Archive for the ‘Social networking’ Category

The power of social media

Monday, April 11th, 2011

I’ve been reflecting a bit about how social media have changed the way I do things, partly in response to this post !  by @pepsmccrea

I have now worked at four institutions. When I first moved from London to Bristol University it was a real wrench… I missed friends and had small kids. But the next move to Southampton was much easier and I realised it was because my network of friends and colleagues was virtual - not geographically defined. This feeling has expanded exponentially in recent years with my use of social media. I now feel truly globally connected and have many new friends/colleagues who I first met/got to know through Twitter/fb/blogging etc. Thanks in particular for Martin Weller for getting me into all this.  I think the implications of this are potentially profound. It has changed the way in which I do and communicate research. I love the mix of banter and professional exchange, the shared sense of passion for our field. I use social media in a range of ways: to keep up with new things, to pass on good ideas and references to others, to post new ideas and research work, to disseminate the work of others, to exchange ideas and to ask and respond to key questions of the moment. I genuinely feel part of a global community - quite something… What are other peoples experiences, positive and negative?

Cloudworks: design decisions

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

Juliette Culver and I have just had a paper accepted for Computers and Education on Cloudworks. A draft is available here. The paper describes the first three phases of design decisions, along with evaluation of each phase. We have just being using Cloudworks extensively as a means of live blogging the ALTC 2009 conference and plan to reflect on the experience and what worked and didn’t. Would really welcome any thoughts on the paper or on the current look&feel/functionality of the site. Below is a summary of the design decisions to date:

Design Decision 1.1 Cloud metaphor

We wanted to avoid the use of technical terms such as ?learning design? and hence choose to call the core objects of the site ?Clouds? and the overall site ?Cloudworks?. The notion of Clouds was intended to indirectly evoke metaphorical images of ?blue skies thinking?, ?thinking at an elevated level?, ?visioning and thinking creatively?. The name ?Cloudworks? also works as an acronym for ?Collaborative Learning Design at The Open University?, although it is important to stress that we do not see Cloudworks as a specific tool solely for the OU but as a generic tool for anyone to use.

Design Decision 1.2 Initial content population of the site

In order that visitors to the site did not find an empty site and had examples of the type of content expected on the site, we made the decision to initially populate the site with some content. This was done in two ways. Firstly, through trawling existing sites for good practice ? this included harvesting the 44 case studies of the use of VLE tools mentioned earlier, appropriation of learning designs generated by the AUTC Learning Design site ( and a selection of examples from other well known learning object repositories and case studies of good practice.  The criteria for inclusion was that the examples should present a good spread in terms of pedagogy, subject and tool use and should provide different types of representations from short textual narratives through to more complex visual designs, as well as being representative of the different potential types of Clouds that might be included in the site. Secondly, once we had a reasonable mix of seeded Clouds, we ran a series of five ?Cloudfests? with potential users, where participants were asked to generate Clouds for the site and where they also critiqued existing Clouds. We used the data from the interviews with teachers and the 44 case studies of the use of the VLE tools, to draw out barriers and enablers to finding, discussing and sharing learning and teaching ideas and used these to help steer the discussing in the Cloudfests. 

Design Decision 1.3 Include social features

Analysis of the design interviews with teachers and of the VLE case studies showed that teachers value the opportunity to share ideas with others; indeed for many a named contact to get further information about a particular learning and teaching intervention was perceived as more useful than finding similar information via a website. This was particularly true if the teacher knew the individual and valued their expertise, but was also because they felt there was then an opportunity to follow up with further queries if required.

The importance of socialisation in social networking is well recognised and is one of the underpinning philosophies we have adopted for the site. As a result, from the early stages of development of the site, each Cloud was intentionally social, in that others could comment on and add to it. In the initial stages of development, these social aspects consisted simply of the ability for users to add comments to Clouds and these comments then appeared in a linear temporal fashion under the Cloud. However, our ultimate aim was to build a much richer set of social functionality, drawing on observation of other successful Web 2.0 social practices, alongside evaluation of users? perceptions and use of Cloudworks.

We wanted the focus of the site to be around Clouds and associated discussions, rather than replicating more complex social networking sites such as Ning or Elgg, where the user can incorporate multiple Web 2.0 tools for aggregating content and for communication. We wanted therefore to keep the focus on objects (Clouds) about learning and teaching. This metaphor of a Cloud as a social object was a core principle of the site.

