Kumbaya, bah!

by Jay Cross on January 5, 2007


Kick-ass* Kathy Sierra on community (and the “Dumbness of Crowds”):

One of the high-profile concepts of the Web 2.0 meme is community. Giving community the control. Letting the community make decisions. Trusting the community. And–if you’re a lucky bubble-2.0er–letting the community do all the work while you collect the money. But this idea of consensus-community is not at all what I’ve heard Tim O’Reilly talk about when he uses the phrase, “harnessing collective intelligence” or when he describes Web 2.0 as something whose value to users grows with the number of users.

It’s the sharp edges, gaps, and differences in individual knowledge that make the wisdom of crowds work, yet the trendy (and misinterpreted) vision of Web 2.0 is just the opposite–get us all collborating and communicating and conversing all together as one big happy collborating, communicating, conversing thing until our individual differences become superficial.

*Kick-ass is a passionate user’s compliment.


Our new Informal Learning Corner has just allied with Social Media Club to explore the synergy of unconferencing and informal learning. The Club’s rallying cry:

*If you get it, share it*

Hmmmm, get what? Well, the simple explanation of our tag line is that if you understand social media, share your understanding with others. Don’t just horde it all to yourself as if we still lived in a world where keeping knowledge within a given SILO was the smart thing to do. Help yourself grow your reputation, your influence and your expertise by sharing what you know with others.


Creative friction is good for you.

You can never learn something you already know. Learning means changing your mind. It entails forging new neural connections. It happens when you encounter something that doesn’t fit your mind’s frameworks and pigeonholes. Your learning goes into overdrive when you are really ticked off.

Taking risks or traveling outside your comfort zone are powerful ways to learn. I think it was Malcolm Forbes who said that if two partners agree on everything, one of them is not necessary. If there’s no friction in sex, you don’t feel anything.

I hereby give you permission to challenge other people’s ways of thinking. Learning will emerge. It’s good for both parties.

The whole point of Unconferencing is to enable people to speak their minds. It beats death by PowerPoint. Opposites create.

Some people avoid conflict. They are called slow learners. Send them here if you need to quote an authority.

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