The wierdness of networks #CCK11

The oddities of networks: Just when I come up with a policy to free myself from clutches of the net the human side emerges from the tangle to remind me of the power of kindness over dogmatic statement. How can an abstraction (as the net felt yesterday to me) respond in such a “sympathetic” (as in empathic) way? Does the network somehow resolve itself into a useful reply by force of number? Or is the vastness of the resource, by density itself, able to spawn a few kindness particles almost spontaneously? And if the net is merely an enormousness of stuff, why not an anti-kindness particle?

So a new mystery appears here in the form of a bias towards helpfulness? But that pushes us towards re-abstraction by giving the net intention where none exists. Instead, I’d propose a more human explanation. A particular message released into the net attracts a particular response—a resonance.

My impression is this isn’t a network phenomenon though. Instead it involves many individual listeners hearing something that brings out a response in them strong enough to be expressed. This is CONTACT? Contact made more likely by the sized of the listening population. And it is size we mistake for network when really it’s more like a collection of like-minded individuals than a collective soup of good intentions rendered down to form a network.

It might be that the higher concepts of networks are beyond me. Or I understand them through different terms and images. I generally accept things that work without always insisting they explain themselves to my satisfaction. I could accept the idea of a group growing so large there was no way to grasp it with our normal tools of perception thus forcing a new set of terms and understandings into play. Maybe that’s it? A soccer team with, say, 20 players on the field at a time can function by player experience and minimal coaching. A Massively Open On-field Soccer Extravaganza (MOOSE) with hundreds of players would need theory and probability just to know where the ball was. Deciding on who gets to be coach could generate a few PHD’s and chair 3 departments. Scale changing the way we need to understand.

Regardless of all this, I take it as wise advice to be balanced in my views on this damned network stuff. In the real world a fellow worker apologized to me today for being rude to another fellow worker in front of me that I was reported to have told the boss about. I’m not even officially part of this 7 person team, stay mostly quiet, work in a separate office, wasn’t even present when the alleged rudeness incident occurred and never rat people out anyway. But the forces of political evil are beyond my powers to resist and I feel the urge to theorize that rudeness unwittnessed and unreported can, nonetheless, be brought to manifestation by the powers of misunderstanding alone and something like connectivism is but chicken feed by comparison. Have I fallen into the bad side of connectivism here? Knowledge corrupted by distribution?

Last observation. It’s been mentioned that networks tend to be “flat” or without the “textures” of direct human contact as above. Anyone understand what this means?


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