Mesh Networks of People

Alan Levine, May 09, 2014
Commentary by Stephen Downes

I think that the more you get out and talk with people the more you find these deep mesh networks of people around domains, ideas, disciplines and hobbies. As Alan Levine says, "connections I make, not just PLNing or linking online, just by talking and listening… are gold." What's also interesting - I was just at a meeting this morning where I experienced the same sort of thing - is that these networks recede off into the distance; you can get a grasp of some of those around you, you can see them stretch off into the horizon, but the totality of them all is something you can only partially grasp, and you could spend your life exploring. This is what Levine has been doing over the last few years (and he is thus being afforded a genuinely unique view of the world). And significantly, what he sees - I think (it's what I see, at least) - is that this is how human society is structured, and the hierarchies and institutions and more visible elements of society are just an overlay, artificial abstractions, formalisms, artifacts we create, but not ultimately core or significant. Levine has some excellent examples in this post which make it worth a look.

P.S. see also Levine on changes to the Flickr API and on how Twitter is a crappy RSS reader replacement. "Twitter is no replacement for the ability to quickly scan a reliable set of sources that collect the drops while away."

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