin small world networks. Small world networks have two characteristics: they are both densely and sparsely connected at different scales20.

You let the small groups connect tightly, and then you connect the groups. But you can’t really connect groups – you connect people within the groups. Instead of one loose group of twenty-five, you have five tight groups of five.” (Shirky, 2008, p. 215).

This “friend-of-a-friend networking” means that people “don’t simply connect at random. They connect in clusters, ensuring that they interact with the same people frequently, even in large networks.” .(Shirky, 20008, p. 214-215) What does this do? First, Shirky says that this reduces the Prisoner’s Dilmena and helps create social capital. Shirky notes two distinctions (upheld in sociology) with respect to social capital : bonding capital and bridging capital. “Bonding capital is an increase in the depth of connections and trust within a relatively homogeneous group; bridging capital is an increase in connections among relatively heterogeneous groups. Bonding capital tends to be more exclusive and bridging capital more inclusive. In small world networks bonding happens within the clusters, while bridging happens between the clusters.” (Shirky, 2008. p. 222) Second, when one ranks the number of connections per participant the graph approximates a power law distribution – or the “80/20” rule –. This allows us to explain how it is that a few people can account for a widely disproportionate amount of overall connectivity. So small world networks can help us manage connections, create social capital and explain distributions. However, Shirky suggests that the most significant effect of digital networking tools “… lies in the increased leverage they give the most connected people. The tightness of a large scale network comes less (my emphasis) from increasing the number of connections that the average member of the network can support than from increasing the number of connections that the most connected can support.” (Shirky, 2008, p 225) So, the most connected have the most leverage and affect the tightness (or perhaps singularity) of the network. “Connectors”21 are the people who “link us up with the world … people with a special gift for bringing the world together.” (Galdwell, 2002, p. 38). Connectedness varies : we can witness connections (consult Wikipedia), create connections (bonding capital) and/or be Connectors (bridging capital). Developping “connectness expertise” is evidenced in the development of Personal Learning Networks (PLN’S)22 and Professional Learning Networks (PfLN)23 . However, while the development of “connectness expertise” is thriving outside of institutions, its integration into educational practices is still quite rare.24

The second issue relates to power. Digitally networking collectives power share across horizontal (non pyramidal) interfaces. Cloud computing, open access, and folksonomy ( to give but a few Web 2.0 examples), bypass – some might say usurp the pyramidal-type operational – perhaps panoptical- power structures that have proliferated along industrial style organization. New models are emerging for organisations that wish to enter into a Governance 2.0. The one presented here is that of holacracy.

Holacracy™ is a comprehensive practice for governing and running our organizations – a new organizational operating system. With its transformative structure and processes, Holacracy™ integrates the collective wisdom of people throughout the company, while aligning the organization with its broader purpose and a more organic way of operating. The result is dramatically increased agility, transparency, innovation, and accountability. Holacracy™ takes the principles, ideas, and emerging mindset articulated by cutting-edge thought leaders, and instills them in the actual structures and processes of the organization. It grounds them in practice and brings them to life.25

Briefly, holacracy suggests that (institutional) problems with respect to effective communication, power distribution, constant change, increasing complexity, role ambiguity, low trust thresholds prevalent fear stances and rigidity are outcomes of our design. Modes of “predict and control”, “figuring it all out then locking it down” lead to even greater rigidity and more planning. Holacracy outlines horizontally-based (inclusive) “sense and respond” structures based on a distributive authority paradigm , notably open regulation via distributed governance. It presents a (what we might call a web 2.0) framework of intertwined problematization (steering) processes to systemically (architecturally embedded) help unfold the purpose of the group (work to be done) and to ensure integrative decision-making therein. Autonomy , differentiation, transparency are key underlying principles of holacracy. Unlike democracy where there is often a “tyranny of consensus”, tensions figure prominently in holacracy. Unlike sociocracy, the purpose is not the people, but rather the work to be accomplished. (The idea being to be at the service for something other than ourselves.) In holacracy, creative response-ability from all participants is assumed, regulation is emergent (continually negotiated) and inclusion is sustainable (operationalized architecturally).

