Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Elluminate tutorial

Had an electronic discussion using Elluminate today with several OU people. We're discussing Zittrain's book: The future of the Internet and how to stop it, meeting once a week for three weeks to discuss the next of each of the three sections of the book. There's lots of reviews of his book, like this one at BoingBoing.

Zittrain discusses the generativity of various layers of the Internet including physical, content, social. Generativity is the:
"capacity for unrelated and unaccredited audiences to build and distribute code and content through the Internet to its tens of millions of attached personal computers"
The section we've just been discussing concerns how government intervention prevents generativity - topical given today's news that China has been trying to prevent new computers entering the country without internet filtering software.

Although Zittrain writes about the Internet as though it were some anonymous, autonomous robotic system, it strikes me that a lot of the issues concern people. People provide the problems and the solutions, whether individuals, communities or government.

It would be nice to be able to discuss papers more relevant to my research with other people, and difficult but important books like Berger & Luckman's "The Social Construction of Reality: a treatise in the sociology of knowledge".

It's difficult to generate ideas or argue with yourself and gets a tad lonely talking to yourself. Elluminate is one way of meeting and discussing synchronously though at a distance, but it requires a server. A wiki is an less synchronous alternative.

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