Overwhelmed that a photo of the Iqaluit cemetery taken from Happy Valley looking out over Koosejee Inlet in October 2002, can travel so far because of the initiative of Sep and Jonathan, two cyber citizens who have created Art 2.0: a collaborative art form linking (and hyperlinking) art, technology, consciousness . . .

Their methodology was impeccable, including dozens of collaborators through a series of courteous and informative emails that described the step-by-step process.

The final result is mind-boggling.

They provided the customized url for the image of pages on which the work of each contributor is shown:

They also provided a link to the Amazon site where the book itself is on sale at a very low price considering the high quality of the book design and its unique format which is a harbinger of a Art 2.0.

I am grateful they trawled Flickr and found a fragment of my own narrative . . .

Hi Maureen!

After nearly 3 years of hard work we are so very happy to announce that We Feel Fine: An Almanac of Human Emotion is in stores starting today. You should all be receiving your books within the next few weeks, but we hope that you will take a sneak peek next time you’re at your local bookstore. Copies should be on the shelves of bookstores nationwide in the United States.
If you live within the Unites States, your complimentary copy of the book will be shipped out today or tomorrow. If you live outside of the US we will be shipping your book next week and it may take some extra time to get to you. Thank you all for being so patient and it shouldn’t be too much longer until you have it in your hands.

We also hope that you will spread the word and perhaps include the exciting news in your facebook status or on your blog. We will be posting the simple: “We Feel Fine book in stores today! http://bit.ly/wffbook)” in our facebook/twitter as well.

As we have said before we honestly couldn’t have done this without all of you and so on today of all days would like to send you all our sincerest gratitude. For me, personally, I have had an incredible time working on this book and a huge part of that has been reading your blogs. Thanks for everything. Best, Sep

http://wp.me/p1TTs-ju

Wikinomics: Four Principles

October 5, 2008


The four principles of wikinomics are openness, peering, sharing and acting globally (Tapscot and Williams 2008:270).

I disagree with blogger James Madigan in his review of Wikinomics in which he accused the authors of hyperbole and oversell. Madigan, www.jmadigan.net, was underwhelmed by Tapscot and Williams’ ‘evangelical’ enthusiasm of potential benefits of the specific collaborative techniques that wikinomics offer. Madigan acknowledged that outsourcing, open source software and Creative Commons licensing helped the company he once worked for, GameSpy. But he argued that Tapscot and Williams underplay the dark side of wikinomics.

Tapscot and Williams do not advocate that Web 2.0 Enterprises adopt the missionary position. They need to maintain solid internal goals before investing resources. However these principles are complementary to proprietary approaches with companies maintaining their core intellectual properties (Tapscot and Williams 2008:312-3).

They cite the Swiss drug maker Novartis as Tapscot and Williams consider the Novartis initiative as encapsulating wikinomics principles of openness, peering, sharing and acting globally (2008:288).” Novartis provided free Internet access without restrictions to all its raw data on its multi-million dollar research to unlock the genetic basis for type 2 diabetes.

In his book entitled The Cult of the Amateur: How Today’s Internet is Killing our Culture, (2007) Andrew Keen cautions against the inaccuracy of information shared on the Internet which he considers to be lacking in the more reliable and legitimate vetting processes where expert gatekeepers protect quality. Keen argued that the unintended consequence of Web 2.0 and the democratization of media results in democratization of talent and the flattening of culture by the masses who assert uninformed opinions, lack aesthetic judgment and are incapable of evaluating quality content. According to his arguments a democratized media would never have produced Mozarts, Hemingways, Universals or the Warner Brothers (Tapscot and Williams 2008:272).

Keen’s arguments resonate with those of Robert Hutchins (1936) and Allan Bloom (1987) who argued that mass movements threaten educational standards and eventually modern democracy. Tapscot and Williams liken Keen’s defense of the “old model” with its gatekeepers to saying that “democracy is bad for the average citizen because the average individual is a poor judge of his or her own interests (2008:272).