  1. 1Noubel provides examples of small groups in which the whole cannot be reduced to the sum of its parts :sports teams, jazz bands, meetings rooms.
  1. 2“Holopticism — the link between individuals and the whole — provide players the capacity to operate in a sovereign independent way because they know what to do for the sake of the whole and the sake of themselves. Therefore there is not only horizontal transparency (perception of every other participants), but also a vertical communication with the emerging Whole.” (Source) Holopticism is a critical condition for global collective intelligence (GCI) to exist. It can only be attained through artificially reconstituted reality via modeled representations of the Whole. Augmented holoticism is likely to appear, as providing information and perceptions that our natural senses couldn’t grasp whatsoever. Some critical conditions are: 1) information is accessible and available to everyone in real time ; 2) participants must not be overwhelmed with too much information, they must be provided with ‘angled’ artificially synthesized information (offering an angle, a pertinent point of view that fits with the individual user’s situation, and not generalist views), through customizable dashboards ; 3) it should offer any form of materialized representation (as a perceptible object for our senses), namely the visualization and circulation of objects-link.
  1. 3The co-intelligence institute has elaborated six basic manifestations of co-intelligence based : 1) multi-modal intelligence; 2) collaborative intelligence; 3) collective intelligence; 4) wisdom 5) resonant intelligence; and 6) universal intelligence.

  1. 4These ideas are based on Surweickis book, The Wisdom of Srowds, reflections upon Surweicki’s book by Oinas-Kukkonen, Harri (2008). Network analysis and crowds of people as sources of new organisational knowledge. In: A. Koohang et al. (Eds): Knowledge Management: Theoretical Foundation. Informing Science Press, Santa Rosa, CA, US, pp. 173-189 and the wikipedia entry for collective intelligence (consulted May 01, 2011)
  1. 5The invention of powerful holoptical architectures is one of the biggest and actual challenges of collective Intelligence technologies. (Source)

6Many digitally-based collectives far exceed Dunbar’s number. “Dunbar’s number is suggested to be a theoretical cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships. These are relationships in which an individual knows who each person is, and how each person relates to every other person.[1] Proponents assert that numbers larger than this generally require more restrictive rules, laws, and enforced norms to maintain a stable, cohesive group. No precise value has been proposed for Dunbar’s number. It has been proposed to lie between 100 and 230, with a commonly used value of 150.[2] Dunbar’s number states the number of people one knows and keeps social contact with, and it does not include the number of people known personally with a ceased social relationship, nor people just generally known with a lack of persistent social relationship, a number which might be much higher and likely depends on long-term memory size.”

7Primarily taken from Tapscott, D., & Williams, A. D. (2008). Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything, USA: Penguin Group

8Horizontal organization where users are free to modify and develop productions and make it available for others

9Freely sharing some ideas (GPL licence) while maintaining some degree of control over others (Creative Commons licences)

10In terms of a global network “…we have a vital role to play in strengthening the links between community organisations working for human rights and peace, and supporting and shaping the emerging concepts and institutions of global governance.” (Source: In terms of business, “the advancement in communication technology has prompted the rise of global companies at low overhead costs. The internet is widespread, therefore a globally integrated company has no geographical boundaries and may access new markets, ideas and technology’ (Source)

12Jenkins et al 2009

13 The International Association for Public Participation (IAP2)’s “Spectrum of Public Participation” ranges through the following functions : Empower, Collaborate, Involve, Consult, Inform. public participation “Spectrum of Public Participation” and the “Ladder of Public Participation” Sherry Arnstein’s “Ladder of Public Participation” ranges through similar functions: : 8 Citizen Control (Citizen Power), 7 Delegated power, 6 Partnership, 5 Placation (Tokenism),4 Consultation, 3 Informing, 2 Therapy (Non-Participation), 1 Manipulation. Both of these denote higher to lower power + the addition of community intellingence. See also “ Pedagogical challenges for personalisation: Integrating the personal with the public through context-driven enquiry.” Special Issue, Curriculum Journal, 2009, 20 (3), 185-306.

