Hitting A Drum & Object-Centred Sociality

I just watched a beautiful video featuring people aged one through one-hundred hitting a drum. (via BoingBoing)

I have been thinking a lot lately about the concept of “object-centered sociality”, coined by Jyri Engeström in 2005. Engeström’s ideas helps to explain in part the success of social sharing websites like Flickr (photos), Delicious (bookmarks) and many others.

Approaching sociality as object-centered is to suggest that when it becomes easy to create digital instances of the object, the online services for networking on, through, and around that object will emerge too. Social network theory fails to recognise such real-world dynamics because its notion of sociality is limited to just people.

I think this video could act as a metaphor for this notion, the idea that people from different backgrounds, of different ages, are drawn together by an object, in this case a drum. This is a very powerful idea, yet one that may be foreign to those not familiar with networked learning. This video could be used as a tool to help clarify the concept.

What do you think? Other real-world examples?

Update: It was brought to my attention by others included Stephen that the drum is really not the centre of this community, and people are not drawn by it in any real way. After thinking about this just a little more, I have to agree. I guess I saw the video, and saw an opportunity for a metaphor but didn’t analyze it closely enough. Others did.

At the very least, enjoy the video. I did.

8 thoughts on “Hitting A Drum & Object-Centred Sociality

  1. I wish my comment was more about your thesis here, but instead it’s just to thank you for pointing to this video which I’d not seen before. I love watching people bang drums, because I think it is an incredibly existentially revealing act. Coupling that with the progress through the years…just profound. So thanks.

  2. Pingback: 益学会 > OLDaily 中文版 » Blog Archive » 2008å¹´1月11日:75美元笔记本,物件社区,学术出版,社会性媒介,Facebook,女教育博客

  3. The drum is not the object, in this case, the video is. 85,000+ people have migrated to the video. The people in the video were not drawn to the drum, they were drawn to the opportunity to be in the video, whether financial or otherwise. I suspect most of the people playing the drum never met. I do think it is a beautiful video, aside from the drum tuning driving me crazy!

  4. I have a few examples for you.

    Talking Stick: http://www.reenchantplanetearth.com/AboutTheeTalkingStick.htm

    Many mathematical objects become social objects, such as “nerd codes” on slashdot, or uses of binary numbers, or Fibonacci sequence.

    Tails or ears are used by furries to recognize other furries and to connect, especially in places such as Second Life (if you don’t know, you may not want to know). But in general, costumes and costume styles are social objects – the weirder they are, the tighter the community, but it’s a general rule about group interests.

    Bikes and skate boards are social objects for kids. Speaking of kids, pets and virtual pets (Neopets, Pokemon, Webkinz) are strong social objects. When we foster kittens, we see kids aggregate at the house much more than normal.

Comments are closed.