Updated: 12/4/2006; 12:17:59 PM.

Mathemagenic


on personal productivity in knowledge-intensive environments, weblog research, knowledge management, PhD, serendipity and lack of work-life balance...
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  Wednesday, November 22, 2006


  Non-linear writing

One day I should look more into learning/thinking styles to understand myself better. As for now I'm just struggling with parallel processing.

Some people are linear writers - they start with introduction and write all the way to the conclusion. I'm not like that: I start somewhere, jump all over the place adding things here and there till the whole thing emerges. My early drafts are never readable since no one else can see the logic in those bits and pieces.

Long time ago I wrote about PhD as jigsaw puzzle. It's still there, not only methodology-wise, but also writing-wise: not only I jump back and forth between parts of the same paper, my brain also jumps wanting to write pieces of dissertation chapters before I have an agreed structure of what should be there.

Blogging helps with getting small pieces out of the way to focus on things I have to focus on, but not sure it will scale for the dissertation... On the other side I probably shouldn't worry - who knows if my brain will get rewired with all the changes to come :)

Back to writing.

More on: PhD writing 

  Open issues for research/thinking on communities

Had a pleasure to talk with Nancy on her work on technologies for communities. Some things are still hanging out in my head, so I guess I just write them here to move on.

Open issues for research/thinking on communities (communities of practice; KM perspective).

Definitions. Ton cites Marc Smith:

... 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 agree with both that there are no good definitions and I like 'collective action' as a term, but I think it doesn't work if you want to talk about specifics. It could include anything between a loosely coupled network, a community with shared language and practice or a project group with tight deliverables and deadlines. The boundaries between those are fluid, but they (at least in the extremes) are different in many respects (e.g. relational density, levels of trust, shared understanding, goal-orientedness, etc.)

Bottom-up evolution vs. top-down control in supporting communities. See the discussion at Dave Snowden's blog.

Personal vs. social in community tools. Most of the community tools are group-focused (although Nancy is right, it's getting more and more blurred). However, many of us are members of multiple communities and have to deal with different group tool configurations for all of them. Technology-wise I'd love to see more work on something like personal learnining environments (slides with more) for networking and collaboration: a toolset that would allow me to participate in different social spaces without learning yet another interface.

Aggregation of digital traces and social effects of those. Digital traces we leave eventually get aggregated and fed back to the social spaces we participate in or to some members of those (think of a community moderator who has access to stats on your activity in a community). They change knowledge we have about each other and eventually change the dynamics of our relationships and interactions (think of gaming the ratings or effects of metrics to measure community things in a corporate context). This is going to be bigger and scarier (at least for those people like me :), so we need to know more about it.


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© Copyright 2002-2006 Lilia Efimova.

This weblog is my learning diary. Sometimes I write about things related to my work, but the views expressed here are personal and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer.

 
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