Following the Cow Paths in Germany
Last week I had the pleasure to do a little 'German tour' speaking in Stuttgart and in Bonn. In Stuttgart I told a similar story as I did earlier this year in Vienna on the European Distance and E-learning Network conference (EDEN), about how our SME was introduced to social software (by me in early 2004) and how slowly the tools as well as the design notions behind them found their way into our working routines and into our professional vision towards dealing with the collecting, processing and sharing of information in an increasingly networked world of complex knowledge work. The presentation seemed to go over pretty well, even though in the beginning I raced through it at too high speed. After me Karsten Ehms of Siemens recounted, as he did at EDEN, his story of how internal blogging has become available to all 450.000 Siemens employees world wide. It is always good to meet Karsten, and for the second time it proved very interesting to contrast my story from an SME background with his story from a large international corporate background.
After Stuttgart I made a bit of a detour towards Bonn, staying over in Nürnberg at Sebastian Fiedler's place, before travelling up north together. During the pleasant train ride, through the hills of Franconia, and on the fall foliage covered banks of the Rhine we prepared the ProWalk workshop we were to host at the 2nd International Media Informatics Symposium. There I also met up with Marc Smith again, of Microsoft Research. We dubbed our workshop ProWalk because we wanted to more or less use the BlogWalk format, but then in a more professional setting, and as part of the ProLearn EU-project. The subtitle of the conference was CowPaths: Agency in Social Software, and was a good choice I think. It emphasizes the bottom-up nature of the effects Social Software has, and how it builds on our actual behaviour in stead of our planning.
Even though the workshop attracted only a small number of people, it was a very interesting session. With almost as much nationalities as participants and diverse backgrounds, the discussion stayed rich in perspectives. It also was a good opportunity to notice that Sebastian and I work very well together in such a setting. I already knew that from our BlogWalk series, but this of course was a bit different in context. Something to try and do more often. Rumour has it there might be a chance to do a next installment of the ProWalk in Spain. If that happens we will reintroduce the walk-part, which we left out in Bonn due to time constraints. Impressions and transcriptions of the session can be found in the BlogWalk wiki-space under ProWalk Bonn. There you will also find a few links to the other participants and their reflection on the session.
Windows wiki by Sebastian
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Workshops, work and shopping
Just like the way all non-standard conference formats seem to be called Open Space nowadays, how come all sessions that take place in a smaller setting, away from the main conference room are called workshop? Where in reality in those workshops, only the person up front is working, and the rest is shopping (quoting Sebastian Fiedler)
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Collective Action, Not Community
Marc Smith (Microsoft Research) on the word community, during the opening key-note at 2nd International Symposium in Media Informatics:
... let's shelve the word 'community' and use and study the term collective action instead.
There are over 150 definitions of community by social scientists. If we (the social scientists) are not able to decide what it is, maybe everybody else should not be using the word either...
I like the focus on collective action. It echos the gist of my working definition of knowledge: the ability to act.
I like the subtitle of this conference: Cowpaths, agency in social software. Cowpaths has the right ring for me, it connects to my notion of how social software helps you create and follow traces that coalesce into patterns to help you navigate the information abundance we find ourselves in in this digital age.
[UPDATE] Interestingly enough Marc's group is called the Microsoft ResearchCommunity Technology Group as Sebastian Fiedler just pointed out to me :)2 Comments and 0 Trackbacks | Permalink
Cow Paths: Agency in Social Software
2nd International Symposium in Media Informatics - "Cow Paths: Agency in
Social Software" - November 16-17, 2006, B-IT, Bonn, Germany
Social software - often connected to older forms of computer mediated
communication (CMC) and newer discussion about online communities - can
be defined as software that supports activities in digital social
networks. The use of new digital media tools such as blogs, wikis,
tagging and other communicative or multimedia assets create new
challenges for interdisciplinary research in media informatics.
* What are the effects when media get agency in digital networks?
* How can we trace and understand collective processes on the internet?
* What is the role of visualisation?
* What is the role of social software on change processes in organisations?
* Are there new models of labour, new processes and new forms of organisations possible?
* Will users be empowered or will lack of data protection and privacy set free new genies?
* What is the impact of tools supporting social structures on the emancipation and appropriation?
* Which are the impacts on design and media?
* Will they help facilitating new forms of democracy, digital rights, and overcome the digital divide?
* Or will the hunt for digital reputation lead to cow paths where only cows walk by?
The second international symposium on perspectives in media informatics is
organized jointly by the two leading collaborative research centres for
media Media and cultural communication and Medienumbrueche, the
Bonn-Aachen International Center for Information Technology B-IT, and
the Network of Excellence on technology enhanced professional learning
PROLEARN. It brings together researchers and practitioners from media
informatics, sociology, ANT, law, media theory, social software,
collaborative work and learning, to discuss current trends and emergent
issues of sociality in digital networks in a mixture of invited talks
and round table events. The event will be accompanied by online
activities and practical exercises in social software.
Ralf Klamma (RWTH Aachen University, SFB/FK 427)
Volker Wulf (University of Siegen, Fraunhofer FIT, SFB/FK 615)
Erika Linz (B-IT Bonn)
Marc Spaniol (RWTH Aachen University, SFB/FK 427)
Michael Veith (University of Siegen, SFB/FK 615)
Reinhard Linde (RWTH Aachen University)
Also looking forward to meeting Marc Smith of Microsoft Research there again.0 Comments and 0 Trackbacks | Permalink
Professional Training Facts 2006
Next Wednesday morning I will speak at the Professional Training Facts 2006 meeting in Stuttgart Germany, on the invitation of Ralf Klamma.
Embedding training into business and work processes
In many organisations and companies training and learning offers do not fit to personal, situational and business needs. Often trainings and courses are offered too late for changes in business processes or they are not aligned with the needs of the employees. From this it follows that the planning and executing of learning processes is not connected with the business processes and business information systems. In consequence such training offers have a lack of acceptance because they are not enabling the employees to fulfil their tasks in the business process.
Fortunately, information and communication technologies are not only the cause for qualification and training needs but also support it. In future people and organisations will be more competitive by reducing the time to fill competency gaps and to build skills according to the business needs and the daily work processes. The time gap between identification of a learning need and the appropriate training should become smaller.
The international Professional Training Facts 2006 conference will demonstrate how information and communication technologies are already used for professional training and give foresights and forecasts for upcoming IT solutions in this area.
The conference will focus on the issue of requirements, challenges, solutions, and experiences in the area of professional training.0 Comments and 0 Trackbacks | Permalink