I must admit that I find Shirky’s book fascinating and find myself quoting or mentioning it in conversation, or even worse, interrupting my husband to read an excerpt to him. The author brings up some interesting points, as many have mentioned, including the issues surrounding the theft of the cell phone. I particularly found it interesting to take note of the schematic drawings in chapter two of the rise in the number of connections as members were added to the group. The possibilities of transactions increase as numbers increase. It made me think of earlier times in education when teachers lectured and students listened. Would we call that connected or engaged today? What does it mean to be connected? And how do we describe engaged, what does it feel like? Some of our students today are FB "friends" with over 1200 people. I cannot imagine that when I think of my high school years. Do they really engage with these people or keep up with them? They have a desire to be connected, in touch, seen, heard. Has any of this behavior changed classroom expectations?
With technological advances increasing rapidly and access becoming more available, what will traditional institutions and organizations look like in the future? We already see people organizing outside of organizations such as the government and church. The number of groups in FB is but one example of where people are meeting today. It causes me to wonder if we are prepared for how the educational institutions could be impacted by this trend. Do we have anyone studying or predicting what we might expect or is this even possible? Some students are taking online courses now before they reach the doors of high school.
So far I find Shirky to be relating what is currently happening in view of the way we once organized or communicated. While I find the current trend fascinating and rather exciting, the speed at which it is happening leaves me a bit breathless. I think part of the stress for me is that we are always in the learning mode. That is a stretch for me since I have always considered myself a learner and enjoy the process. I wonder if I will be able to keep up with all the technology changes in the future that we are hard pressed to predict.
Regardless, the book thus far is fascinating and compelling. Something is happening. Communication and connections are rapidly changing and growing, and as Shirky notes, ‘Revolution happens when society adopts new behaviors." That we will see. And there is "power of organizing outside of organizations.’ Just what will that look like in the future, next year, next month, even next week?