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!)