Networks and Emergence

Here are some of the things I learned via Twitter this past week.

Some thoughts:

As we learn in digital networks, stock (content) gets smaller, while flow (conversation) gets longer – the challenge becomes how to continously weave the many bits of information and knowledge that pass by us each day.

The challenge for educators and organizations is not how to integrate or adopt web technologies but rather how do we teach, learn and work in networks. Digital networks have changed all hierarchical relationships.

@DavePollard – The Lifecycle of Emergence [if OD, KM, ISD and other siloed disciplines are declining, is there something new emerging?]

Practitioners in a system of influence can even throw ‘lifelines’ or build bridges to invite (or pull) forward those stuck in earlier paradigm thinking, methods and tools — rescuing them from e-mail, for example, by showing them IM, virtual presence and other effective real-time collaboration tools, or showing them new and effective group processes and practices that get them past dissent, disengagement, dysfunctional power dynamics and feelings of helplessness and disempowerment.

Why we need to “kill social media” via @WWWayne

In our view, social media is about the evolution of human communication. Cultural anthropology, sociology, psychology, and linguistics matter in marketing again. Concepts like “social framing,” whereby individuals often perceive issues through the prism of their friends, are starting to help us rethink the way we communicate and the ways people gather, act, and synthesize information. Rethinking social organization through social media is beginning to have a transformative impact on governments and businesses.

Power increases hypocrisy & grace (undeserved merit) decreases it! via @CircleReader

Results: when power (or lack thereof) was legitimate, the powerful also exhibited moral hypocrisy (being less moral themselves but judging others more harshly), while the powerless weren’t – just as before. But when power (or lack thereof) was illegitimate, the powerful didn’t show hypocrisy. In fact, the moral hypocrisy effect not only disappeared but was reversed, with the illegitimate powerful becoming stricter in judging their own behavior and more lenient in judging the others.

Best humourous tweet of the week:

@shareski: I walked by hotel room 404 and was tempted to hang a post-it saying “Room not Found!”

6 Responses to “Networks and Emergence”

  1. Jon Husband

    The challenge for educators and organizations is not how to integrate or adopt web technologies but rather how do we teach, learn and work in networks. Digital networks have changed all hierarchical relationships.

    … and all the methods-in-use we have for designing work, curricula and the processes that accompany them all rely on fundamental assumptions about knowledge, trust and authority being hierarchical.

    Yes, networks of people operating on / in a digital infrastructure have and are changing hierarchical relationships. But faced with something new and different, people seem either transfixed by uncertainty or desirous of avoiding all change.

    Reply
    • Harold Jarche

      Hi Jon. It struck me this week that with everyone talking about the challenges of adopting new web technologies that we’re really missing the key issue. We have been adapting to new electric technologies since 1844. What’s different now is that we are surrounded by pervasive electric (digital) networks and these have changed everything. We need to change our frameworks, vocabulary and metaphors to networks & complexity. It’s definitely not about the technology, except in the broadest sense of the term.

      Reply
  2. Jon Husband

    We need to change our frameworks, vocabulary and metaphors to networks & complexity. It’s definitely not about the technology, except in the broadest sense of the term.

    In my opinion, this is absolutely right.

    Deciding to work together on a wiki is just clicking a link somewhere in an organization’s intranet, then finding the place you want to contribute, typing or pasting something, and saving. Using Google Docs is a breeze. Writing a blog post is not any different than writing someone an email (careful and thoughtful, or otherwise). The differences are smaller-than-minute .. open an app, type or copy n’ paste or drag n’ drop, then send / share / publish, etc.

    As you state so clearly .. we need to change our frameworks, vocabulary and metaphors to networks and complexity.

    See, as just one example, this excerpt (the prologue) from Alvin Toffler’s Powershift, which was written at least 20 years ago.

    That this has been coming for quite a while now has been evident. I believe making the changes on a large scale may not be quite as hard as everyone thinks, but only after embracing new frameworks and mental models and not trying to hang onto, or return to, the past.

    Reply
  3. Simon Fowler

    I was talking with George Siemens about Connectivism this week (in the context of Forum Corp’s Principles of Workplace Learning). We asked about organizations or business units or groups that exemplified a mentality, language, ‘structure’ or practice of connections or networks (that wasn’t the exact question, but you get the drift). There were none.

    You’re right about technology, it’s necessary, but it’s not the goal. But if the usage of twitter at recent L&D/HR conferences is any indication, there’s a long way to go before they embrace network, complexity and design mindsets. Something will force the change, however, sooner or later.

    Thanks Jon, and Harold, for your shared thinking and constantly useful insights on the interweb!
    Simon

    Reply
  4. Jon Husband

    if OD, KM, ISD and other siloed disciplines are declining, is there something new emerging?

    I keep coming back to this quote / question, and pondering …

    Can you (or anyone else) help me understand how OD is a siloed discipline ? I can understand that applying / using OD in a siloed area of an organization might focus just on the activities in the silo, but my understanding of OD has always led me to believe that it is aligned with, or at least appreciative of, whole systems.

    Reply

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