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The Dichotomy Between Social Networks and Education by Brian Solis

The Dichotomy Between Social Networks and Education by Brian Solis

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Published by Brian Solis
Recently, I discussed the validity of whether or not social networking (the verb) and social networks (as a noun) were impairing our ability to learn. A Stanford study suggested that this might be the case.
Recently, I discussed the validity of whether or not social networking (the verb) and social networks (as a noun) were impairing our ability to learn. A Stanford study suggested that this might be the case.

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Published by: Brian Solis on Sep 16, 2009
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01/23/2010

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The Dichotomy Between Social Networks andEducation
By Brian Solis, blogger at  PR 2.0  and principal of FutureWorksPR, Co- Author Putting the Public Back in Public Relationsand Now Is Gone
Einstein Chalkboard:SourceRecently,Idiscussedthe validity of whether or not social networking (the verb) and social networks (as a noun) were impairing our ability to learn. AStanford studysuggested that this might be thecase.It seems that the initial research and its supporting data is now emerging to help us further analyzewhether or not this is indeed true or merely hypotheses based on the various samplings of individuals who may or may not serve as relevant subjects.I do believe that we are becoming an increasingly social society. It could very well be the era of introversion to extroversion. With this evolution and transformation, we’re concurrently subject to agreater set of distractions. And as such, we are sidetracked by choice and free will. But, as this is thedawn of the great attention economy, and new tools such as PeopleBrowsr, Seesmic, CoTweet,Facebook, and TweetDeck become our attention dashboards, those of us active in the real-time Webmust experience an evaporation of attention span and our ability to digest and respond to everythingthat moves us.
(cc) Brian Solis,www.briansolis.com- Twitter, @briansolis
 
I call this the Attention Rubicon, the acceptance that our appetite for information has passed thepoint of no return. And, therefore we must concentrate energies on innovation and inventiveness,technologically and psychologically, to effectively process and parse data and in turn shift itsmomentum behind our online persona to earn equity online and offline. Embracing this AttentionRubicon and investing in our ability to learn, share, and contribute is how we will thrive in today’sattention economy.If Social Media is a milestone in the evolution of literacy, is the evaporation of attention a form of regression? Or is it possible that that not everything faces a dichotomy?The cultures and behavior that define each social network and ensuing activity is not only uniqueacross the social Web, its affects and impacts our interaction within each as well as our interactionIRL (in real life).Linda Stone offers a solution to this dilemma and she refers to it asContinuous Partial Attention.Continuous partial attention describes how many of us use our attention today. It is different frommulti-tasking. The two are differentiated by the impulse that motivates them. When we multi-task, weare motivated by a desire to be more productive and more efficient. We’re often doing things that areautomatic, that require very little cognitive processing. We give the same priority to much of what wedo when we multi-task — we file and copy papers, talk on the phone, eat lunch — we get as manythings done at one time as we possibly can in order to make more time for ourselves and in order tobe more efficient and more productive.To pay continuous partial attention is to pay partial attention — CONTINUOUSLY. It is motivated by adesire to be a LIVE node on the network.According to new research conducted by psychologist Dr. Tracy Alloway at the University of Stirlingin Scotland, we’re not only facing an increasingly thinning state of focus and awareness, we’re either enhancing intelligence or actually diminishing it based on the networks in which we participate. Andher findings just might surprise you…Dr. Alloway is an expert in working memory, the ability both to remember information and to useit.and she believes that it is far more important to success and happiness than our IQ. Workingmemory involves the ability both to remember information and to use it. While her research included
(cc) Brian Solis,www.briansolis.com- Twitter, @briansolis
 
games as well as social networks, her discovery ultimately positions Facebook and Twitter onopposite axis.Playing strategy games and solving Sudoku offers the same effect as engaging in Facebookaccording to Dr. Alloway and thus strengthens working memory. Whereas instant, rapid-fire servicessuch as Twitter weaken it. In an interview with the Telegraph, Dr. Alloway warned, ‘Your attention span is being reduced and you’re not engaging your brain and improving nerve connections.”In Facebook users manage past activity and in turn map next steps and future actions, whichexercises working memory. On the contrary, Twitter and YouTube and other real-time activitystreams and networks impede working memory and therefore hinder our ability to retain relevantinsight and knowledgeIn the Telegraph, Dr. Alloway observed, ”On Twitter you receive an endless stream of information,but it’s also very succinct. You don’t have to process that information.”Whether its intentional or merely a by product of innovation, Twitter and Facebook are indeed onacollision courseas each vie for not only your attention, but also to host your Social OS, relevant applications, and your social graph. Our attention is many incredible and wonderful things that allowus to observe, learn, appreciate, and respond. What it is not however, is endlessly scalable.
(cc) Brian Solis,www.briansolis.com- Twitter, @briansolis

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