And yet it moves! Digital and self-organising teams with a little help from Galileo

This summer, after a lovely 2 week holiday in Tuscany, I returned to Leeds and straight into a classroom full of government senior leaders discussing agile and user-centred design. Their challenges set me thinking once more about the relationship between technology and social relations in the world of work. One well-known story from the Italy … Continue reading And yet it moves! Digital and self-organising teams with a little help from Galileo

On the way to dConstruct: a social constructionist thought for the day

A desire to put some theoretical acro props under my vague unease with the determinist narrative of so much of our technology discourse has led me to the writing of the French anthropologist Bruno Latour. His work on the social construction of science, an ethnography of the R&D lab, has a special resonance for me, … Continue reading On the way to dConstruct: a social constructionist thought for the day

When too much perspective can be a bad thing

An article by my former colleague and TEDx Leeds speaker Norman Lewis reminds me of an ingenious device imagined by Douglas Adams in the Restaurant at the End of the Universe. Yes, I know you all like a good Douglas Adams quote. First, though, listen to Norman, writing about ‘Millennials’ and Enterprise2.0 on his Futures … Continue reading When too much perspective can be a bad thing

Ten years on, can we stop worrying now?

Ten years ago this month the Sunday Times published an article by Douglas Adams called "How to Stop Worrying and Learn to Love the Internet". You can read it here. Some starting observations: It's a tragedy that Adams died, aged 49, in 2001, depriving us of more great literature in the vein of the Hitchhiker’s Guide, … Continue reading Ten years on, can we stop worrying now?

Here Comes Everybody bigger (and smaller) than ever before

Back in May I blogged about Clay Shirky's book "Here Comes Everybody". I was torn: I wanted to believe that social media could indeed make the world a better place, yet my inner history graduate protested that people are people, and have communicated and interacted for good and ill since time immemorial. In "Television may … Continue reading Here Comes Everybody bigger (and smaller) than ever before

Second verse, same as the first, a little bit louder and a little bit worse

Two recent news stories continue my theme that social media doesn't so much change people's behaviour, as expose pre-existing behaviours for all to see, often with unexpected consequences. Exhibit 1: 'Dumbest criminal' records crimes A Leeds man has been dubbed the city's "dumbest criminal" by a councillor for posting videos of anti-social behaviour on the … Continue reading Second verse, same as the first, a little bit louder and a little bit worse

Erm, excuse me, but I think Everybody was here all along

It's taken me a while (and 83 more pages of Here Comes Everybody) to understand my unease with the "technology changes everything" discourse around social media, and now to reach an alternative hypothesis. In my last post I questioned whether the advent of the internet in the place of television could, as Clay Shirky suggests, … Continue reading Erm, excuse me, but I think Everybody was here all along

Television may be the gin of the information age, but that doesn’t mean the web is pure water

The new media revolutionary in me so much wants to believe Clay Shirky's "Here Comes Everybody" hypothesis, that the web heralds a new era of mass participation, collaboration and creativity. With our mobile phones and broadband connections we remade society, so that my five-year-old son cannot conceive of a world without the web ("Daddy, if … Continue reading Television may be the gin of the information age, but that doesn’t mean the web is pure water

Note to future historians: We know it doesn’t look good, but we weren’t really shallow time-wasters in the Noughties

Greetings from 2008! I'm really pleased you've picked the Early 21st Century Social History module this term. You're going to love it. But before you dive into the wealth of primary evidence we've left on the net, there's something we need you to understand. We know it doesn't look good, but we weren't really shallow … Continue reading Note to future historians: We know it doesn’t look good, but we weren’t really shallow time-wasters in the Noughties

ШITH TШЗИTУ-FIVЗ SФLDIЗЯS ФF LЗДD HЗ HДS CФИQЦЗЯЗD THЗ ШФЯLD

Thus somebody - and nobody quite seems to know whom - said of Johannes Gutenberg. But even with the belated arrival of the "w" to make up the Latin alphabet to 26, this once mighty army now seems barely enough to log into Bebo. There are forces at work. Web-based services demand that users have … Continue reading ШITH TШЗИTУ-FIVЗ SФLDIЗЯS ФF LЗДD HЗ HДS CФИQЦЗЯЗD THЗ ШФЯLD

Social Minds – learning technology for virtual worlds

Please excuse this shameless plug for my brother's new venture, Social Minds. Back in 1997, Edmund went to work in Japan for a year. He stayed, got married, and has gained a wealth of experience in distance learning and educational technologies. Now he's taking that experience into virtual worlds, including Second Life. As his shiny … Continue reading Social Minds – learning technology for virtual worlds

Capturing the rainbow

Out shopping on an Autumn Saturday afternoon, a spectacular rainbow appeared over Islington. And on every street corner there was someone taking a picture with their cameraphone. A perfect example of how convergent technologies create brand new behaviours, as well as enhancing existing ones. Most of those people taking pictures probably didn't explicitly choose a … Continue reading Capturing the rainbow

The private life of a digital camera

Flickr etiquette is a tricky thing. For starters I have to pigeonhole the tangled web of people-with-whom-I-share-photos into "family", "friends" and that wonderful catch-all "contacts" (maybe we should all be using a Cold War-style dead letter box in Regent's Park?) But that's nothing to the almost daily dilemma of how to share each photo I … Continue reading The private life of a digital camera