Another dot in the blogosphere?

Posts Tagged ‘little

Yesterday I rambled on why too much of a good thing is bad. Today I reflect on why too little of a good thing is also bad.

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Unlike mine, Steve Wheeler’s blog is always a quality read. That is why it is one of my must-have RSS feeds.

Using RSS is a bit old school. So is taking the trouble to comment on a blog entry.

Wheeler recently shared the number of views and comments his top five blog entries of 2014 generated.

I calculated the percentage of commenters over viewers to illustrate how rarely people bother to comment or reply.

  • No. 1: Learning first, technology second, 22 comments, 8602 views (0.26% comments)
  • No. 2: Flipping the teacher, 16 comments, 6082 views (0.26% comments)
  • No. 3: Education, schooling and the digital age, 07 comments, 5872 views (0.12% comments)
  • No. 4: Watch and learn, 00 comments, 5688 views (0% comments)
  • No. 5: Vygotsky, Piaget and YouTube, 20 comments, 5586 views (0.36% comments)

Perhaps a decade ago, an edublogger might be fortunate to get one out of a hundred readers to say something. Now an edublogger with a large following might settle for one in a thousand.

A few caveats to the numbers.

  • The number of comments might include Wheeler’s own replies, so the number of commenters might actually be lower.
  • The low percentages are also exacerbated by the high number of views. If the top post garnered 860 views (one-tenth of the actual readership), the percentage would shoot up to 2.6%.
  • Comments and conversations on the blog entries on other channels (Twitter, Facebook, email, etc.) might not have been included.

This illustration is with just one anecdotal case. But I think I have selected a good example of the phenomenon I am highlighting.

This is not a slight on Wheeler not drawing comments because most edubloggers do not write specifically for views or comments. They share because they care.

This is about readers and lurkers who do not give back by critiquing ideas. This is about taking ideas and running away with them without saying thank you. This is about a culture of mute consumerism.

Too little of good things like online civility, connections, and content co-creation are bad. So here is another thought: How well do cyber “wellness” programmes address that?

Here is my take on the oft-quoted saying “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.”

This is a phrase favoured by politicians and teachers who want to control the flow of information. My guess they say this in order to feel that they are in charge.

If people knew as much as they did, there would be wide-spread panic (in the case of politicians) or their jobs would be redundant (in the case of teachers).

Maybe there is case for not knowing everything all of the time.

But not knowing enough in a timely manner is hazardous to our health. Little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

With the record-breaking haze levels hitting Singapore last week, I found out as much as I could about things like PSI and PM2.5.

There are still lots of apps, particularly in the Android store, that report only the PSI levels when the PM2.5 levels are actually more important.

What this means is that the general public is lulled into a false sense of security if PSI drops but PM2.5 remains high.

I am not just talking about the uninformed. I am referring to the misinformed.

Our authorities publish both the PSI and PM2.5 levels. But PSI seems prioritized (for news reports and executive decisions) and people are not told exactly what to do with PM2.5 readings.

Our press has not been particularly informative about PM2.5 but there is a slew of information online in the form of research (Google it critically!), standards from the World Health Organization, and other air pollution reporting agencies.

What is dangerous is not knowing enough. Equally dangerous is having little information that is inaccurate and acting on it. So I am still educating myself on these hazey concepts.

Nowadays what is our excuse for living with little knowledge? What is our excuse for preventing learners from knowing and knowing enough?

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