Slow Down

When I first started using social media for learning it was ALL about blogs. Blog posts by Jane Hart, Harold Jarche, Clive Shepherd, Tom Kuhlman – this is how I learned about eLearning, I took what they said and tried it out, I read the interesting comments and learned more.

Then there was Learning Circuits Big Question, a monthly themed blog carnival that most of the best bloggers joined in on. All the brightest minds in the industry exchanging ideas and reflecting on each others posts, challenging, debating. That was rather good.

Then Twitter happened. Twitter killed the Big Question and probably deeper online debate in general.

This week weeLearning accidentally stumbled upon a theme that inspired several people to write blog posts and for a day or two I remembered what we were missing.

In among those posts we talked about what curation was and what was good and bad about it. I think a key aspect of that debate is the difference between aggregation and curation. Curation is a longer, deeper, more thoughtful process than aggregation, which is often automated. Curation as a concept is drawing some criticism from the learning community because people are using curation tools like Scoop.it to aggregate, not to curate. If you look at the majority of Scoop.it users in the L&D community you won’t find any insight or critique added to the posts they choose. It’s very tempting and I’m guilty of it too.

It’s so easy to find interesting content and so easy to share it, to push it along, that we focus on the quantity and value the novelty, instead of taking time to reflect on what we find and how it connects to other ideas. We’re very good at recognising when something will augment the flow of the current Zeitgeist on Twitter – but algorithms can do that just as well. The value in curation is that it adds a human touch to search. This means we need to be content to be craftsmen and woman and resist the powerful urge to share instantly.

I’m not sure if it’s possible, but I think it’s time for a “Slow Sharing” movement.

EDIT: Here’s an interesting post from Dennis Calahan highlighting the risks of relying too much on other people’s work and not thinking for ourselves Thinking for Yourself in a Connected World (first time I’ve read anything via Google Reader for a very long time!)

Post by: Sam Burrough (39 Posts)


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4 comments on “Slow Down
  1. I’m definitely a fan of the ‘slow sharing’ approach or what I sometimes call ‘slow learning’.

  2. Thanks for the post John, I agree. I have started using Scoop It this year and now I’ve slowly been questioning why I’m aggregating ‘stuff’ without any commentary or additional notes. In fact, this is why I prefer Evernote and have collected many resources that have been tagged and notated over the years and I have referred to over the years for my work. I know you can do this in Scoop It too. Our Twitter streams also seem to be filled with titles like, “The XYZ Daily Is Out!” where everyone is curating content but is anyone actually reading it? Or derive value from it? I believe that we need to reconsider our sources, gather references that suit our niche/preferences/specialty and provide commentary to give the material much more depth.

    • sam says:

      Thanks for your comment Helen. I really don’t understand why anyone bothers with the whole paper.li thing. It’s utterly worthless. I think the only time anyone actually reads them is when they get name checked for “contributing”. It’s only then that you realise how pointless the whole thing is. Most if not all of the articles are auto-selected and then the extra space is filled up with apparently random stuff. Why people, why?!!!

      • Helen Blunden says:

        Thanks! Seems like we share the same sentiment with those Paper.Li things. I don’t even bother reading them even if my name is mentioned anymore!

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