Now that we’re inundated with information, e-mail and invitations to the next great Web 2.0 thing, pull is looking a lot better than push. Pull means that the individual decides what to read or who to talk to. I wrote about this earlier, in Please don’t push my learning.

One reason that I have been such a fan of Elgg is that this open source, social learning platform has at its core the concept that the individual has to decide to opt in, whether it be to connect with an instructor, a learner, a community or a group. According to Time, the growth of Facebook is due to its basic premise of opting in:

Maybe that’s why Facebook’s fastest-growing demographic consists of people 35 or older: they’re refugees from the uncouth wider Web. Every community must negotiate the imperatives of individual freedom and collective social order, and Facebook constitutes a critical rebalancing of the Internet’s founding vision of unfettered electronic liberty. Of course, it is possible to misbehave on Facebook–it’s just self-defeating. Unlike the Internet, Facebook is structured around an opt-in philosophy; people have to consent to have contact with or even see others on the network. If you’re annoying folks, you’ll essentially cease to exist, as those you annoy drop you off the grid.

The huge success of Facebook may be an indicator that it’s time to reconsider push business models, push marketing and even push learning.

5 Responses to “Opting-in”

  1. Stephen Downes

    I’d be more inclined to think of it as opt-in if I weren’t constantly deleting application invites from my email. If I’ve rejected ‘Superwall’ once, shouldn’t that be enough?

  2. Harold

    That sounds like a new FB app, Stephen – opt-out once and it remembers your preference. You read it here first 😉

  3. graham Watt

    Have you seen FacePlant? It’s a web page for those of us of a certain age.
    Especially the ones still skiing.


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