Design Decision 1.4 Tagging within categories

Instead of allowing completely free tagging we restricted the use of tags, allowing free tagging within three categories: pedagogy, tool and discipline.  The aim here was to make it simpler for people to search for particular types of content without having the constraints of pre-defined vocabularies. We felt these three categories reflected the intended scope of the site and acted as a reminder to users of the kinds of things they might either be interested in looking for or contributing. Again these categories were abstracted from the teacher interviews and case studies, as these were what teachers typically used to filter information. 

Design Decision 1.5 Low barrier to entry

One of the themes at the initial vision workshop was the tension between a low barrier to entry to encourage users to generate content verses the desire for high-quality content (the issue of reputation systems and evidence for quality came up frequently). It was also clear from the workshop that detailed information about a topic was often less important than having contact details for a person to talk to about it  (which triangulates with similar comments from the teacher interviews as discussed earlier). Each Cloud thus consisted of a short informative title, a two-line description, a more detailed account and any relevant links.

Design Decision 1.6 No private content

Another tension from the initial workshop was between the website being open and issues such as rights clearance and student access. Here following the Web 2.0 principle of harnessing collective intelligence resulted in the decision that, in order to gain critical mass for the site, all the content should be open and no private content would be allowed. We felt that in order to capitalise on Web 2.0 practices the site needed to be open and also that existing tools behind institutional firewalls (such as password protected forums, blogs and wikis) already provided adequate mechanisms for sharing and discussions within distinct groups. Openness allows for serendipity, for a Cloud created and discussed within one community to be discovered and re-appropriated in another context. However we also needed a means of validating users and hence anyone can view content on the site, but to add content or comment on existing Clouds the user needs to register on the site. 

Design Decision 1.7 User Profiles

As discussed earlier, sharing and discussing experiences is a core facet of teacher practice and hence we recognised that the information on the site about individuals needed to be informative, to enable others to gain quickly an overview of that individual?s expertise and interests. Hence the user profiles, in addition to having user-generated information (such as name, institution and interests), also included an automatically generated stream of the clouds that user has created. This helps to differentiate users within the site; so for example it might be inferred that users with a lot of Clouds have some degree of authority ? although in the initial stages no peer reviewing or voting of Clouds or individuals was included, this is certainly one of the more advance features we are interested in exploring. The aim is to not only provide a listing of users within the site, but an indication of their interests and expertise.

Design Decision 1.8 Cloud types

The core aim of the site was the intention for it to be a place to share and discuss learning and teaching designs and ideas. At an early stage of the conceptualisation of the site it was decided that these designs/ideas would be described as ?Clouds?. In the first version of the site there were five types of Clouds.

Design Decision 2.1 Amalgamate cloud types

The initial five categories of Clouds were amalgamated, so that now the sole object in Cloudworks is a ?Cloud?. This decision was made because it became clear that it was difficult to categorise clouds into the types suggested. For example, it is not clear if a site containing a number of designs should be included as a ?Resource? Cloud or a ?Design? Cloud. Likewise, the distinction between a tool and a resource was not always clear-cut.  Nonetheless, the types of Clouds which could be included remained the same, i.e. a short description of a learning and teaching idea, a more detailed learning designs or case studies of practice, a question or issue a user was seeking advice on, or information about particular resources or tools and how they can be used to support learning and teaching.

Design Decision 2.2. Increase social features

It was clear that the site was not being used socially. We were generating the majority of the activity on the site, either in terms of the creation of new Clouds, or through use of the site in workshops. As well as retaining the social element of being able to have a comment around a Cloud, in the revised site, new content and discussion was made more prominent on the home page, with a list of new clouds in the centre and new comments on clouds on the left hand side. The intention was to help make the site appear more dynamic and to highlight site activity to encourage further activity. 

Design Decision 2.3 Cloudscapes

A new feature ?Cloudscapes? was introduced to address the issue of focusing on community engagement. Clouds can be aggregated into ?Cloudscapes? associated with a particular event, purpose or interest. Example Cloudscapes include: conferences, workshops, projects, research interests, types of pedagogy, course design team spaces, tool development spaces, or course-specific Cloudscapes. 

