Managing Collective Knowledge

When reading through Howard Rheingold’s (2014) “Social-Digital Know How” in his book, “Net Smart”, I was struck by the correlation between the management of collective intelligence and the author’s previous examination of attention.

First, the author outlines various positive outcomes from collaboration superpower, the “…desire from early childhood to cooperate, to coordinate activity, and to strengthen group bonds…” (Rheingold, 2014, p.156). This innate desire has, with an infused element of gaming, produced collaborative efforts from Olympic games to political inquiry. While collaborate effort has long been instilled in human nature, it is never long-lived unless efforts are rewarded or reciprocated. This is why I

Source: VirtualSpeechCoach

Collective knowledge management will require an in-depth focus on audience wants. Source: VirtualSpeechCoach

appreciated the author’s point that skill are needed to “…participate in and instigate collective intelligence activity…” require an ability to “…create a synergy between personal knowledge management and collective knowledge management” (Rheingold, 2014, p. 160). Specifically, the author states that individuals must be able to “…connect to people and find information sources, then filter, select, and categorize information for your own purposes” (p. 160).

In light of last week’s reading, specifically the overview of an increasing demand for attention from content available online, I found this statement intriguing. As attention span diminishes and content availability increases, this vital (yet somewhat overlooked skill) will determine who succeeds in audience attention. It will also force focused messaging, meaning that some companies/organizations will need to forgo the latest platform if it isn’t inhabited by their core audience.

What do you think? Will a discipline and skill in whittling down information to serve both individual collective purposes force a forgoing of some audiences? Why or why not?

Posted on October 26, 2014, in Digital, Literacy, Social Media, Society. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I’m not sure. I submit it would depend on what motivates someone to participate in collaboration. While you touched on the fact that people like to be part of something, what is the underlying reason–is it for public accolades, to be perceived as the smartest person, to be needed, to be heard? (Turkle really wormed her way into my brain with “Alone Together”). I have a feeling your question will be addressed with different approaches many times in the future.

  2. I’m with Carolyn here. I think it will depend, but it could just mean that content creators have to develop versions of the message so twitter, YouTube, and perhaps newspaper audiences all hear the message, but in different ways. I think the offline audiences are the ones who will miss out, but it seems like that number diminishes every year.

  3. This piece is more about the value of technology in the classroom, or how to appreciate those classes that don’t rely on tech, but I thought folks might like to connect it to Rheingold:

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