Posts Tagged ‘Neil Postman’

Enterprise 2.0: what a crock

March 1, 2010

I’m grateful to Bruce Lewin at Four Groups for pointing out Dennis Howlett’s Enterprise 2.0: what a crock rant on ZDNet:

“I’ve been following the so-called Enterprise 2.0 meme for some time and you know what? It’s a crock.”

I think he makes a number of interesting points, not least being that in this economic climate businesses have far more pressing problems, regardless of what you’re E2.0 mavens maybe saying. Maybe that’s why, case studies for the emergent enterprise are still thin in the ground. He also makes valid points about the transience of community members who have no allegiance to anything other than the community:

“Communities are driven by passionate community evangelists who, for the most part I see as driven people. They don’t have an allegiance to the company or brand but to the idea of community. There’s nothing wrong with that but I have to ask the question – what happens when they move on or become tired of batting their head against a brick wall? As someone engaged with community building as a stepping stone to transformation I understand the challenges.”

He ends by asking an important question about the problem that Enterprise 2.0 is trying to solve? Funny, as when I’ve asked that question and nobody has given me an answer, and it reminds me of an lecture in 1998 on Technology and Society given by the American author, media theorist and cultural critic, Neil Postman. He said the first question that need to be addressed when anyone tells us about a new technology was, ‘what is the problem to which this is technology is a solution?’

The possibility that Huxley, not Orwell, was right

March 1, 2010

I mentioned Neil Postman’s book Amusing Ourselves to Death, in my initial Why debatorium? post. His point about the possibility that Huxley, not Orwell, was right seems very poignant now that Facebook has passed Google (Holy Crap! Facebook has passed Google).

The possibility that Huxley, not Orwell, was right

There’s great story board by Steve McMillen from last year which, illustrates the foreword to Postman’s thought provoking book and you can see it here.

Why debatorium?

February 28, 2010

Well, firstly I was struggling to think of name for a blog, which could act as a repository for my bookmarks. It also follows on from a Facebook group I set-up in early 2009 called debatable, which was an attempt to use crowdsourcing for an article I was asked to write for iMedia Connection about Twitter (see Twittering or twattering? Our survey says…). Actually, the ‘experiment’ proved to be a lot more time consuming than if I’d written it unaided, but the debate that ensued was a lot of fun; and I got some great quotes, including the following one from my wife’s cousin:

“Didn’t Nietzsche say, ‘Soon everyone will learn to read and write, and that will be the death of language’? Brilliantly offensive. I’m sure he had Twitter in mind. The morbidly self-obsessed screeching to the morbidly self-obsessed in bite-sized chunks.”

Nothing like having a contribution from an Oxbridge philosophy PhD to stir things up, and he also introduced me to Neil Postman’s book Amusing Ourselves to Death, which is very much appreciated as it showed me that there’s a history of critical analysis as far as technological progress/techno-determinism, is concerned. This was important discovery because I couldn’t help thinking that ‘the conversation’ about Web 2.0 and the open/free culture moment was getting caught up in a vortex of self-affirming opinion, and as General Patton once said:

“If everyone is thinking the same thing, someone is not thinking?”

I also hope this ‘research’ exercise will introduce new voices and re-introduce some old ones, bringing different perspectives to the table, particularly regarding the discussion of ways in which technology can help us be more connected and collaborative – for better or for worse!