Design Decision 2.4 Following functionality

As discussed earlier, the ability to comment on Clouds was seen as the first step to mimicking some of the practices around the use of other Web 2.0 tools. Another practice, evident in many social networking sites, is the idea of indicating who you are connected to ? the concept of connecting to friends and following their activities is prevalent in many sites such as Facebook, Ning, Elgg, Linked-In and Twitter. We were particularly interested in the way in which the microblogging site Twitter ( has been appropriated over the last year or so as a lightweight mechanism for engaging ideas and sharing and were struck by the way in which this matched our criterion for low barrier to entry of use of the site as discussed earlier.  In Twitter posted messaged (tweets) are constrained to 140 characters and tend to be a mix of light hearted and professional comments. Users ?follow? others and can be ?followed?, anyone following you will see your tweets and vice versa. In the e-learning community we have seen an uptake of Twitter as a mechanism for providing a community back chat of discussions around e-learning issues and research. We wanted to explore how such practices might be replicated in Cloudworks, as a result a ?follow? feature was added to the site. Users can follow both people and Cloudscapes. A list of who and what they are following then appears dynamically on their user profile, helping to enrich the picture of an individual?s interests and expertise discussed earlier.

Design Decision 2.5 My Cloudstream

Another feature evident in many web 2.0 sites is some type of activity stream. This shows activity of relevance to an individual such as: who has recently connected to whom in your community network, new posts added, comments made by others etc. To mimic this we introduced the notion of a ?Cloudstream?. An individual?s  ?Cloudstream? includes a temporal listing of any new Clouds a user creates, as well as Clouds from any individual or Cloudscapes they are following.

Design Decision 3.1 Add RSS feeds

In line with increasing the Web 2.0 functionality associated with the site, RSS feeds are now available for Clouds, Cloudscapes and people. This enables users to flag only those aspects of the site they are interested in and means rather than having to go to the site, the information can be send to them as an RSS feed and incorporated into their chosen personal digital environment. 

Design Decision 3.2 Integrate streams from Web 2.0 sites

A common Web 2.0 practice, particularly evident in the blogosphere, is the ability to integrate dynamic content from other Web 2.0 sites, often using a ?cut and paste? embed code. Dynamic Twitter, Flickr and Slideshare streams are now possible for both individuals and Cloudscapes. In each case an agreed ?tag? is used as a means of identifying appropriate content for inclusion. For example, if a conference has an agreed Twitter tag #conf09, use of this on the conference Cloudscape will dynamically incorporate all the tweets including that hash-tag. 

Design Decision 3.3 Merge the tag categories

Evaluation of the earlier versions of the site and how tags were being used on it, indicated that users were confused by having three different categories of tag-clouds and in fact were not finding these distinctions helpful, particularly when creating Clouds associated with workshops or conferences, where tags associated specifically with the content of the Cloud and the name of the event were emerging as more natural tags. As a result the tag-clouds have been merged so there is no longer a distinction between pedagogy, subject and tools. 

Design Decision 3.4 Make the home page more visual

Jelfs highlighted in her usability report that the homepage was too busy and not very engaging. Analysis of other feedback indicated that users were not always clear about the scope of the site and what it contained. As discussed above, the newly added Cloudscape facility provided a useful means of engaging specific communities, particularly at workshops and conferences. We wanted to highlight this and hence featured Cloudscapes were added to the front page of the site. We felt this offered the dual purpose of highlighting current, active communities and as a means of illustrating the range of different types of Cloudscapes that could be created.

Cloudworks Future Development 

A second user design was commissioned in April 2009 and a new design based on this was launched in July 2009. As part of this the site was completely rebuilt in CodeIgniter ( The new design provides a much cleaner look and feel and a simpler, more intuitive navigational structure. Initial feedback on the new design has been very positive.

Further enhancing the social aspects of the site is the key driver for the next stage. The success of the use of the site for conferences and workshops is encouraging; nonetheless the site is still not being used in the spontaneous way we envisaged in the original vision statement. We therefore intend to work with a few specific communities in-depth, to articulate their needs and evaluate their use of the site over a number of months. Potential communities to work with that we have identified so far include a cross-institutional community interested in e-learning, a group developing and deploying OER, a pedagogy and research group interested in enquiry-based learning and a support network for careers work and innovation.    

By adopting a reflective approach and not tying down the site in terms of tight specifications a number of surprising patterns of use have emerged. For example, we could not have anticipated at the start of the project the success the site would have in terms of acting as a shared live blogging space.

