Barabási, the Hungarian-American physicist born in Transylvania, Romania is known for his work in the research of network-theory. Barabási played a role in the discovery of the scale-free network concept, which figures in the category of statistical physics of complex systems. A scale-free network is a network whose degree distribution follows a power law, at least asymptotically. That is, the fraction P(k) of nodes in the network having k connections to other nodes goes for large values of k as where y is a parameter whose value is typically in the range 2 < y < 3, although occasionally it may lie outside these bounds (say what!?). In the readings for week 9: “The 80/20 Rule” and “Rich get Richer” Barabási explains his network-theory and how it developed.
I can’t say I totally understand his scale-free network concept. I think it seems complex and way to mathematical for me to understand compared to Castells and his power-in-networks theory. Barabási’s theory is clearly grounded in the positive ontology and the assumption that there is an objective reality ‘out there’ that we can observe, represent and make corresponding thrush claims about. Therefor the theory’s epistemology (what knowledge is and how we can acquire it) dualistic – it’s separating mind and matter. What I am trying to say is that Barabási’s theory measure data in order to understand the way we are all connected online, which for me seems kind of cryptic. What about questions like: “Why do nodes link to preferential nodes?” and “Why do nodes add themselves to networks and make them grow?”. Aren’t nodes the same as individuals and do individuals not have different demographics and psychographics which make them act and interpret differently inside networks, like Stuart Hall would say?
I’m not saying that the theory of the scale-free network doesn’t make sense at all, I’m just saying that I think there are missing pieces in the puzzle.
This weeks readings were about hypermedia and hypertexts. Vannevar Bush and the Memex machine show the principle behind hypertexts – a non-linear example of a science relationship that are built up associatively. Theodor Nelson defines hypertexts as text pieces which relates to each other through hyperlinks. Nelson describes how hypertexts may create new forms of writing which better reflect the structure of what we are writing about, and the readers of those hypertexts might follow their interests of thoughts when reading, instead of following the chronological path already made by the writer. Furthermore he claims that people have been speaking in hypertexts codes all their lives without knowing it.
With today’s online networked media we are used to using hyperlinks and reading in the hypertext-mode especially when reading blogs, but also when we are reading news articles etc. And it works: “It is in many orders of magnitude the largest collection of human writings and works in history. It is far more robust than networks far smaller, yet it was created without managers” (Weinberger 2002 – about the Web). This is where the power of crowd-sourcing gets interesting. When looking at Wikipedia it is possible to describe it as self-evaluating because of the size of the network involved. Interesting if you ask me…
This weeks readings was about Chris Argyris‘ theories of action, double-loop learning and organizational learning. When reading the text I thought I understood the main idea of the theory, but didn’t really get why we had to read something about organizational learning. That might also have been because my mind was loaded with questions about; “how do I turn on my spam filter” and “how do I make that damn YouTube video appear as an image in my post!?” (I’m pretty green when it comes to blogging). But after attending week 2’s lecture, I suddenly saw why Adrian wanted us to read this piece.
When it comes to a blog as a medium and as a tool to learn by doing in class, it’s different from what most students are used to. We are used to being told and to listen. But by implementing the blogging culture into our learning, we might change the values that comes with learning, and if we do the double-loop has done it’s work and we can now begin to expand our learning capabilities: “It is only by interrogating and changing the governing values, the argument goes, is it possible to produce new action strategies that can address changing circumstances. (Smith, M. K. (2001) ‘Chris Argyris: theories of action, double-loop learning and organizational learning’, the encyclopedia of informal education, p. 10)
Source: (Salem Mafari, 9 Oct. 2011)
So, what does the word “blog” mean? According to Adrian Miles “A blog is a web based publication”. With that said I am now a writer who publishes her own words and therefor my words are now forever somewhere in the World Wide Web. The fact that it will always be “out there” after I hit the publish button, just creeps me out. But people still blog, in fact while I’m writing this post 68.699.764 people has a WordPress site.
So why do we blog? If anyone has the answer please comment. I will try to answer it myself during this semester, but for now you can watch this video: