The Selfish Node

Simple problem I think applies to connectivism.

The power of a network resides in the product of interactions between “nodes”, which is a real and measurable thing. Power in life is based partly on how well you play with others, but recognition, and goodies are awarded on products directly tagged to you or your small team.

So if I go to so-and-sos blog, encounter an idea triggering comment and am inspired with a fabulous insight do I: a) be loyal to the spirit of the network  to increase the knowledge base and respond right there at their blog? OR b) do I run back to my blog and publish for the greater glory of myself?

If I hold to the value of the net to continue producing great ideas then the answer is “a”. Reality for most people though is recognition and rewards go to unambiguous originators. Who here is rewarded for contributing to the greater good?


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  • leahgrrl  On February 7, 2011 at 1:43 PM

    Hi Scott,

    I love this post.

    What do you think is the “reward”? I know, I know–if we were Martin Luther King, Jr., or Mother Theresa the reward *would* be the “greater good,” doing the good work that helps the world with little regard for our own needs. Unfortunately, I haven’t achieved bodhisattva yet.

    For the reward: Are you thinking: fame, fortune, a place on the Huffington Post? A better or different job? Being tweeted and quoted X number of times in the blogosphere?

    Be well.

    • scottx5  On February 7, 2011 at 3:46 PM

      My quick response to our reward question would be recognition of legitimate membership in the academic environment. In the context of that environment being in this class has career rewards, but only if I can deliver “proof” of participation.

      In the more important network of my whole life any reply I make anywhere is sufficient to prove participation and engagement. Maybe I suffer from some sort multiple network disorder by not integrating all my connections into a single value system?

      More Later


      • scottx5  On February 8, 2011 at 2:23 AM

        More on rewards. I work in an academic environment where verified qualifications are the key to a decent paycheck. This is not uncommon and was the same in the building trades where I do have verified qualifications–though no interest in anymore.

        I do have hundreds of hours academic credits spread over may areas of study from an insatiable curiosity. I virtually sparkle with life-long-learning radiance such that special goggles are mandatory in my presence. Unfortunately, talk though they will, academics recognize only parchment from other academics as qualification to wade in their pool and thems I don’t got.

        Documentation matters in the one industry that seems most fascinated with networked learning–academia. Question is, how do I document something as ethereal as network contributions without having some place to collect and display them? The blog seems to be the answer. Yet, when I think of it, network theory states the important stuff isn’t the contributions of individuals interacting, but the results of their interaction. So the best we’ll all get from this class is Networks’ coveted Certificate of Proximity to Greatness badge.

        None of these thoughts come into my mind when I do volunteer work. Wonder why?


      • leahgrrl  On February 17, 2011 at 2:06 PM

        Half of the reason I enrolled in the certificate program is the hope that it will help me move into a different job, one that involves online education in some way–either teaching online or instructional design for textbooks and ancillary materials. My 15+ years of editing and 15+ years of teaching don’t seem to count. It’s not only academia, but having been there, too, I know what you mean. Parchment or perish. 😉

      • scottx5  On February 17, 2011 at 4:07 PM

        I work with a couple of young people who have what I’d call marginal academic qualifications but interviewed with kick-ass portfolios. In some ways, given the huge shortage of Instructional Designers, it is extremely presumptious of the institutions to be so picky. And I should add that it is all unfair so I can squeltch the urge to run off into a rant and just say you are right, the parchment is powerful magic and this particular program is about the wierdest way to obtain those precious quals.

        Most of the work I do is pretty mundane but the stuff I enjoy most are the Companion Sites requested by the instructors to accompany the texts they must use. These things are often quite open and allow for voices and views to be inserted into the dialog as a reminder that all subjects, contrary to the textbook selection committees’ insistance, come from often strange and interesting families where not all is resolved.

        In a way, my not being “qualified” allows me the freedom to wander outside the fence a bit. It allows me to question and take responsibility where being “of the institution” would load me down with obligations (and excuses).

