Have just sat through an intereting research presentation on the use of blogs in a pre-service teacher education programme at San Diego State University with Bernie Dodge (of web quests fame). The focus of this was on a group of English students who used a personal blog to keep a journal of their experiences as a student teacher whilst teaching English to high school students. As such, the presentation provided only a narrow view of what a blog is, limited pretty much to being a semi-private online diary. No coment was made about the use of links and additional features such as “blog-rolling” etc.
The discussion got me thinking about the ways in which Blogs are used, and the connection with Gladwell’s thoughts about connectors and mavins in his book The Tipping Point . Gladwell defines “connectors” as people who have a much wider social circle of friends than most others, while “Mavins” are those who have the unuque ability to gather information from a variety of sources and piece it together in a way that others can access and understand. Both of these sorts of people, Gladwell claims, have what he terms “social power” (as distinct from economic or political power) – and it is this power that is likely to be a dominant determinant of change in the future.
My musings are around what an ideal tool a blog provides for these sorts of people – and how the tool itself, might encourage these attributes in many others! Truly an instrument of social empowerment and social change!