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I’m reading Clay Shirky’s Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing without Organizations and also was fed a video of Shirky talking about his book by someone in my network (the section about flash mobs is especially engaging: “nothing says dictatorship like arresting people eating ice cream,” for example).

And the commentary I’d like to add is that this is, to some extent, what we’re doing. Someone has an idea, puts the call out there to see if anyone’s interested, and people throw their hats into the ring, cooperatively arranging taxonomies (er, folksonomies, really) to tag and aggregate content, resulting in a pool of information and new ideas being created.

It’s what I’ve seen in action growing slowly over a year, accelerated by the TLT Symposium and Twitter, sparked further by TweetMeets and BS Breakfasts and Bookclub, and burst into full flame (as far as I can tell) in Learning Design Summer Camp here at Penn State. And I’m convinced that this is the way to do it.

But it’s happening this way (or similarly, at least) elsewhere: EduWeb happened recently, and people were Tweeting and videostreaming (alternate) and liveblogging sessions, and it was almost as good as being there, minus a significant amount of in-person networking and fun. But it can be done. I’ve been caught up in this plus Jeffrey Veen’s idea of an audience ombudsman for conferences and trying to figure out how this works in purely-online communities.

And it really goes back to the idea of an alpha user, I think. But the thing is that we’ve got a bunch of them here at Penn State.

More to develop on this idea. But it will have to hold: I’ve got a meeting for our campus tour podcast project coming up.


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