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by Stephen Downes
March 10, 2009

Are Blogs Losing Their Authority To The Statusphere?
The concept of blog "authority:" was ridiculous when Technorati introduced the idea a few years ago, and remains ridiculous today as sites like TechCrunch can actually lose 15,000 links (according to Technorati) in a few months. "It goes back to the definition of authority. Links from blogs are no longer the only measurable game in town. Potentially valuable linkbacks are increasingly shared in micro communities and social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, and FriendFeed and they are detouring attention and time away from formal blog responses." Well, year, but because your post has been retweeted, or cited in a Facebook status (probably your own), does that mean it is somehow authoritative? No, that suggestion has never made sense, and it doesn't now. To track authority, you have to track ideas, and nobody in the socialsphere has even come close to that yet. Brian Solis, TechCrunch, March 10, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment]

Guardian Open Platform
The Guardian has launched a new 'platform' that will allow other services to integrate with their own offerings. Praise was immediate. Tom Watson, MP, writes, "Guardian Open Platform is a chasmic leap into the future. It is a work of simplistic beauty that I'm sure will have a dramatic impact in the news market. The Guardian is already a market leader in the online space but Open Platform is revolutionary. It makes all of their major competitors look timid. Governments should be doing this. Governments will be doing it. The question is how long will it take us to catch up." Yes, absolutely. The idea that we can't even today tap into government services and information is something of a scandal. Via Simon Willison. And Willison, who was involved in its design, has more description of the initiative. No Perl library for the API, though.

What's really funny is that in response to this post, just yesterday, I wrote, "Too late. It would take a miracle for a newspaper site to be a platform today. They will have to go through the other sites that actually *are* platforms and which have effectively closed off that opportunity." It will be interesting to see whether the Guardian can pull this off. It's unlikely many other newspapers could. Tom Watson, Weblog, March 10, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Informal Learning in Everyday Practice: Getting to Know a City and Its Symbols
I have in the past compared formal learning with exploring a city by being kidnapped and forcibly driven around a city, and informal learning with exploring a city in any other way: by joining a tour group, using a city map, riding a city bus, traveling with a friend, or (my favorite) wandering aimlessly without a map and only the vaguest idea of a destination. People, as Ignatia suggests, laugh at the concept of informal learning - but most would never explore a city any other way but informally. Inge de Waard, Ignatia, March 10, 2009 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Is Mass Media Coming to an End?
the short answer to the question is "yes". But the long answer is more complex. We will not, and do not want, to return to "an online 'virtual' campfire [with] stories, songs and (unverified) information shared in the evening among people who do other things to make a living." We continue to have interests that are the result of networks at the regional, provincial and national level. Agencies such as the CBC are essential to capturing such interests - radio 3's independent music reporting is a case in point. The aggregation and interpretation function - the sort of thing both I and the CBC perform - continues to need to be funded, and since it will not be funded through corporate advertising or subscriptions (both of which depend on mass, and both of which erode the independence of point of view) an alternative form of funding is needed. Justin Beach,, March 10, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

ThoughtFest 09

Josie Fraser writes, "The University of Aveiro are moving away from the managed learning system model and providing a supported Personal Learning Environment (PLE) service linking in University functionality with member selected and supported web 2.0 distributed activity. Why is this amazing? The global edtech community have been talking about how institutions can engage with learner-centered PLEs for a while now, but Aveiro and the SAPO team are putting it into practice. Campus wide. In September. You can find out more and ask questions over at the Thought Fest site." You can see the full presentation from Carlos Santos here. Josie Fraser, SocialTech, March 10, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Hacking Education Conference
Alex Reid has written a couple of posts on the Hacking Education conference (summarized by Fred Wilson) recently concluded. He writes, "I think it would be asking a tremendous amount from students to imagine that they can construct their own curriculum or cobble together curriculum from a variety of otherwise unrelated sources." I reply to this and other points; he responds in the comments. His second post looks at the relationship between the hacker and the institution. Alex Reid, Digital Digs, March 10, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

OA in Question for NRC Research Press Journals
Peter Suber passes on a report about changes here at NRC. Andre Vellino: "One consequence of the privatization of the NRC Research Press and its separation from CISTI (Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information) is the risk that Canada's largest academic science publisher will no longer be able to sustain its Open Access publishing policy." CARL and SPARC, meanwhile, are urging Canadian authors to self-archive. Which, of course, is what I have been doing. Peter Suber, Open Access News, March 10, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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