Thursday, March 27, 2008

QOTD: Matthew Ingram on The Change


If the news is that important, it will find me.

So true! And it's true for a lot more than just news.

UPDATE: I was reading this article in the NY Times tonight: Finding Political News Online, the Young Pass It On, and came across the same quote:

Ms. Buckingham recalled conducting a focus group where one of her subjects, a college student, said, “If the news is that important, it will find me.”

It's a good read on the importance of social networks and how the expert is being disintermediated. Worth reading.


Bud said...

To me, this really begs the question of what an expert is or what you mean by it. For instance, is Sam Ruby being disintermediated? I'm reading Planet Intertwingly all the time. People like Sam and Shelley Powers (Burning Bird) have some real substance. Political blogs I read also have some substance. All of these are mediators.

However, I've definitely dropped off reading cnet and traditional media, though I do read their blogs. So, maybe what's really happening is that new media channels are rising up to replace the old.

BTW, I find expert a tricky concept. I received my PhD from Carnegie Mellon, and that's all we talked about in the Psych classes I took.

Kevin Gamble said...

Well that is a good question. I think the difference now is the longtail thing coming into play. We have so many choices of who we can turn to-- expertise where it was always distributed is now so much more accessible, and how we select who we listen to is so much more democratic.

I too listen to Sam Ruby and Shelly Powers. I'm so glad I have the opportunity. Could it be that *everyone" has expertise in something? I think probably so, which is what makes the context so critical.

Bud said...

One possibility is that the Internet makes expertise more "discoverable" via the intermediaries of search engines *and* social networks. Of course, both of these intermediaries present their own possibilities for distortion. However, the general effect seems to be to widen the playing field.

At the end of the 90's, there was a prophetic comment in a Harvard Business Review article to the effect that Internet navigation services would become a high value business proposition. Maybe, in some ways, that was obvious even then. But, wow.

Peg said...

Perhaps we could redefine disintermediation as a disruption of our default notion(s) of appropriate information-distribution models and mediation (re-mediation?) as the act of remaining open to a variety of perspectives on the same topic (including perspectives that relate to one's own experience and the experiences of peers.

Ellen Langer (Harvard, social psychology) has spent 30 years building a (to my mind elegant) theory of mindfulness that challenges most of our deeply held ideas about learning, teaching, expertise, and behavior change.

Although Langer has published widely in the professional literature, her popular books make much of her research available as quick and easy reading.

Here's a brief snippet from The Power of Mindful Learning where Langer argues for the importance of uncertainty, ambiguity, and multiple perspectives (contexts) in fostering mindful learning. It contains a cogent note about expertise:

Uncertainty creates the freedom to discover meaning. If there are meaningful choices, there is uncertainty. If there is no choice, there is no uncertainty and no opportunity for control. The theory of mindfulness insists that uncertainty and the experience of personal control are inseparable...

Expert observers tend to focus on particular features of a situation that enable them to hold variables constant….Perceived stability is often in the experts’ interest because their authority frequently rests on the stability of the categories they employ.

One of the fears people may have of an educational system that creates a place for several perspectives is that nothing will remain stable, there will be nothing reliable on which they can lean for continuity. Yet we discover that by viewing the same information through several perspectives, we actually become more open to that information…. If we fail to explore several perspectives, we risk confusing the stability of our own mindset with the stability of the phenomenon itself.