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Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

It takes a bit to get to this point, but this is one of those key moments, I think. Alan Levine writes, "The idea of a free open unenclosed commons, the idea that shaped me, needs recalibration. Maybe just my own." Why? "Colleagues used to take time to add to the web fabric," he writes, but now "is mostly social media posts laden with Like clicks that float downstream or at best, only in docs. It is now fractionated as the social media disaspora is growing more diasporated. It's the commercialization of everything, which makes the simple act of reading online an effort of signing ip and dismissing boxes of ads and solicitations covering content. It's that two letter acronym which might subsume everything, including our supply of water and energy."

Here's what I think. The old internet was based on creating content by hand, because that was the only way we could do it, and so was populated only by a small number of enthusiasts. But it got easier and easier to create internet content, and more and more people did that. The enthusiasts are still there, but but for each one of them there are ten on Twitter, a hundred on Facebook, and it's easy and tempting to follow the crowds. But if all someone does is post - and repost - on Twitter, where's the creativity in that? If you don't do that - if you don't follow the people just doing the easy thing - the internet is still a beautiful place. Don't be distracted by the people taking the easy path - that way lies disillusion.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Last Updated: May 22, 2024 4:54 p.m.

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