Tag Archives: informatics

Wiki-Phobia – The Fear that Mobile Info is Bad Info

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Students in college and high school, in America, of all places, are at least subconsciously taught that what others think isn’t good knowledge – not even when its gift wrapped in convenience and laced with cautions.

The default is to assume that what others understand in meaning and intent is, at its root, unreliable.

Online resources like Wikipedia are basically wrong and not worth using — not trustworthy — because they rely on the fluidity of knowledge and concepts. Not being set in cement (or carved on a tablet?) makes ideas fundamentally weak and unusable. Only when the substance is settled do we dare footnote it in our papers or into history. Knowledge that moves and subject to the input of all is dangerous.

This must be a strange reality to those who have sought to Wiki-erize our world of searches. Their assumption seems to be that interactive knowing is just the opposite; that there is value and added worth in the ever moving wisdom of the crowds! To these types of folks in the pathways of open InterWebs, knowledge gets better because we all give a part of our take to its meaning and purpose.

As a person who ghosts my way through academic writing now and then — as I do with business assignment too — I often confront explicit directives NOT to use information extracted from encyclopedic sources of this nature. People in the “know” of these assignments take it as a given that moving knowledge from virtual spaces like these is bad, wrong, unreliable.

I couldn’t disagree more. And, in an ideal world, I’d fight all the harder for this point. Assignments that learn to use fast-moving data learn to build a better outcome.

I actually think more people should confront this sense of fatalism about every-changing knowledge. Doesn’t this fear of flexible understanding directly undercut what intelligence and learning are all about?

A strange starting point this phobia, if you ask me; for these are the very sectors that should be dedicated to the variabilities of the young, impressionable and wannabe profitable.

Shouldn’t we want such folks to crave the excitement of mobile clarity – clarity that changes with more input? Of knowledge that gets better, that matures, with time and practice?

As we mature as people and become proficient cashiers to the bottom line of consumerism, we should want to know what lies beneath and around the bight of the information river we’re navigating.

But instead, those who challenge this avenue of evolving information push us (the future generations often) away from these promising dynamics. We’re taught that using ever-changing knowledge as it grows and evolves is a bad thing; that its best to place our bets on awarenesses that are fixed in the here and now – a very conservative and disempowering prospect.

We need not fear the knowledge and understanding of others. We should actually celebrate all of its uncertain Wikiness!

Teachers. Business bosses. Let your people play with the change we cannot escape. Let them use the most dynamic resources that we have, no matter what they are called.

It’s not radical if the idea is right, and its all the righter when that idea is build on moving and growing awareness. The knowledge of others has a part to play. No need to fear the Wiki.



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The Birth of a (Virtual) Nation

Praise the Lord God of all thinks collective! In her infinite and forever appealing way, she has ensured that we are NOT alone. There is a reality of the matrices that blend social and cultural justice activities with very cool information and communication technologies (ICTs).

And it goes by the name of Informatics — that some of us old farts didn’t even know much about until recently.

From my perspective, what’s important is the new identification of this sector. Or what it’s founders call Community Infomatics (CI), the science of data and information storage and management made possible by information and communication technologies and marrying this with all of the wonders of community engagement for good stuff.

(I know it all sounds like something that chops and dices and it sold on early morning TV, but we hope to change this too!)

Community Informatics is, to me, the perfect way to use the knowledge and understanding of the progress that surrounds us and connecting it and all that it captures with EMPOWERMENT justice and activism.

Which, in my mind, is exactly what RadicalNOT is all about: talking about this as it hits the streets of change running at full and powerful speed. So to see that there are others already engaged … well … it’s enough to make a grown man delirious!

But more about my emotional health later. For now I just want to feed you the Wikipedia URL that talks about CI and that lays the groundwork for why I’d call it EI, or EMPOWERMENT INFORMATICS. Here is what one of the summary paragraphs says:

Cultures ensure their growth and survival by continuing the norms and mores that are the bases of their way of life. Communities can use the infrastructure of ICTs as a method of continuing cultures within the context of the Internet and the World Wide Web. Once a cultural identity is defined within the context of these technologies, it can be replicated and disseminated through various means, including the sharing of information through websites, applications, databases, and file sharing. In this manner, a group that defines its cultural identity within the construct of technology infrastructure is empowered to hold valuable exchanges within the spheres of economics, political power, high and popular culture, education, and entertainment. [emphasis added]

RadicalNOT endorses this view wholeheartedly. I love it. It makes my sociological heart go pitter patter!

I encourage you to jump over and take a look at the second discovery that got me pushing my Viagra aside. See the perspective’s manifesto of desires, so to speak, offered by the sector’s lead founding proponent, Michael Gurstein: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Community_informatics

Gurstein’s piece offers many elements of what this transformation means and why they are so important. We’ll dissect this soon.

In the meantime, start thinking of themes for the celebration party! True and effective impact is in the making, and its name is EMPOWERED INFORMATICS!!