This post has described a set of design principles which have shaped our development of the site. We have argued that these principles have been derived from our original vision for the site and the associated theoretical perspectives it draws on and that we have used findings from our evaluation work to progressively improved the functionality of the site. We will continue to incorporate further Web 2.0 functionality, trying to pick up the best of social networking practices and appropriate them within the site.

Conferences offered time-bounded events where people are bought together around a shared interest. Cloudworks provides a simple to use back channel to capture and archive the conference discussions. Similarly it works well as a mechanism for capturing discussions during workshops. It is also proving useful as a mechanism for aggregating and discussing resources for a particular community of interest. For example a Cloudscape has been set up to support a group of learners on a language course. We are beginning to explore how the site can be used to support other types of community, as well as looking at ways in which such community engagement can be initiated and sustained.

However the broader vision of a site, where it acts as a conduit for sharing learning and teaching ideas and designs, where teachers upload ideas as a matter of course, and as a back channel drip feeding new innovations, has not yet being achieved and is a much more ambitious and difficult thing to realise. Barriers to this are social and cultural as well as technical. Technically we intend to continue to incorporate and test out Web 2.0 type functionality. We will continue to run activities and events using the site and intend to set up further evaluation studies to tease out the social and culture barriers. We also intend to work with specific ?champion? communities to explore how the site might be used to meet they needs. 


SocialLearn: exploring the potential

Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

Last week I attended a great workshop as part of the SocialLearn project. The purpose was to share some of the thinking and work to date on SocialLearn with a group of ‘critical friends’ - mainly associate lecturers and OU students. Lots of others have already blogged about it (herehere, and here) so I won’t repeat what they have already said, but the photos from the event are now up on flckr

A set of pedagogical principles

Saturday, March 8th, 2008

I’m involved, to a small extent, in a really exciting project at the OU at the moment - currently called “Social:Learn”. Martin Weller gives a nice overview of it, Tony Hirst has also blogged about it.  Martin sums it up in his post as follows: 

It is born of the recognition that the OU (and higher education in general) needs to find ways of embracing the whole web 2.0, social networking world, and that the only way to understand this stuff is to do it                     

Martin wants me to wear the “pedagogy hat” (whatever that is!) in the project. So in January we held a two-day workshop with people involved in the project, as well as some of our external consultants (Stowe BoydStewart Sim, and Hardin Tibbs) and some of the key e-learner researchers at the OU. The aim was to tackle the P-question: “What pedagogy underpins Social:Learn?”. We had an incredibly stimulating two days and the outcomes were a set of “principles” which we believe encapsulates what Social:Learn is about. When Martin and I were refining these after the workshop, it occurred to me that it would be useful to map them against key aspects of pedagogy and then I remembered some earlier work which might be useful to link this to. Martin Dyke and I came up with a simple e-learning framework (Dyke et al., 2007) which encapsulates, we felt the key essence of good pedagogy. 

There have been attempts to provide a more holistic approach to identify key elements of learning, such as a model proposed by Dyke (2001) which includes elements of ‘learning with others’, ‘reflection’, ‘knowledge’ and ‘practice’. Conole et al. provide a map of learning theories against three axes: individual – social; reflection – non-reflection; information – experience (Conole et al., 2004). We argue here that e-learning developments could be improved if they were orientated around three core elements of learning: through thinking and reflection; from experience and activity; and through conversation and interaction.            

tetrahedronThese seemed pretty good with respect to Social:Learn too, but “Evidence and demonstration” is also important - so the diagram shows a revised version. Below is a table setting out the principles we derived in the workshop against these aspects of pedagogy. We plan to use this as a checklist against the apps we develop in Social:Learn. It will be really interesting to see how many of them we can embed in the system. Hopefully they will provide a useful checklist to guide our activities.    


           Dyke, M., Conole, G., Ravenscroft, A. and de Freitas, S. (2007), ‘Learning theories and their application to e-learning’, in G. Conole and M. Oliver (ed), Contemporary perspectives in e-learning research: themes, methods and impact on practice’, part of the Open and Distance Learning Series, F. Lockwood, (ed), RoutledgeFalmer.




Harnessing web 2.0 for learners

Friday, February 22nd, 2008

Great summary of ideas from George Siemens on using social networking to improve the learner experience. The first is 

 Create a class blog…have students blog   

We have got students blogging as part of our new H809 course and it’s great to see their posts and comments on each others’ blogs. I have set up a folder of RSS feed alerts with the blogs and we have a summary of the blogs in the course wiki, but it would be interesting to hear from the students how they are finding using the blogs on the course and how they are managing to keep alert (or not!) to postings.  

