Extending the network

I’ve been have some interesting experiences with my excursions into the twittering, or is it tweeting, world. And as a result, some of my prior assumptions about the value of social media are under some kind of transformation. I’m not sure that I can clearly share what I’m getting just yet, but here’s a go at it. While there are definitely challenges to sorting through the volume of tweets coming in, I have likewise definitely found some interesting topics and links either through people that I follow, or by exploring tweets of people who are followed by people I follow (is that clear?!). Sometimes, I’ve found interesting things by just scanning some of the trending topics in Tweetdeck.

[photo source: http://w3.uniroma1.it/cosan/]

Is there anyone out there?

Tossing around thoughts about my recent forays into the twitter world, developing a personal learning environment/network, and how a LMS fits into a learning picture, the image of a neural network came to mind. Is a PLN something like an extended neural network? Well, for one thing, any neurons I’m connecting with via the net aren’t really directly connected to my own. But through the exchange of experience, understanding, information, and knowledge, there is some kind of connection. I would say that at this point my extended neural network that works through the digital media world is still in an early growth stage.

Am I like the 2 or 3 year old who is learning to talk and puts his/her fingers into whatever is near, still learning to discern this from that and not yet really understanding the ways of working in this world? Or maybe I’m a bit further along in my development, but I don’t think so far, especially when considering the social media aspect. My extended neural network and the ability to understand and use digital media is probably closer to the neural development of an 8-10 year old. That’s just a guess without having really deep knowledge of the stages of neural development in the human being.

Anyway, I’m still experimenting, finding interesting stuff, going for a digital ride, at times, with uncertain outcomes except that I realize time has passed. Filter and focus are key ingredients to this recipe that seems to under continuous revision. I do believe that my learning network has increased. Twitter has opened the door to something more than google search. And while delicious is a result of a human touch, it’s not visible like with twitter. I don’t have a Facebook page and am not sure that I will anytime soon. I do have a Linked In profile and have participated in some of the forums there. I kind of like twitter with the ability to find and follow an interesting hashtag, search on topics. So, I do think I am extending my learning network. It’s mostly as a consumer at this point, but I think that’s a starting point.


2 Responses to “Extending the network”

  1. 1 jmhuebner 25 October 2010 at 10:10 pm

    Did you get a chance to read the EDUCAUSE “Streams of Content, Limited Attention” article that was shared by George Siemens on a tweet and forwarded by Jeff? (it’s on the delicious feed on our course feeds page) – all that to say, Twitter can produce some helpful ways to look at things, just as you are suggesting in your post. In the article, Danah Boyd compares networked media to Csikszentmihalyi’s ‘flow’ theory… “People reach a state where attention appears focused and, simultaneously, not in need of focus. The world is align and everything just feels right.” I cannot say that I have flow with digital media, but I’m like you, feeling more tolerant in the river.

  2. 2 Tim 27 October 2010 at 3:27 pm

    I like the neural network idea; it has some mind-blowing extensions. My attitude toward Twitter is being transformed by my usage, but my consciousness has not been heightened (yet!). I find that I have experienced some serendipitous learning from Twitter, and I am starting to realize that it has use for learning and I can benefit personally. I appreciate your testing and tuning on various topics and seeing what you get. This has struck me as something I can do more of. I have followed some people and organizations, and now I have turned some off that were not useful, but I need to find others that are better. What tags do you find helpful? Time to experiment!

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