Brandon Hall Network

Various authors, Sept 23, 2006
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Brandon Hall has discovered social networking, and so naturally, has built a social network site that is, as they say, "Myspace.com meets LinkedIn." There is, the email advertisement said, currently no cost to join - but of course, there will be eventually. I guess we can expect special events available only to members advertised around the net. You may wonder why I didn't build something like this - I could easily have done so, and I certainly knew about this sort of approach several years ago. Simply: it's the wrong approach. You don't create a 'newtork' by making everybody go to your house, by charging money to access, by building walls and barriers. Networks are created when each person has his or her own space and autonomy, where communications are free and open. I guess that's not the Brandon Hall way, though.

So what should Brandon Hall have done? It should have spent the same money developing simple distributed applications and services that would allow people to contribute to such a free network. It would actually have gained more had it done so. If I had anything like money or resources, that's what I would develop.
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