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.