Learning And the Fragility of the Web

Kevin Marks has a great post connecting the notion of necessary complexity with the state of the web and our willingness to throw all of our content (pics, music, text etc) into the hands of silos and walled garden social media networks:

Epeus’ epigone: The Antifragility of the Web: “If you’ve read Nasim Taleb’s Antifragile, you know what comes next. By shielding people from the complexities of the web, by removing the fragility of links, we’re actually making things worse. We’re creating a fragility debt. Suddenly, something changes – money runs out, a pivot is declared, an aquihire happens, and the pent-up fragility is resolved in a Black Swan moment.”

The latest Instagram debacle over who owns user generated pictures points to a rising tide of web users who want more than just partial ownership of what they create simply for the sake of sharing. We’ve had another system in place for over a decade now with blogs and feeds.

Of course, it’s much easier to slap a filter on a photo and upload it to Instagram or Facebook and reap the benefits of the likes and comments received rather than uploading an image to a hosted blog and going through the necessary hoops of making sure your friends are subscribed etc.

However, this complexity begets savvy users and people who understand the fragility of the web and its main currency (the link) and why a web that is open and not centralized around one corporation is worth protecting

It’s one reason that, as a teacher, I’m big on portfolios (blogs) written and curated by each student and interlinking with other student blogs. In some small way, I hope this learning process helps young people who are setting the stage for the next iteration of the social web to appreciate what it means to have an individual name space and participate in the democracy of the commons rather than just the fiefdom of Facebook.

I’m picking up Taleb’s Antifragile tomorrow (I’m back to reading dead tree editions of books for philosophical reasons but that’s for another post).

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