        This listserve was recommended by someone in the PLANK MOOC. Displays the variety of ID jobs and approaches out there through the voices of practicing members:

        Good luck with your paper. I’ll have a look at yesterday’s elluminate to see if I can break up the blockage in my head.


  • jaapsoft2  On March 13, 2011 at 6:05 PM

    Hi Scott, just a technical answer. (My academic period is long ago, now I am a educational journalist, and glad I do not belong to the academic scene)
    Most blogs use pingback or trackback or like possibilities. These do place a comment in the site one is commenting on, IF one writes the URL, hyperlink of the commented site blogpost in the comment.
    So if I write a comment on Your-Blog in my own I-blog,and I do mention the hyperlink to your-blog than Your-blog will receive this comment from the I-blog. In this way my comment in the I-blog will appear in your-blog.
    Not much people do know this.
    Good luck

  • Susan O'Grady  On March 13, 2011 at 8:37 PM

    Hey there Scott,
    I’m becoming frustrated by the amount of self promotion that this course is generating this time around. I don’t have a problem with people offering a link to a relevant posting or attempting to promote dialogue, I believe that’s one of the purposes of a network. However being inundated with requests to ‘subscribe to my RSS feed, watch my video, take part in my study’ requests leave me cold. And as to your initial question: I usually respond on the original blog and sometimes raise other issues on my own blog and give credit.

    • scottx5  On March 13, 2011 at 10:10 PM

      Hi Susan,
      As a registered student in the class I really object to the the commercial intrusion through self-promotion. Where I work there is a huge problem with poor nutrition among the general population. Yet the halls are full of soda-pop machines and the cafeteria, that serves staff and resident students, features overpriced burgers and deep fried everything with minor offerings of healthy food. Sports and healthy lifestyles are also promoted but the message is commercial interests have at least an equal status as if they couldn’t make their way without public assistance.

      I had thought education would model some values that weren’t simply a mirror of the general crap we call society. Foolish me.

      On Connectivism. I may not like Stephen (and I do think he brings grief on himself sometimes) but I’m mostly frustrated by the fractious debate around the theory. There might be a million reasons why it attracts negative attention but that doesn’t advance the search for evidence or lead to greater understanding. All you get is argument for the sake of arguing.

      Jaap says I can trackback to your blog by posting your blog address on my post? I’ll try:
      How could this be simpler? By actually working.


  • balimaha  On January 6, 2014 at 3:50 AM

    That is a good point… But comment moderation means sometimes what u want to post on another person’s blog takes too long to get “out there” and so u blog about it urself instead… Not necessarily selfish… I just did that recently with an idea of yours on Dave’s blog!

    • scottx5  On January 6, 2014 at 10:03 AM

      Hi (how do you like to be addressed? Is is it Balimaha?) Thanks for reading and commenting on my blog. At the time of writing I really felt silenced. My job description felt marginalizing, all my coworkers were being know-it-alls and I was ready to be irritated. In the environment and mindset I was in at the time presuming to be a person worth hearing from felt show-offish.
      Just reading “The Zen of Listening” by Rebecca Shafir and I wonder if the emotion here is more driven by having grown up in a family where half were hard of hearing? How much of speaking is release of the pressure of being yourself? What happens when the spontaneous goes unheard, has to be repeated or is just left unspoken?
      I have changed my attitude on blogs and feel less critical. Listening and talking are a complete set and expressiveness isn’t the private activity I believed it was. It isn’t only about the need to be heard but a gesture to engage. Thanks for push.

      • balimaha  On January 6, 2014 at 10:22 AM

        Hi again Scott, I have to say I am overwhelmed by the depth of your reflections! Every time i read something by you, it makes me think a lot and makes my head spin! I will reflect on it some more later, but for now, to answer your earlier question: call me Maha, which is my first name (the blog is balimaha and my twitter handle bali_maha because mahabali was taken for some reason (possibly by me many years ago and forgotten about, but unreachable now, possibly by some Thai person because they have some sort of deity or place called Maha Bali… How strange is that?).

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