14Noubel 2004, Jenkins, Shirky

15 Notably, interdisciplinary, creative, global collaboration skills that systematically, read architecturally, empower those who have access to the WWW

  1. 16To see some of the sites depicting skills for “21st century learning” , scoop it site for Collective Intelligence 2.0 and

18Here comes Everybody, 2008 Penguin books

  1. 20 “Many networks are conjectured to be scale-free, including World Wide Web links, biological networks, and social networks, although the scientific community is still discussing these claims as more sophisticated data analysis techniques become available.[1]” (Source) For some characteristics of scale free networks see:
  1. 21Malcolm Gladwell calls these highly connected people “Connectors” in his book The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference (first published iin 200 by Little Brown) . See Gladwell,s blog for more informaiton

22 Personal Learning Networksconsist of the people a learner interacts with and derives knowledge from in a Personal Learning Environment. An important part of this concept is the theory of connectivism developed by George Siemens and Stephen Downes. Learners create connections and develop a network that contributes to their professional development and knowledge.[1] The learner does not have to know these people personally or ever meet them in person.[2] The following is an excerpt from Dryden’s and Vos’ book on learning networks:[3] “For the first time in history, we know now how to store virtually all humanity’s most important information and make it available, almost instantly, in almost any form, to almost anyone on earth. We also know how to do that in great new ways so that people can interact with it , and learn from it.” ( There is also an interesting video with thoughts on PLN’s by Will Richardson

  1. 23Professional Learning Networks (PfLN) “….that can be used for facilitation of knowledge absorption, assimilation and dissemination not only in formal and informal learning process, but also in one long-term learning plan when students transform in life-long learners” (Source) Here are two examples in education edupln and I, personally, and in light of changing attributes with respect to what constitutes expersie, do not find the personal/professional distinction helpful. One of the more hybrid personal-professional networks is Pearltrees.
  1. 24George Seimen’s has some excellent thoughts on networking “connectivism” affects teachers and teaching
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Shifts in the WWW (Part 1)

Already half a generation ago, in 2007, Bruce Schatz (Director of the CANIS – Community Architectures for Network Information Systems – Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) said we were moving towards three million web-based repositories over the next generation :

The Evolution of the Net has already proceeded from data transmission in the Internet to information retrieval in the Web. The global protocols are evolving towards knowledge navigation in the Interspace, moving from syntax to semantics. In the future, infrastructure will support analysis, for interactive correlations across knowledge sources. This moves closer towards “telesophy”, transparent infrastructure for knowledge at a distance. Getting from here to there will require a paradigm shift from central to distributed, from searching universal archives to navigating community repositories. Central archives partially survived the transition from a million repositories to a billion, but distributed indexing is necessary to scale to a trillion repositories in the next generation.” 1

Such shifts at the level of protocol, infrastructure, and paradigm are not without consequence, nor implication. The following list – not at all exhaustive, nor in any order of import – presents some of the shifts attributed to Web 2.0 :