The most wide-spread pedagogical model in Canadian public education systems in 2008 is based on active, participatory teaching, learning and research methods and theories in many ways similar to those proposed by John Dewey in the 1930s. Dewey promoted an educational model of active, participatory learning to prepare citizens who would be “informed participants in a well-functioning democracy, resisting threats to democratic freedoms posed by political and corporate monopolies, aware of the importance of intellectual independence and individual rights, but also understanding that rights engender responsibilities to the community at large (Gonshak 1997).”

In a Calgary school, for example, Grade Five students “research” the Arctic regions online with much of the material based on wikipedia entries. They compile the information using PowerPoint and paper posters presented to the rest of the class. Grade Seven students “research” specific historical topics such as the fur trade in a debate format again using online sources to produce their arguments. The goal is not to memorize truth claims about historical events. It is a more sophisticated form of memory work. Students learn how to think critically and to investigate truth claims using a variety of sources. In the end it is meant to lead to the individual investigation of truth. By junior high, if not before, these students are already aware that wikipedia is written in a collaborative, organic fashion and that not all entries can be fully trusted. By highschool they will hopefully have a fairly balanced picture of the risks and benefits of Lawrence Lessig’s Creative Commons and William Gibson’s cyberworld.

This is a 180 degree turn about from the ontological certitude of the 1950s and it is probably the knowledge industry nightmare that Hutchins and Bloom feared.

This generation of students will continue to refine and reshape wikinomics. While winning companies like Wikipedia successfully benefitted from mass collaboration, they also provided open access to information.

“Winning companies today have open and porous boundaries and compete by reaching outside their walls to harness external knowledge, resources and capabilities. They’re like a hub for innovation and a magnet for uniquely qualified minds. They focus their internal staff on value integration and orchestration, and treat the world as their R & D department. All of this adds up to a new kind of collaborative enterprise- an Enterprise 2.0 that is completely shaping and reshaping clusters of knowledge and capabilities to compete on a global basis [. . .] Leaders must prepare their collaborative environments. Capabilities to develop new kinds of relationships, sense important developments, add value, and turn nascent networked knowledge into compelling value are becoming the bread and butter of wealth creation and success (Tapscot and Williams 2008:315).”

Selected Timeline of Critical Events in Wikinomics

1936 Robert Hutchins wrote The Higher Education in America in which he argued that the the goals of education was to provide an elite group of intellectually superior students destined for positions as future decision-makers, with truths of Western culture. Mortimer Adler and Hutchins created the Great Books program at the University of Chicago, a program which later included conservative academics like Leo Strauss and Allan Bloom. In John Dewey’s scathing review of The Higher Education in America he argued that Hutchins’ traditional pedagogy was a process of passive transmission in which teachers were reduced to being a mere conduit and students, inert receptors. Dewey promoted an educational model of active, participatory learning to prepare citizens who would be “informed participants in a well-functioning democracy, resisting threats to democratic freedoms posed by political and corporate monopolies, aware of the importance of intellectual independence and individual rights, but also understanding that rights engender responsibilities to the community at large (Gonshak 1997).”

1987 Allan Bloom (1930-1992) published his bestseller The Closing of the American Mind in which criticized American higher education. Bloom argued that American political and intellectual life in the 1980s cure was in desperate need of a cure of the malady of the times by reintegrating the Great Books of Western Thought as a source of wisdom in prestige universities to restore seriousness to education and to open students to a philosophic experience. Bloom was shaken by his first hand experiences as professor at Cornell University during the 1960s mass movements and student uprisings that shook the foundations of academia. He equated the violence and political uprising on academic campuses in the 1960s with a general social malaise. (Bloom’s mentor was Leo Strauss who was critical of the way that universities gave way under the pressure of mass movements in Europe in the 1930′s.) The university “epitomizes the very spirit of free inquiry, which in turn is at the root of a free society, he concludes that ”a crisis in the university, the home of reason, is perhaps the profoundest crisis” for a modern democratic nation (Kimball 1987). Roger Kimball, managing editor of the conservative New Criterion, anticipated that The Closing of the American Mind would have many critics and it did because of its,

avowedly traditional vision of what it means to be an educated person. And no doubt many will object that this portrait of liberal education is in many ways a caricature or an exaggeration. Certainly, there are exceptions to the rule of mediocrity and ideological posing that Mr. Bloom anatomizes in these pages (Kimball 1987).”