Learning in the near future

Friday, February 22nd, 2008

What will learning look like in a few years time? How will new technologies transform learning? These are questions which have probably always been around to some extent in education, but have become more prevalent in recent years since the Internet began to have a significant impact and with the recent changes due to the increasing role of web 2.0 technologies. I really liked John Seely Brown’s recent keynote at the Openlearn conference and note an interesting recent Educause article by John and Richard Adler on Learning 2.0. In the article they talk about the shift from a cartesian view of learning to one based more on social learning, as well as shifting from ‘learning about’ to ‘learning to be’. I particularly like some of the concluding remarks:

We need to construct shared, distributed, reflective practicums in which experiences are collected, vetted, clustered, commented on, and tried out in new contexts. One might call this “learning about learning,” a bootstrapping operation in which educators, along with students, are learning among and between themselves. This can become a living or dynamic infrastructure—itself a reflective practicum.   

And also the follow diagram which resonates with many of the philosophies inherent in the work we are doing at the OU on OpenLearn, a new project SocialLearn and so dear to my own heart the stuff we are doing on Learning Design.




That VLE vs. loosely couple thing…

Thursday, November 29th, 2007

Now I don’t want to stir, but I can’t resist it ;-) I was just quietly reading the final proofs for a paper accepted for the ReCALL journal associated with a keynote I did at Eurocall this year when the following paragraph caught my attention…

Only one person on the survey mentioned a VLE as one of the four technologies they like to use most, and ten listed a VLE as a dislike. Critical factors appear to be whether the VLE is well designed and structured, how relevant the information on the VLE is to the students’ needs and the degree to which it is really embedded into the culture of the course.  The findings hint that students are beginning to move beyond VLEs as a central resource and that they use the VLE only when it meets specific, individual needs. Many students did say that they used their VLE to check for course-related information and in some cases the VLE was used as a course calendar or for communicating course administration. A fundamental issue is how students integrate use of the institutional VLE with their own personally acquired technologies. The ECAR survey found “student respondents to be immersed with technology ownership  and use, and impatient with instructors who don’t have adequate technical skills” (ECAR, 2007: 5).                                        

Now there are a number of caveats straight off.

  1. For VLEs (Virtual Learning Environments) read LMS, CMS etc. etc…. the point is semi-structured software environments to support learning.
  2. This research was essentially prior to the major take off of web 2.0
  3. Use is not simple and is very contextual; how well VLE tools are used depends very much on how well they are designed and integrated into the course, and most importantly how relevant they are perceived to be by students
  4. There were lots of positives in the data about VLEs - students on work placement in hospitals valuing the calendar facility as a means of keeping in touch for example.
  5. A lot of teachers value the safe, constructed space of a VLE as a means of getting to grips with all these new technologies, Angela MacFarlane once referred to VLEs with a skiing metaphor - a ‘nursery slope’ for teachers to engage with and experiment in. 

Nonetheless I do think the recent debate needs to continue.We have some fundamental issues facing us. The reality is freely available (and often very good) tools for learning are available and students will make use of them, BUT the arguments about the value of VLEs as a consistent institutional interface - about the ability to monitor and track via systems that are under institutional control - also need to be taken into account. As usual I sit on the fence of the fascinating recent debate between BrianMartinNiall and Tony (note alphabetical order! I ain’t taking no sides on this one!!!).  Now some of you reading this blog will have sussed me out… as a closet chemist.. with an obsession for representing things as “octahedrons’, “tetrahedrons”, etc. So here’s my take on the vle vs. loosely couple thing, surprise, surprise as an octahedron!!! :-)

Who’s using what and why?

Tuesday, November 6th, 2007

This post by Alan Cann really resonated with some of my own thoughts about current trends of use and uptake of technologies. I think the general consensus is that most people have moved beyond the simple notion of ‘the younger they are the more technology literate they are’ to an understanding that use and uptake depends on a range of complex and inter-connected factors. BUT unpacking and understanding them is the challenge!! ;-)

Seeing things differently

Sunday, October 14th, 2007

Yesterday I posed a question about new ways in which we might conceptualise and understand things, here’s a great example via John Naughton’s blog

The web 2.0 meme machine

Saturday, October 13th, 2007

Reflecting on a lot of what I have been reading and listening to recently – through blogs, patient publications and conferences, viagra I was reminded of a book I read a few years ago which I am sure many others have read too – namely the Meme Machine by Susan Blackmore. The folllowing quote is taken from her website:

Memes are habits, skills, songs, stories, or any other kind of information that is copied from person to person. Memes, like genes, are replicators. That is, they are information that is copied with variation and selection. Because only some of the variants survive, memes (and hence human cultures) evolve. Memes are copied by imitation, teaching and other methods, and they compete for space in our memories and for the chance to be copied again. Large groups of memes that are copied and passed on together are called co-adapted meme complexes, or memeplexes.

