Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Weinberger talk on blogging...from Nick

Nick Burbules sent this e-mail to a bunch of folks...

Here is the link to a wonderful talk I heard on CSPAN, which I know
you will enjoy too (in fact, after you listen to it, I would like to
discuss it with you).
Go to the lecture for November 15 (David Weinberger). After the
introductions, the talk itself is just over a half hour. Tell me what
you think about it.

I came to work, a deserted moo u for sure just before the holiday, for a faster connection that would let me watch this all the way through. Here is what I said to Nick and some others by e-mail...there are wonderful things to think about in this talk in relation to higher ed now and in the future...

This is just terrific. Here are some reactions immediately to the talk. I plan to listen later to the commentary starting at minute 49. I plan to copy this now to folks and put it on my blog with some more commentary.

I LOVE Wikipedia. It has a charm to it. For instance, we all did our Christmas Day tradition of going to a film opening (last year, Cold Mt, this year, The Aviator) and I came home wanting to know more about Howard Hughes. Of course, I googled him and then went to several wiki articles, learned more about what happened in the film, about his OCD, and clipped several pics of the Spruce Goose, one of which is now my laptop's wallpaper. Even though they were just feet away, I IM'ed these links to my wife and daughter, and we exchanged info about what we all found, and what we thought about the film and the real life Howard Hughes...and so on. So, Wiki rules, as Weinberger suggests!

One of the main themes of Negroponte's book *being digital* was the atom/electron difference, and Weinberger picks up on that very pointedly when he talks about how the Dewey Decimal system cannot be altered for the world's (physical) books. I spoke on Negroponte here at Purdue, and published a book review on his book and Sven Birkerts's book *The Gutenberg Elegies* in Ed Researcher a number of years ago. Birkerts lamented the loss of relaxed, focused reading of (physical, paper, bound) books, and wistfully recalled growing up in Ann Arbor and the independent bookstore culture of that city. But one of the most interesting chapters in that book, IMHO, is the one about audio books, as Birkerts really talks, phenomenologically, about the experience of a book on tape versus reading.

I loved the stuff at the end of Weinberger's talk about blogs, as that is exactly the way I have experienced them. I have been thinking that several blogs I have been following lately seem almost too formal for me at times to be blogs. *Crooked Timber* is terrific, and I follow it, but the posts seem formal and fixed at times...more like position papers than blog entries. Too....serious and earnest at times, I suppose! I may need to tunnel into CT more to see if I am being fair! Probably not...

I love that idea of an organic, viney, messy metaphor for knowledge. My mind is better at allusion and synthesis than analysis I think, so I feel at home with this new metaphor. I love the example of finding out about "forgiveness" through Googling Akma's blog, and then linking.

Apropos forgiveness, I think it is a brilliant insight of Weinberger that blogging fosters a culture of forgiveness, due to their messy, relaxed nature. I agree that this type of writing makes me feel like I know the person. When I write another blogger about a posting, I almost always use his or her first name. I feel I already know this person through their blog postings, just as Weinberger points out. And, it is very liberating for me, as the somewhat grammatically obsessed son of a career journalist who corrects others, to have this more informal forum.

Nuff for now...thanks so much for this, Nick! On to my blog most of this goes!

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