The Strength of Weak Ties

Everyone participates. Everyone contributes. Leveraging the power of digital networks to connect people, resources and ideas to drive creativity and innovation forward...and actually accomplish something!

Sunday, December 31, 2006

On The Outside Looking In

A murder of crows. An army of ants. A chain of bobolink. A sedge of crane. A pod of dolphin. A flight of dove. A seige of heron. A band of Jay. A bask of crocodiles. A wisdom of owl. And my favorite-a bloat of hippopotamus.

These are all groups.

In the natural world, organisms have a tendency to group together for a variety of reasons. By grouping, organisms reduce the likelihood that any single individual will fall to predation. Grouping can streamline movements (think a flight of Canada geese, a school of fishes), and yes, improve communication. Grouping is natural and pervasive. It’s the way things work.

And there are groups all over the blogosphere.

The blog is one, so is the group over at the Infinite Thinking Machine.

Those of you that have read blogs for a while will recognize these names. Stephen. Will. Miguel. Wes. David, Clarence, Dean, Darren, Vicky, George, Bud. You know who they are without even me adding last names, don’t you? Would you consider these people a group? I would-this group is composed of very influential and knowledgeable people who have much to say, good things to say.

Groups can be formal, or informal, recognized by all or by a few...

Would you say any of these groupings limit anything? Any conversation-anything? The answer is no.

So here comes poor Christopher Craft with his notion of Next Generation Teachers. As you might expect, the notion of a group of educators 30 and under forming to discuss issues and providing leadership is met with some questions (read the rich dialogue in the comments section of this post), and even some pushback from Miguel, who offers this:

In the blogosphere, those who isolate themselves from the communion of bloggers ARE in hell.


Chris asks:

If this is going to work, why can’t it work easily? Is it really necessary to have all the discussion and back and forth we’ve had? Can’t we just put out a call for young teachers to come together and talk about what we’re doing in the hopes of connecting people?

Welcome to the blogosphere, Chris.

Why can’t this happen easily? Why can’t this happen without the discussion?

Welcome to the blogosphere, Chris where NOTHING happens unless it is discussed ad nauseum first.

Can’t you just ask the young teachers to get together and talk?

YES. Yes, you can, and you don’t need anyone’s permission. So do it, and don’t worry about what anyone says. Stop watching YouTube videos of preaching from on-high, and just think for yourself. It’s obvious from your posts that you’re capable. There are really no rules in all of this in spite what everyone wants to jam down your throat, so no blogospheric police will arrive to arrest you and put you in the blogospheric jail.

So, get started and have your say. Good luck to you and your group.

Technorati tags: nextgenteachers


  • At 4:30 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...


    I cannot thank you enough. I am sure it is clear that I am new to the blogosphere, and to hear words of support from you (I've been lurking on your blog for some time now) means a lot. Thank you so much! I will keep you posted on the progress!


    Chris Craft

  • At 4:34 PM , Blogger David said...

    Wow, that was quick. I get frustrated many times myself with "the way it is supposed to work." Basically, you are trying to get more people involved and experience this. And that's good.

    Again, good luck.

  • At 5:28 PM , Blogger David said...

    ...and keep me posted.

  • At 11:19 PM , Blogger Miguel Guhlin (@mGuhlin) said...

    I agree with your conclusion, if not the callous disregard for the hot air of my post. "Whatever!"

    in truth, I find people pigeon-holing my blog into A-list or B-list or whatever, telling me that I'm excluding people because I offer my opinion in a forum completely capable of handling those opinions in quantities that ARE a sure sign of hypocrisy and narrow-minded elitism.

    That said, I encourage Chris to do whatever the heck he wants and to make big tracks on the land, even as he learns to live in harmony with it...if not the other settlers.

    Why say in a few words what can be said in 5x that?


  • At 4:51 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    David, I have to respectfully disagree with some of your points. I don't read here enough to know if you're are being flippant or puzzled but for me, "Welcome to the blogosphere, Chris where NOTHING happens unless it is discussed ad nauseum first." is not the way I see it. Sometimes, the biggest barriers to common understanding are the definitions we use and the lengthy discussions that take place in the edublogosphere are about making sense of new concepts and new ideas. This conversation, for me, is one of the biggest appeals of the edublogosphere. My ideas can be challenged, new ideas and meanings can be proposed and debated, and then I can emerge with something better than I could have constructed on my own. What you refer to as "preaching from on-high", I see as just another person contributing what they think to the conversation. You're right - it's not a script to follow but the ideas are just as valid as anyone's. Anyone anywhere is certainly entitled to start up their own groups without seeking approval from anyone else, but I reckon the conversation about groups and networks is one worth having because I'm not convinced that the traditional dictionary definitions can cover what the edublogosphere can offer.

  • At 10:02 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    What Chris is clearly capable of doing -- from reading the high quality of his writing -- is not in question. Being agile with words and blogging passionately will take you far.

    Setting up a network to align similar thinkers is also a good instinct of both common sense and being entrepreneurial. Both have opportunity in the blogosphere.

    As for getting traction? Heck, that's not unique to the edu-bloggers (A or Z or no list at all). That's common sense and the way the bigger world works.

    With NO disrespect meant, those that entered the blogging waters first built a presence, a brand, a reputation faster. And because they had more time to develop their style and network and niche, they therefore have become 'first-name only' bloggers. And ultimately, their posts get read by more and linked to by more and frankly used as filters more. That's the "Law of Jump in the Pool First and Often" (Newton's 4th law, I think).

    So, worry not about the 'filter' of who gets to do what or say what in the edu-blogosphere (which is a theory, since everyone is linking to everyone, or its just an echo-chamber). Write often. Write passionately. Link often. Link passionately. And don't worry who shows up.

    BTW, if you can get traction 'outside' of your niche/industry/speciality, then you're doing something noticeable in the blogosphere. If you're only being noticed by the same people you'd run into the proverbial teachers lounge, then that has value, but it doesn't require a lot of analysis or blog stat semantics. If that matters at all.

    People show up because of accident, recommendations, accident, and following the blog link breadcrumbs.

    The only thing that matters (if it does) is if they come back.

    And if this is your concern or interest, than quality, quantity, and passion will keep your boat moving.

    Oh, and hanging out with A-listers (he smirks).

    One final BTW, Chris, I'm not a NextGen teacher, but I'll be checking in. Looking forward to your evolution and conversation.

    David, great analysis. Miguel, great provocation. Graham, great re-direct. Chris, great spark. All of you have pushed my brain a bit further out on the limb today...and for that, thanks!


  • At 10:44 AM , Blogger David said...

    Well said. Your insights are straight forward, intriguing, and thought-provoking...

    Thanks for the comment, David

  • At 10:18 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    David -- Really wanted to thank you for taking time to read my draft of the 'future of learning' manifesto, as well as leaving a comment that was so positive. A very rough draft fueled by coffee one early morning, but I'm pleased it had some resonance for you. And I once again really appreciated the way you worked with Chris' questions/ideas in this comment stream. Simply great stuff!


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