11 thoughts on “The Machine is (Changing) Us – Michael Wesch

  1. What a brilliant presentation. Thanks for sharing it and opening our minds to a more global perspective, not just in terms of space but in thinking… ahhh…. the title of this blog…. It gives me plenty to reflect on.

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  3. Thanks! It has now become required reading for all my students!

    here is how I introduced the video clip:
    Alec Couros called this to me attention. He said: “Watch this. Trust me. The video is well worth your time.” I would add that it is essential for all teachers, students, and people interested in contemporary culture.

  4. Hi, Alec,

    I was trying to catch up on my blog feeds and had bookmarked this some time ago but never watched it until this evening. First of all, thank you for sharing it–it was really intriguing to watch and reflect on.

    One of the ironies I have found as I have immersed myself in today’s social media is expressed in the video. On the one hand, I feel more connected to a global community of friends, acquaintances, educators, policy-makers, and complete strangers than ever before. We share ideas, discuss issues, amuse one another, and force each other to think in new ways. The flip side, however, is that these interactions are all too often, I find, very brief and superficial. A reader leaves a comment on a blog. The author may respond or, more often, does not respond. The reader moves on, and the conversation dies away. A Twitter message is posted, seeking a response but getting little or none, particularly if the author has not achieved a certain level of status within the group. A YouTube video with an important meaning is posted, but it is lost in the immense competition. There is a community, but it is loosely connected and often so large that any real connections are lost.

    While I share the dream of deeper conversations and greater power and connectedness expressed in the closing moments of Dr. Wesch’s video, I can’t help but feel we are in many ways moving farther from this ideal. The latest, greatest new platforms continually emerge, spreading our time and attention ever more thinly, and diluting the conversations. It requires a focused effort to filter the input and try and focus attention on what is truly important and effort on things of real significance. I believe I share the feelings of many when I say we are all too often wasting such an incredible opportunity to effect real change and real empowerment.

  5. Randy, I think you’ve touched on some interesting aspects. I’m in the final stages of planning a project for a course I’m taking, where I’ll be asking people to submit short contributions discussing their sense of connectedness in face-to-face vs. online formats. When the project goes live, I’d love for you to submit something to help flesh this out a bit!

  6. Randy & Alec

    In all this noise you are describing so aptly Randy, I had caught a signal that said:
    ‘These days, sharing what you think is easier & easier, sharing thinking is hard as ever.’ (perhaps even harder because of this jostling for attention you describe so well)

    On the surface, “depth v width” conversation has been skewed towards the width .. BUT when the surface is pierced and the filter starts working, some amazingly deep and rich insight develop across the world. I know they have for me and I would not be privvy to those insights and conversations without maybe only a couple of the tools you describe.

    Good insight Randy … please don’t feel compelled to reply or get in touch :D
    (but if you do I think you just have to click on my name here, welcome)

  7. I think Randy Rodgers’ points are correct. We are experiencing the inevitable (and familiar) tension between breadth (width) and depth. I am far less engaged in the discourse than most of you and I feel fragmented following the networks I engage with. Sadly, there is no resolution to this tension. At best we can strike some sort of personal balance.

    I’ll offer a contrast though. For much of my career I have felt isolated in tiny rural communities with a small numbers of colleagues. The annual subject council and a few journals were my limited contact with the larger community of educators who shared my interests and concerns. We were a largely homogeneous group I think collected together to share ideas and pick things up from the experts. Social networking allowed me to seek a wider and more varied community. The professional and personal value of that cannot be underestimated. I know I am missing much of the discourse and certainly I have not been left with many satisfying conversations — exchanges where I feel I have been heard and other’s ideas have been adequately probed and reflected back to the person who initiated them. Yet what a richening experience it has been.

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