Kimball (2005) re-iterated Bloom’s question on the role of higher education,

“The chief issue is this: Should our institutions of higher education be devoted primarily to the education of citizens–or should they be laboratories for social and political experimentation? Traditionally, a liberal arts education involved both character formation and learning. The goal was to produce men and women who (as Allan Bloom put it) had reflected thoughtfully on the question ” ‘What is man?’ in relation to his highest aspirations as opposed to his low and common needs (Kimball 2005).”

2003 Flickr started as an online multiplayer game in which the photo-trading feature was almost an afterthought. Hundreds of thousands of Flickr users social community unexpectedly changed the direction of the company by uploading, tagging and describing their own photos and commenting, rating (favouriting) and awarding those of other Flickr users (Tapscot and Williams 2008:310).”

2005 Roger Kimball, managing editor of the conservative New Criterion praised ”the rise of conservative talk radio, the popularity of Fox News . . . and the spread of interest in the Internet with its many right-of-center populist Web logs” as ”heartening signs” that conservatives are becoming ”a widespread counter to the counterculture” of universities.

2007 Swiss drug maker Novartis provided free Internet access without restrictions to all its raw data on its multi-million dollar research to unlock the genetic basis for type 2 diabetes. Tapscot and Williams consider the Novartis initiative as encapsulating wikinomics principles of openness, peering, sharing and acting globally (2008:288).”

2007 Andrew Keen’s book entitled The Cult of the Amateur: How Today’s Internet is Killing our Culture, was published in which he cautions against the inaccuracy of information shared on the Internet which he considers to be lacking in the more reliable and legitimate vetting processes where expert gatekeepers protect quality. Keen argued that the unintended consequence of Web 2.0 and the democratization of media results in democratization of talent and the flattening of culture by the masses who assert uninformed opinions, lack aesthetic judgment and are incapable of evaluating quality content. According to his arguments a democratized media would never have produced Mozarts, Hemingways, Universals or the Warner Brothers.

2008 The most wide-spread pedagogical model in Canadian public education systems are based on active, participatory teaching, learning and research methods and theories in many ways similar to those proposed by John Dewey in the 1930s. For example, Grade Five students “research” the Arctic regions online with much of the material based on wikipedia entries. They compile the information using PowerPoint and paper posters presented to the rest of the class. Grade Seven students “research” specific historical topics such as the fur trade in a debate format again using online sources to produce their arguments.

Folksonomy: Internet:social aspects, Internet:economic aspects, Information society, social change, self-publishing,

Webliography and Bibliography

Bloom, Allan. 1987. The Closing of the American Mind: How Higher Education Has Failed Democracy and Impoverished the Souls of Today’s Students. Foreword by Saul Bellow. 392 pp. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Gonshak, Henry. 1997. “Review of Ryan, Alan. 1995. John Dewey and the High Tide of American Liberalism. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.

Kimball, Roger. 1987 “The Groves of Ignorance.” New York Times.

Kimball, Roger. 2005-05. “Retaking the University: a Battle Plan.” New Criterion.

Keen, Andrew. 2007. The Cult of the Amateur: How Today’s Internet is Killing our Culture. New York: Doubleday.

Madigan, James. 2008-08-15. “Book Review: Wikinomics 52 Books in 52 Weeks challenge for 2008.

Ryan, Alan. 1995. John Dewey and the High Tide of American Liberalism. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.

Sleeper, Jim. 2005-09-04. “Allan Bloom and Conservative Mind.” New York Times.

Tapscot, Don; Williams, Anthony D. 2008 [2006]. Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything. Penguin Group: New York/Toronto/London.

Tapscot, Don; Williams, Anthony D. Wikinomics: the blog

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