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Inform Yourself: Social Networking and You - 85 views

  • academia is just scratching the surface about the implications of social networking and what exactly it is, what it means, and how it happens
  • scholarly speculation
  • "Has social networking technology (blog-friendly phones, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) made us better or worse off as a society, either from an economic, psychological, or sociological perspective?"
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  • "students were using Facebook to increase the size of their social network, and therefore their access to more information and diverse perspectives. "
  • "Powerful new technologies provide great benefits, but they also change the way we live, and not always in ways that everyone likes. An example is the spread of air conditioning, which makes us more comfortable, but those who grew up before its invention speak fondly of a time when everyone sat on the front porch and talked to their neighbors rather than going indoors to stay cool and watch TV. The declining cost of information processing and communication represents a powerful new technology, with social networking as the most recent service to be provided at modest cost. It can be expected to bring pluses and minuses."
  • social networking technologies support and enable a new model of social life, in which people’s social circles will consist of many more, but weaker, ties
  • Social networking technologies provide people with a low cost (in terms of time and effort) way of making and keeping social connections, enabling a social scenario in which people have huge numbers of diverse, but not very close, acquaintances.
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    A brief look at social networking theory with interesting views of SNs and where academia are "at" with regards to the emerging field. The post is a little old (Aug 2010) but much is still relevant and the link through to the Freakonomics blog is worthwhile following.
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    I'm not sure how the connection between social networking and Chritianity will fit in a school environment.
D. S. Koelling

5 Myths About the 'Information Age' - The Chronicle Review - The Chronicle of Higher Ed... - 0 views

  • 1. "The book is dead." Wrong: More books are produced in print each year than in the previous year. One million new titles will appear worldwide in 2011. In one day in Britain—"Super Thursday," last October 1—800 new works were published.
  • 2. "We have entered the information age." This announcement is usually intoned solemnly, as if information did not exist in other ages. But every age is an age of information, each in its own way and according to the media available at the time.
  • I mention these misconceptions because I think they stand in the way of understanding shifts in the information environment. They make the changes appear too dramatic. They present things ahistorically and in sharp contrasts—before and after, either/or, black and white. A more nuanced view would reject the common notion that old books and e-books occupy opposite and antagonistic extremes on a technological spectrum. Old books and e-books should be thought of as allies, not enemies.
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  • 4. "Libraries are obsolete." Everywhere in the country librarians report that they have never had so many patrons. At Harvard, our reading rooms are full. The 85 branch libraries of the New York Public Library system are crammed with people.
  • 5. "The future is digital." True enough, but misleading. In 10, 20, or 50 years, the information environment will be overwhelmingly digital, but the prevalence of electronic communication does not mean that printed material will cease to be important. Research in the relatively new discipline of book history has demonstrated that new modes of communication do not displace old ones, at least not in the short run.
  • 3. "All information is now available online." The absurdity of this claim is obvious to anyone who has ever done research in archives. Only a tiny fraction of archival material has ever been read, much less digitized. Most judicial decisions and legislation, both state and federal, have never appeared on the Web. The vast output of regulations and reports by public bodies remains largely inaccessible to the citizens it affects. Google estimates that 129,864,880 different books exist in the world, and it claims to have digitized 15 million of them—or about 12 percent.
  • Last year the sale of e-books (digitized texts designed for hand-held readers) doubled, accounting for 10 percent of sales in the trade-book market. This year they are expected to reach 15 or even 20 percent. But there are indications that the sale of printed books has increased at the same time.
  • Many of us worry about a decline in deep, reflective, cover-to-cover reading. We deplore the shift to blogs, snippets, and tweets. In the case of research, we might concede that word searches have advantages, but we refuse to believe that they can lead to the kind of understanding that comes with the continuous study of an entire book. Is it true, however, that deep reading has declined, or even that it always prevailed?
  • Writing looks as bad as reading to those who see nothing but decline in the advent of the Internet. As one lament puts it: Books used to be written for the general reader; now they are written by the general reader. The Internet certainly has stimulated self-publishing, but why should that be deplored? Many writers with important things to say had not been able to break into print, and anyone who finds little value in their work can ignore it.
  • One could cite other examples of how the new technology is reinforcing old modes of communication rather than undermining them. I don't mean to minimize the difficulties faced by authors, publishers, and readers, but I believe that some historically informed reflection could dispel the misconceptions that prevent us from making the most of "the information age"—if we must call it that.
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