open protocols connect small pieces loosely joined

Sturgeon’s revelation states that 90% of everything is crap, which I aligned with the current state of personal knowledge management (not mastery) where we see many offers for proprietary tools to help us with our sensemaking, whether it be better note-taking or creating an online brain. But in every field there is only so much good stuff and a lot of crap. Sturgeon, a science fiction writer who was asked why so much SF was crap, said it was the same in every field of human production.

I concluded that PKM is bullshit only when it is technology-centric, and not a set of processes, individually constructed, to help each of us make sense of our world and work more effectively. The bullshit is believing in a technology silver bullet. We constantly see that BS sells.

My understanding of PKM began in 2004 with Lilia Efimova’s blogging of her journey through her doctoral dissertation on personal knowledge management entitled  — Personal productivity in a knowledge intensive environment: A weblog case. So I came to PKM through my blog, Lilia’s blog, and the blogs of the researchers she was observing.

I often say that my PKM approach is technology-neutral. I do not promote one tool about another. I share my top tools but do not ask others to use them. But it seems I do have a chosen technology — the blog.

This technology differs significantly from any of the promoted tools in the current PKM field. Blogs are based on an open source framework, though some specific tools may be proprietary. I use open source WordPress but I can connect with someone on Blogger or Squarespace because the web itself is an open protocol. We also have RSS to keep track of blogs we follow. So, I am not really technology-neutral. I came to PKM through blogging and this protocol of connecting small pieces, loosely joined, is my chosen technology. It’s also the best for learning with and from others.

As I concluded in 2006 in PKM & Informal Learning — small pieces, loosely joined in an informal and unstructured way, is a better model for online learning. It leverages the inherent nature of the medium. Virtual classrooms and online courses constrain communication and learner control. We need to build better models and methods to create personally meaningful online learning. Using the lens of informal learning is a start.

Next: from platforms to covenants

2 Responses to “open protocols connect small pieces loosely joined”

  1. Ton Zijlstra

    Thank you for this posting, it and specifically the mention of Lilia’s PhD work led me to chronicle my own path to PKM. Will blog.

    “But it seems I do have a chosen technology — the blog.” I’d say blogging is one of your deep rooted practices, with WordPress a (long term) tool of choice. Over the years I’ve noticed thay my system and practices have been quite stable, although the tools have changed. In turn some of those tools have influenced the evolution of my practices and sometimes the key elements of my system.

    • Harold Jarche

      I’m the same, Ton. My practices have not changed a lot over the years, though I try to experiment with one new tool each year. I usually don’t adopt them, but it helps to be able to recommend to others.


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