Chapter 3 of Howard Rheingold’s book, Net Smart speaks to participation power. We have a lot of large examples of such power and he lists several. The Arab Spring, Harry Potter fans, the organizing of groups for action are some of the examples. Rheingold also offers definitions and descriptions of blogging and explains why and how some blogs may attract others and some languish (like mine). The secret is not to just filter which is more the job of curation but to perform connections by connective writing. So this might be a slow process for me and this may not be the best time to switch to new kinds of writing and reporting. I have over 50 students in 3 courses and am working to graduate several doctoral candidates. But I think it is time to start.
Something I have interested in for quite a while is visualization. I participated in a MOOC offered by Dr. Alberto Cairo of the Knight Center for Journalism. There were 5000 participants. It was well worth all the time and effort. In fact I plan on participating in another MOOC this summer on Geomapping. What I want to say here, though, it has led me to do a lot of thinking about visual thinking and visual processing. Whether we want it or not much of our new information is coming to us in visuals and graphics and not just text and numbers. One of the reasons is that BIG DATA is very available and visualizing it may be the only way it can be understood enough to become useful for analysis and as a tool for change.