March 19, 2009

Jeff Jarvis on institutions' fear of the net

Jeff Jarvis A beauty from Jeff's What Would Google Do, currently accompanying my commutes:


"Industries and institutions, in their most messianic moments, tend to view the internet in their own image: Retailers thin of the internet as a store... Marketers see it as their means to deliver a brand message. Media companies see it as a medium, assuming that online is about content and distribution...

"The internet explodes [this notion that industries and institutions have some point of control over people]. It abhors centralization. It loves sea level and tears down barriers to entry. It despises secrecy and rewards openness. It favors collaboration over ownership. The once-powerful approach the internet with dread when they realize they cannot control it."


With 4iP we're attempting to amplify a few of those distributed gems rather than trying to ensnare them to channel4.com, better traffic and eyeballs or not. We're insisting, much to the distaste of some, on collaboration over ownership of stuff. Jeff thinks it's the right way forward. I think it's the right way forward.

What about you? What about your institutions? A few on which I'd love a discussion: BBC (especially its news), Glow (Scotland's national intranet), Scottish Government services... any more?

Comments

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2 things spring to mind. One is the 'once' before the powerful and the other is the parallels with a move to a distributed leadership model in Scottish Education.

On Glow we are getting to a stage where the still-powerful decision-makers (no once about it!) are beginning to see the value of social media. That's only possible because it is a targeted, attributable environment (as a discussion in a face-to-face INSET event is perceived). For most, this is a necessary comfort level and we will see conversations moving from (for example) head teacher only groups to all-staff groups to all parents and pupils on Glow. From there we are not far away from the World Wide Web. Others are, of course, moving in the opposite direction and Glow encourages that too with its views of social media tools.

Thanks for starting this debate and I look forward to hearing what others think!

Never mind Glow. The local authorities in Scotland and elsewhere will have to loosen their grip.

As an example there will soon be very little point in limiting web access when pupils arrive in school permanently linked to the internet via a variety of smartphones, netbooks and dongles. Education will have to legitimise the use of such devices or they will be used under desks in inappropriate ways. Instead of "Get out your jotters" it should be "Get out your smartphones".

Kia ora Ewan

I believe you've nailed it with the idea that the Internet is dreaded by some. But isn't that always the case with something new in technology? And I'm not just talking about e-technology here.

I work for a huge distance learning centre. I have been active in that school in various capacities for over 15 years - long enough for me to watch and learn how many hundreds of teachers view the Net.

I have to say that people do change, but the fears they have, in many ways, occur mainly through ignorance. And not just the ignorance of the users.

Some years ago the school underwent a computer audit - over 400 teaching staff were involved. There was quite a bit of publicity about it. A few staff lost their jobs through the inappropriate use of work computers, and not all for the same reason. These amounted to less than 1% of the total teaching staff - a splendid testimony to the dedication and focus on appropriate use of computers and the Internet by teachers. Compared with any other similar audits conducted in large organisations, the portion of those who get their fingers burnt is often many times larger than 1%.

There was ignorance on both sides of that audit, for the auditors didn't know what they were looking at half the time, and the teachers didn't know what was considered appropriate use - though over 99% of them used their equipment appropriately and with a high degree of professionalism.

But that audit put the fear of death in many of the staff of the school. So much so that it shocked many teachers from using the Internet for educational purposes. The audit was conducted in an altogether stupid manner, for it tainted what could have led to wonderful teaching experiences for many.

So yes, there is dread of the Internet. But not always by the 'powerful'.

Catchya later
from Middle-earth

As an internet marketer I've been fascinated with my ability to use Google to my advantage over the big boys.

The big corporations are just to slow to react to their ever changing algorithms.They leveled the playing field and it's just the beginning.

And yes the money is in niches...anyone with the will to succeed can be an expert in no time at all.(teachers beware)

It's also interesting how they learn by getting abused by guys like me.

My guess is that Google itself will fall down as well, with many new search engines such as Lexxe,Hakia,Kosmix and Sensebot gaining in popularity.

Evolution at the speed of light.

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About Ewan

Ewan McIntosh is a teacher, speaker and investor, regarded as one of Europe’s foremost experts in digital media for public services.

His company, NoTosh Limited, invests in tech startups and film on behalf of public and private investors, works with those companies to build their creative businesses, and takes the lessons learnt from the way these people work back into schools and universities across the world.

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