23 – not a lonely number when it comes to social computing

One is the loneliest number. But one isn’t the number for social computing, 23 is!

My friend Matthew posted this morning about 23 Things. It’s a program being run by the California School Library Association to, in their own words:

…encourage all of us to experiment and learn about the new and emerging technologies that are reshaping the context of information on the Internet today. The CSLA 2.0 Team modified The Learning 2.0 program designed by Helene Blowers, Technology Director, Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County and is loosely based upon Stephen Abram’s article, 43 Things I (or You) might want to do this year (Information Outlook – February 2006) and the website 43 Things. We also drew heavily from the jslibrarylearning2 program.

This strikes me as an excellent way to get people involved in using and adopting social computing practices in their work and “real” lives. I think I’ll introduce it to my current main client, The Department of Immigration and Citizenship. So, here’s to starting a meme – 23 Things and how I do it.

Lifelong learning – I barely have time to read and watch all the things I collect to build my knowledge. RSS feeds, books by the dozen, podcasts. My brain is full to overflowing!

Blogging – I blog here, and here, and here. It’s a great way to get your overcrowded brain less full of the things you can’t track. And it’s easy, just drop over to WordPress and sign up. ‘Nuf said!

Photos and Images – take a look at my Flickr photos, then start exploring. There is some amazing work here.

Using RSS – why go to all those sites every day when you can have the information from them aggregated in a single place? Google Reader is free, so sign up, and look for that little orange icon on every site you visit. Click and subscribe to the feed. No more wasting time! Don’t understand what I’m talking about? Look at this.

Play – If only I had the time to play more! The social computing world is so full of interesting things to explore, that there’s barely time. Take a look at some of the awesome mashups on ProgrammableWeb. There’s a start.

Tagging, Folksonomies & Technorati – Data wants to be free, and it wants you to define it your way. And to share those definitions – your tags. Join del.icio.us or ma.gnolia and start bookmarking and tagging. Let your friends know what you’re up to and that they should do the same. Here are my bookmarks at del.icio.us and ma.gnolia.

Wikis – I don’t contribute to Wikipedia as much as others, but I have been involved in a few efforts to get wikis up and running, and I use TiddlyWiki as a personal notebook of sorts.

Online Applications & Tools – Let’s see… Google, Upcoming, Dopplr, Tangler… plus many more.

Podcasts, Video & Downloadable Audio – I regularly consume about a dozen video or audio ‘casts. You can find thousands at the iTunes Store. There’s sure to be one that’s up your alley.

One thing to remember with all of this is that social computing is ultimately about people. People’s opinions of things. People’s likes and dislikes. And most of all, social computing allows us to connect and reconnect with people in a world where we are increasingly busy.

2 Replies to “23 – not a lonely number when it comes to social computing”

  1. The life-long learning thing puzzled me when I saw it on the 23 Things site. Librarians are big on this and many American policy-makers intertwine life-long learning with information literacy. I don’t think this approach works. And, unfortunately, like my post on the Oxford Model suggests, there are few institutions that are good at teaching people how to learn.

    Doing the ’23 Things’ won’t teach you to learn, nor will it give people skills and abilities to know how to learn. But it is a good way to introduce people to social computing. It is fun. And hopefully it will inspire a few more people to better merge play and work online, pick up a few new, cool ways of doing stuff, and understand that the web is now more about people online than it is about computers and technology.


  2. Matthew, organisations may not, generally, be terribly good at teaching people how to learn. As you know, getting to that point is very much a part of Peter Senge’s The Fifth Discipline. If more organisations adopted his approach, the ability for lifelong learning might be enhanced.

    I think what 23 Things is about in this respect is that learning and adopting social computing tools is very much about being open to new learning, especially if the world of social computing is unfamiliar to you. They may not have the execution perfect, but the intent is right.

    To my mind, that’s a highly laudable goal.

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