During yesterday’s meeting for Greg Wilson‘s CSC2125S course (“the consulting course”), the issue was raised of students using social media (blogs, twitter etc) to communicate their projects, research and academic life in general. As Carolyn put it:
Today’s lecture in Greg’s consulting course involved a couple visitors talking about working in start-ups. They were shocked, shocked, that we didn’t all have active blogs.
They were right to be shocked. Academia is the “business” of ideas, and ideas are things that are socially constructed and propagated. That is why there is all the fuss about conferences, journals etc. Yes, admittedly, our trade has been somewhat corrupted by elevating the act of publishing to a goal in itself, but in its conception, publishing is essentially an act of communication, of building and sustaining a community of peers. Ideas are born in a community. If I were to describe the process in a single word, I’d just say “pollination”.
In this Age of Information Revolution, weblogs and tumblogs and microblogs and whatnot are the means to go beyond traditional modes and in a sense it is professionally “criminal” to forgo this opportunity. That’s why I understand the shock of our guest speakers. However, when taken individually, blogs are not a community. What is needed is a common space, an “agora” for the flow of ideas to manifest itself. Hopefully, the building of the agora can amplify the flow of ideas, increase the “rate of pollination” and consolidate the community. The opening of a common social space also gives an audience to those that would otherwise go unnoticed and, for newcomers (like me), the agora is always a helpful place to try to understand and become integrated with the rest of the community.
Wow, that’s a load of fat rhetoric up there.
Well, OK, I got a bit carried away. Anyway, the whole point is to announce that I just set up an aggregator for blogs by DCS grads and faculty.
More technical information to come soon.