As soon as Howard unveiled this new free portal (which I have to admit, does in fact look and sound like a pretty awesome set of tools for educators) my brain started spinning and I quickly tweeted this NTS.
Howard's last slides got me wondering ... why after just guiding us through a great talk about all these ideas about unstructured co-creation and self-assembling collectives, did he end by focusing/showcasing a new community “container” instead of focusing on the conduit connectors of self-forming communities? The answer in my mind is a little bit rhetorical… it’s because our definition of community is still rooted by the “container” and containers are much easier to build then connections.
Connections are made and enabled through conduit. Conduit by its definition is a “channel through which something (as a fluid) is conveyed.” It’s what enables connections to be made regardless of the container type. And, it’s really what enables online communities to form and gain momentum as connections are made across “containers” between different members’ “community containers” of choice. Therefore in trying to create online communities for libraries ( or any other organization for that matter) does it make more sense to focus our resources, time and effort on trying to create “new containers” for communities to assemble in, or does it make more sense to focus our efforts on creating “connecters” that enables community building to transcend and bridge across “container” boundries?
As you might be able to see, I’ve been fumbling around with this thought for awhile now trying to sort out something cohesive enough to post out here on blog. Although I don’t have my thoughts sorted out just yet (although I’ve made a first attempt here), I’m really curious about anyone else’s thoughts to this question … “Is a “container” required/necessary to create an online community?” and if not, “then what/where is the best way/place to start?”
Anyone got any thoughts?