Reflecting Allowed

Maha Bali’s blog about education

Network vs community – cc #rhizo14 autoethnog

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It’s past 2 am but I am so relieved to have read a distinction between network and community that resonates with me strongly, so had to blog about it. And there’s a question for Dave Cormier here, too.

Howard Rheingold in Net Smart writes beautifully (p. 163):

“To me, the difference between an online social network and a community has to do with the quality, continuity, and degree of commitment in the relationships between members. This comes down to whether participants care about each other and are willing to act on their feelings.

This is exactly how I feel. Earlier, I used to say that the word “network” seemed colder to me than the word “community”. I think some others agree. A funnier one is that I always felt “rhizomatic learning” was warmer than connectivism… But that’s possibly because of the “community” undertones or overtones in rhizomatic learning, or maybe it’s Dave’s writing style vs, that of Downes/Siemens… I am not sure, and would like to ask Dave to comment on this. Dave, do you agree with Howard Rheingold’s understanding of community as having that affective dimension? Is it essential to what you are trying to do when you do run a rhizomatic learning experience?

I’ve written before about how emotional I am about my teaching in general, and about some of my relationships online, especially rhizo14, and that’s why it is a community for me. I see now that it is totally ok for others to see it otherwise (but hopefully not the ones I consider real friends haha).

But anyway, my point is this: reading the narratives in the rhizo14 autoethnography, and with my interest in the community building aspect of it, I might be interested to look for those nuances in varying degrees of emotion/commitment among participants. I’m guessing that those of us currently interested in working on the autoethnography and taking it further all consider ourselves part of a community (though this does not exclude some others who are also very close to us, but just not active on that aspect of things). I love you guys, by the way 🙂

That’s all for now… Thoughts?

48 Comments

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