Should Jon Faine Add @willrich45 To His Network?

What an interesting week last week was. It’s not often that you get exposure to diametrically opposed point of view within a couple of days, but this week it happened. Monday I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the SLAV Perspectives on learning v2.0 which had Will Richardson as the Key Speaker. Like a number of others I was doubly lucky as I had been able to attend the parallel session that Will had conducted 12 months earlier. Once again Will was engaging, thought-provoking and eminently practical.

One of the key take-outs from Will’s first session Network Literacy: Leveraging the Potential of a Hyperconnected World was the ongoing but increasingly importance of the networks we live and work within. Whilst such networks have existed from time immemorial it is through the continuing evolution of  communication tools that the capability for expanding, nurturing and leveraging these networks grows. The convergence of communication tools combined with reliable and easy access to them has dramatically scaled up both the possible size of these networks and the accessibility to the networks. When applied to knowledge, Will noted the truism that the sum of knowledge of a group must always be more than that of any individual member. Will also went on to note that learning is an ongoing process adn then went on to explore the notion of “Network Literacy” and what this means for teaching and more crucially learning. No matter the approach, the key factor is enabling and fostering networks that students can leverage for their learning in ethical and responsible ways.

Throughout the day Will continued to develop these themes as well as exploring a range of approaches and tools that best enable this notion of Network Literacy. Fellow attendees, Jenny, Tania, Heather and Carly have each written excellent reflections on these and other aspects of the day. All in all a truly stimulating day made even better by the conversations enabled by the presentations.

It was interesting to leave such a stimulating environment and become immersed once again in the workaday world. Being fortunate to spend at least some of my working week at home I am able to take in talk back radio with the local non-commercial radio station, which generally tends to provide an alternative view to my online and face to face networks. Often I find myself vacillating between mild agreement and disagreement rarely taking in the full force of these radio conversations. This particular morning though my ears pricked up as the usually astute morning presenter of what is generally regarded as a fairly up to date incisive program talk a call related to the use of mobile phones to address social problems. Taking a listener phone in, the presenter, Jon Faine quoted a text message, (interesting in itself given his position), which he said sums up how he feels about the proposition,

sounds like another crappy idea, just another tool disconnecting people especially our youth talking to machines instead of people, erghhh.”

Jon then went on to question how real and meaningful a connection can a digital connection be and whether it is good if it replaces real connections. The discussion then went on for some three or four minutes more around the theme of whether digitally mediated connections, (in this case mainly mobile phones), are replacing or adding to interactions. What was really interesting was each of the participant’s take on a situation where an acquaintance of Jon was worried when their mobile phone hadn’t rung. Christine, (the pone in caller), saw it that the phone was such a big part of Jon’s friend’s life whereas Jon saw it that the the interactions the person was reliant on the mobile for were in fact meaningless. He stated that such interactions,

should never be what human interaction should ever be about ……… and that it was never a meaningful dialogue or interaction in the first place.”

The discussion then went on a little further before Jon suggested that he would love Christine to come into the station for a longer chat sometime. Unless I have unfortunately missed it, that chat has not yet been realised though if I do get the chance to listen in I would love to engage in the conversation myself.

Coming off this conversation and that of the previous day I was interested to read in the following days reports and stories by;

Interesting times indeed?

A quick check shows that Jon is not on Twitter, (though the radio station he works for @774melbourne is on). Unfortunately someone has used Jon’s image and name in a very uncomplimentary manner to create an false account based on his personage. This will no doubt bolster Jon’s argument that such interactions are extremely facile and undergraduate which is a pity because it would have been great to have him engage with @willrich45 in an extended dialogue :).

Can I Still Communicate? by Podknox

Has mBill turnkey mobile billing stopped trading? by Podknox

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2 Responses to Should Jon Faine Add @willrich45 To His Network?

  1. Paul says:

    I don’t usually listen to Faine’s radio station but the few times I have heard him, he has come across as a fair, open-minded presenter which makes his views here seem somewhat out of character. That said, whilst I don’t agree with his stance, I do understand the point he is trying to make. Unfortunately limited experience with Twitter undermines his argument.

    I remember in the early days of Twitter there were a lot of naysayers. For example, the tech guru John C Dvorak was constantly bemoaning its use until he too became a convert. He could see a need. Whilst it is ironic Faine struggles to recognise a purpose (when @774melbourne perform such a significant role in Victoria’s bushfire coverage) I can see where he is coming from. For any interaction to work both parties need to understand the medium and the context – both of these can be difficult to grasp initially when using Twitter.

    What I struggle with his how quickly and absolutely he seems to dismiss it. I would have thought that people in the media would be among the first to see the opportunities presented by new technologies such as Twitter.

    I don’t think Twitter is for everyone and that’s okay, but perhaps someone in the business of information gathering and analysis should be a little more accepting of other forms of communication. I don’t think Evan Williams (Blogger and Twitter) could really be accused of having ‘crappy ideas’.

  2. johnp says:

    Hi Paul,
    Couldn’t agree more, I usually find Mr Faine to be open to all manner of points of view and give him his dues, (if you listen to the audio of his conversation with Christine), he did allow her more than usual leeway before interrupting. It is also relatively rare for him to on air invite callers in to the studio. Whether we agree or disagree with his stance we also need to recognise that at the moment it is the orthodoxy for the majority.

    You’re also correct that it is almost impossible to fully appreciate the possibilities and downside of using digitally mediated interactions until they are used in situ for real, authentic reasons. Even then, as is apparent with Jon’s arguments, personal preference can colour perceptions.

    I agree, (and continue to re-inforce this in presentations I do for teachers and administrators), that digitally mediated interactions including blogs, Twitter, SMS or whatever are not for everyone. I get concerned when I see schools or classes mandating that all students must keep a blog, wiki or whatever as just like most other pursuits they are not suited to all students. The bigger risk I see is that such mandated activity runs the risk of identifying the tools as “school things” rather than a vehicle for personal learning.

    Enough for now :)…….

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