Smart Mobs

Last month I finally got around to reading Smart Mobs, which is, admittedly a little late. Published in 2002, the book mostly covers ground that we’ve already surpassed, which is what makes it a great read. To read a then-future possibility, and recognize it as being a modern fact of life, is really startling. After reading, and thinking about what I’ve read, the book is really about trust (and networks of trust). You can see the foundations of Howard’s current work in this book as well – certainly his pillars of 21st Century Literacies are bubbling underneath the surface of some of Howard’s discoveries about social networking in a mobile culture. It would be really interesting to revisit these ideas now, although I’m sure Howard is already ten years into the future, and other people have picked up his mantle.  Has trust changed because of the explosion of mobile media? Has community changed because of YouTube? What about the civility within communities?  I suspect that they have.

Riding the Wave of Crowds

There’s a lot of talk out there amongst y’all about distributed learning. Considering that we’re on the web and all, that’s a fairly insightful statement. Crowd sourcing was an interesting concept that I hadn’t heard about before, of course I’m not up to date on my marketing theories. I started thinking about how this is partially a business to individuals relationship and how it really emphasizes the power of crowds. Of course, marketing has always been about public opinion and (in my opinion) the power of many to influence.

Originally I read crowd sourcing as crowd surfing, which in my head, could describe the way individuals survey ideas on the web. Pick and choose from search results, go on facebook and ask your network of people questions, search on twitter for tweets about it, read wikipedia – you get the idea. Anyways, like a crowd surfer – you ride the crowd like a wave, eventually crashing to the floor when you have enough information to make a concrete connection to reality again – whether that’s to buy a product, engage in a service, or not do any of that at all.

I like that description of how online activities work sometimes. Plus it’s a nice tie-in to edupunk.