A search on ‘meme web 2.0’ shows that the concept has been taken up and applied with vigour, see for example the well cited Web 2.0 meme mindmap . Other words and brands are memes in themselves – ‘facebook’, ‘myspace’, ‘flicker’, ‘YouTube’ in the ways in which they are being discussed - not just products but ways of working, as philosophies almost. Just go and have a perusal around the Social Networking site for example. An example of a ‘change in action’ is evident I think in the term social graph as opposed to social networking, see for example Stowe Boyd’s postings on this, such as his debate with Dave McClure.

There are two points I want to make– the first is that the way in which web 2.0 and related vocabulary have infiltrated our lives since O’Reilly’s original posting in 2005 is staggering – talk about an infectious disease! This does to my mind nicely illustrate many of the arguments Susan Blackmore makes in her book. But the second point I want to make is that behind the simple rhetoric of headline meme titles – ‘web 2.0’, ‘e-learning 2.0’, ‘social networking’, ‘social graphs’, etc. there is huge complexity. Complexity in a technical sense in that things are changing so rapidly it’s getting increasingly difficult to keep up, but complexity also conceptually – how do we best describe these phenomena? How do we distinguish between the tools, their functionality, their relationship with users and the environment? What metaphors best describe this? Space metaphors have long been used, but as the interaction of tools, people and the environment become ever more complex and interconnected boundaries between time, space, tools, and individuals start to blur; space alone as the primary metaphor is not enough.

Let’s try and unpack this a little… Where am I now in terms of my presence? Physically at home on a coldish October morning in the UK, cat by my side? Wherever you are when reading this blog? In my Twitter or facebook persona? Or floundering around as some half realized avatar in second life? How do the different threads of my presence online interconnect? What about taking a tool perspective? Is Second Life a tool that enables you to interact in a 3D-environment, or is it a philosophy for a new way of thinking, working, connecting, breaking away from conventional identities? See for example some of the rhetoric associated with the Schome project.

Of course technology innovations tend to come in waves - meme waves perhaps ;-). A key one in the UK in the late nineties was the emergence of VLEs and MLEs. The classic diagram you saw everywhere at the time now looks somewhat quant. MLE diagram(As an aside I was guilty too of using it in my presentations and then panicked one day because I realized I didn’t actually know who to attribute it too, it kind of had an official JISC badge to it but no one there seemed to know the origin, anyway after a lot of scouting about I traced it back to Bob Powell – thanks Bob!). VLEs were quickly moving from being interesting toys for a few innovators to play with to being standard agenda items on official university committees, new roles began to emerge in terms of supporting the implementation of VLEs and associated use. However, it soon became apparent that although these terms quickly entered general discourse, there was considerable confusion in terms of what they actually meant. JISC commissioned Sarah Holyfield to produce a report that tried to make some sense of this. She looked at the various notations, diagrams and descriptions people were using at the time to pin down these concepts, and although the terms themselves appear old fashioned now (no one ever talks about MLEs anymore!) some of the ways of representing ideas are worth skimming through and considering in terms of how they might be used in today’s context.

From a different discipline perspective, Morgan (1986) describes a series of metaphorical models and ways of thinking about organisations (organisation as machine, brain, organism/ecosystem, culture/mini-society, political system). (As an aside I think from memory I came across this reference through a conversation with Olig Liber – how does that get represented in my social graph?). And without too much thought it is easy to see how some of these ideas could be applied to our current context and how they might provide a means of helping us to explain the complex nature of the interaction between technologies, users and the environment.

So the questions I leave you to ponder are:

  • “How much do we understand the nature of the interaction between technologies, users and the environment - beyond the rhetoric of the web 2.0 meme?
  • And

  • “How can we represent this understanding conceptually?”
  • References

    Morgan, G. (1986) Images of organisations, 2nd Edition, London: Sage Publications