Over the past few months I’ve been listening to many colleagues, peers, and researchers debate the value of social technologies in work, learning and play … and in this discuss what they “mean” by social media or social technologies and what is or isn’t a social technology. This exercise has a danger of getting caught up with trying to put things into boxes and missing the richness of what is happening in real-time around us – with, through and about the social web. The dynamic interactions, the practices and discourse in our culture that is so important to reflect on.
However, I do agree with many that it is important to have some insight and shared meaning as to what we mean by X or Y. But imagine if we sat down and debated what is knowledge? or What it is not? or What is communication? and What is not communication? I am sure there were once debates as to “What is the printing press and what is not the printing press!” or perhaps not given the differential in both functional and network complexity we are faced with in technological contexts emerging today (I’m hoping my good friend and mentor Dave Harrison has some thoughts on this historical context). As an academic I am always interested in these debates, but I also see that they can also constrain our collaborative practices. Continue reading