P2P Essay of the Day: Collective Sense-Making as Negotiated Agreement

Excerpted from Harold Jarche:

“The big shift for me in the past decade has been in weaving a network that brings me diversity of opinions and depth of knowledge. I am constantly following/unfollowing on Twitter in an attempt at optimal filtering, which is an impossible but worthwhile goal. I look for experts who share their knowledge or act as human-powered content aggregators, selecting quality information and discarding the crap. I look for people who have mastered Crap Detection 101.

Knowledge in a networked society is different from what many of us grew up with in the pre-Internet days. While books and journal articles are useful in codifying what we have learnt, knowledge is becoming a negotiated agreement amongst connected people. It’s also better shared than kept to ourselves, where it may wither and die. Like electricity, knowledge is both particles and current, or stock and flow.

The increasing importance of fluid knowledge requires a different perspective on how we think of it and use it. If change is constant, then the half-life of codified knowledge (stock) decreases. We see this with the increasingly combative debates on intellectual property (IP) expressed as copyright. Both vestiges of an economy dominated by knowledge as stock. The digital world is harshly bumping against the analog world and we are caught in-between.

I think the only way to navigate this change is collaboratively. No one has the right answer, but together we can explore new models of sense-making and knowledge-sharing. We each need to find others who are sharing their knowledge flow and in turn contribute our own.This is the foundation of personal knowledge management. It’s not about being a better digital librarian, it’s about becoming a participating member of a networked society.”

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