  • access “anyone, any time, anywhere” via open architecture, social architecture is the process,
  • agency interactor, hackers and crackers,
  • audience(s) more of the few, transdisciplinary multitudes,
  • authority constructed, contested, hacker heroes, from presumed authority to collective credibility2
  • authorship procedural authorship, multiple authors for a given text or texts, often unidentifiable, author as writer & reader & editor & publisher,
  • books technotexts,3
  • classification folksonomy (tagging and ranking by the few and the many),
  • climate → abundance (knowledge is not rare),
  • contributions over time, not necessarily incremental, unequal, provisional & almost permanent),
  • control (governance) distributed authority, unsupervised, surveillance by design4, react rather than prevent,
  • coordination self organisation, often ad hoc, correlation by preference/interest, affinity spaces,
  • curation filtering without rigid structures, collecting (the making and remaking of collections), signalling,
  • currency → consumer value, reputation, credit (pay-it-forward),
  • decision making → dynamic steering (sense and respond) via holacracy (distributed authority: steering by and for the me + we + the work via one workable tension at a time)5
  • distribution unpredictable, viral, the tipping point6
  • division of labour majority of small contributions, unequal, spontaneous,
  • duration provisional & permanent, spime (a currently-theoretical object that can be tracked through space and time throughout the lifetime of the object)7
  • engagement low barriers to engagement, strong P2P support for creating/sharing creations, active stake in expressing, people feel their contributions matter, continuous partial attention8,
  • ethics transparent sharing and remixing of works via a proliferation of licences, problems associated with the tragedy of the commons,
  • expertise and associated credibility earned, not necessarily linked to formalized credentials, easily undone,
  • identities multiple, dynamic, fragmented9
  • ownership non proprietary models, Free Software
  • participation prosumers10, transmediatic11, ad-hocracies12, intermedia networks13
  • privacy public is the new private14,
  • productions remixes, multi-modal formats, sound/image often more dominant than text, little to no or explanation,
  • proximity geography no longer an organizing principle,
  • publishing publish then filter15,
  • quality relevance, verifiability, relevance as the new quality indicator “radical peer 2 peer review”
  • readers reader-user “Reader: one who interacts with a text by decoding it; contrasted with a user to connote a literary perspective. / User: one who operates and interacts with computational devices, including books and computers; contrasted with a reader to connote a computational perspective.”16
  • readership most writers have few readers (high -as in deep- interaction ), a few writers have many readers (lower -more cursory- interaction),
  • representation the Long Tail (no Bell curve, concepts like mean and median no longer apply, small samples no longer help reason the whole),
  • reward systems → often intrinsic, without managerial direction and increasingly outside of profit motive,
  • scale more is different17, long tail18,
  • scope few-to-few, many to many, few to multitudes, many to multitudes19,
  • scrutiny over time, public peer review, greater scrutiny after publication,
  • speed operating at more than one speed, often instantaneous,
  • sustainability common endeavours that bridge differences20, self governance, transparency based,
  • teaching →learning, informal mentorship, P2P exchange.

These “Web 2.0” shifts are altering not only what we exchange, but also how, when and why we exchange. This “open distributive turn” creates both affordances and hindrances for collectives and incites the necessity for collaborative intelligence.


1 Google Tech Talks July 11, 2007

2 Cathy N. Davidson and David Theo Goldberg (2010) “The Future of Thinking” (2010) p. 186

3 Hayles book “Writing machines” “Hayles explores works that focus on the very inscription technologies that produce them, examining three writing machines in depth: Talan Memmott’s groundbreaking electronic work Lexia to Perplexia, Mark Z. Danielewski’s cult postprint novel House of Leaves, and Tom Phillips’s artist’s book A Humument. Hayles concludes by speculating on how technotexts affect the development of contemporary subjectivity.

4 société de controle

7  “The future will see a new kind of object — we have the primitive forms of them now in our pockets and briefcases: user-alterable, baroquely multi-featured, and programmable — that will be sustainable, enhanceable, and uniquely identifiable. Sterling coins the term “spime” for them, these future manufactured objects with informational support so extensive and rich that they are regarded as material instantiations of an immaterial system. Spimes are designed on screens, fabricated by digital means, and precisely tracked through space and time. They are made of substances that can be folded back into the production stream of future spimes, challenging all of us to become involved in their production.” ( The name “spime” for this concept was coined by author Bruce Sterling.”




11 Various manifestations across media (retellings) Jenkins; Convergence_Culture

16 from N. Katherine Hayles ’ Lexicon Linkmap in Writing Machines,

17 Originally by P. W. Anderson Science, New Series, Vol. 177, No. 4047. (Aug. 4, 1972), pp. 393-396. Rediscussed by Shirky in his book “Here comes Everybody”.


19 Cathy N. Davidson, David Theo Goldberg (2009) The Future of Learning Institutions in a Digital Age.

20 Cheung, Chi-Kim (2010) Web 2.0: challenges and opportunities for media education and beyond
E-Learning and Digital Media Volume 7 Number 4Faculty of Education, University of Hong Kong

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