The internet is a swamp full of gold. It is the patterns of connections among the bits of gold that cause dross to float away and allow us to connect to refined and authenticated meaning. As I wrote in my last post: The fabulous adventures ahead for educators are to understand and make findable what Stuart Kauffman calls the “ceaselessly, co-constructing creativity” that describes the emergence.
The image above is derived from the actual internet swamp; it shows only a tiny portion of its complexity. To make the image I took a 400 pixel square from the Los Alamos Map of Science, a 400 pixel square from a Berkman Center mapping of Iran’s public blogs — and superimposed these two bits of networks. The science map depicts ideas interconnecting and the Iran map depicts points of persons connecting to the internet. (The Iran map does not depict the interconnections among the blogs, which are profuse in reality.)
A crucial key for educators to master and employ into the future is that the two kinds of swamp stuff these maps focus on interact to select and vet what forms the emergent patterns. If the blogging depicted were among chemists and their pattern of interaction included linking to some of the chemistry webpages in the science map, those webpages would get “link love” and get boosted on the findable scale for search engines.
Education is arriving late on the scene for appreciating the tools of online emergence. Suddenly now, the politicians are all over it. I wrote this post after reading Micah Sifry’s post today at Personal Democracy Forum titled Needed: Better Tools and Data for Understanding Social Media’s Role in #IranElection.
As chemists and historians and linguists and other literati twitter, blog, and link among themselves and with content pages they respect, they too cause useful, meaningful, golden patterns to emerge in the internet swamp.