This is another post I’ve had in my “drafts” for quite a while. I had actually skim read it this afternoon, as the title that was picked up was just the website name … so “How to save the world”.
In this particular post, Dave Pollard looks at the whole range of dynamics of social networking. I’ve just had a group of students discussing the role of blogs in learning – we’ve considered several aspects – that of community development, of knowledge sharing, and of personal growth; and how they may, or may not overlap.
One point that one student made was in relation to the purpose of the blog, and whether it was inclusive or exclusive. He was, I think, very much echoing the point that Pollard makes when he cites Snowden:
Dave argues that informal, self-selected, self-organized networks tend to be more effective than formal networks, for various reasons such as greater trust and less hierarchy.
He goes on to list a number of points, in particular
some constraints on the formation and membership to prevent it becoming uselessly elitist, hopelessly conflicted, an echo chamber, or unwieldy (Dave says the ‘natural limit’ of a network is 15)
I think that I’d agree with him – once you start to get too many people, it stops really being a socially oriented community, it starts to become a knowledge sharing community. While individuals may join for what they can get from the community, the ability to support others becomes much more difficult as the community grows.
It could also be that around 15 is a good size to start to limit discussion groups in online classes etc., to ensure that students can really get to know one another.