Stephen’s Web ~ by Stephen Downes ~

Stephen’s Web ~ by Stephen Downes ~: “If we’re deriving meaning and connections and communities in a random fashion everything flows from the big spike. Scoble was up here, saying, ‘My friend was saying, I want you to link to me.’ And, he said, ‘That’s not how it works. Create something of value,’ he said. Right? ‘And I will decide whether it’s worth linking to.’ That’s the big spike telling the long tail what to do. Isn’t it? That’s what happens when meaning derives from the centre. And if you push it, that sort of organization and arrangement requires control. Look at Technorati Tags. Now, we’ve already gotten some tag spam, and we’ve already gotten some structured vocabulary in Technorati Tags, and eventually somebody will come out and propose and ontology of Technorati Tags, a taxonomy, and they will say, ‘Everyone should do it this way.’ And anyone who doesn’t, well, they’re being chaotic, they’re being disruptive.
But if the idea emerges from the pattern of connections between individuals there’s no one in control. Scoble can’t tell me what to twrite in my blog and it doesn’t matter whether he links to me or I link to him. And the dynamics in such a network are completely different. This works if you have freedom. This works if nobody tells you how to tag. This creates order and relevance and meaning through diversity, not conformity. Two very different pictures of community.
So how do we pull this off? How do we kill the big spike? How do we transform tagging from something that people can use to spam to something that can actually get us to the point where we have meaningful communities?
Well we come back to online learning. Because again, that’s what I know about. And in online learning what’s happening is — and it’s very slow and there’s a lot”

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