User talk:Tonygrimaud

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For these past few weeks, I have been fascinated by how communities of practice work, the idea of on-line cooperation and user-generated content, and how this phenomena of mass collaboration and participatory culture can produce such a wealth of valid material/information.

A good example of this on-line cooperation is perhaps Wikipedia - the online encyclopaedia, where its strength relies solely on its dedicated community of practice for its content and success.

If we can somehow understand how Wikipedia's community of practice work, and discover what motivates it to go on, perhaps we can then apply the findings to assist building and nurturing M3P's own community of practice.

The main aim of M3P is to record/save Malta's music memories, and to do that, there is a need for a strong on-line collaboration. Wikipedia is therefore looked upon as a model for the success of M3P, or better, the successful preservation of Maltese music memories. For starters, M3P runs on the same MediaWiki software as Wikipedia....

Here is some stuff I have been reading

Shirky, C. (2009) Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations. London, Penguin Books.

The author looks at the internet and explains how it is revolutionising the way we think, organise and communicate in our day-to-day lives and compares this social media revolution to the invention of the printing press, the telephone, the radio and television. He describes the additional challenges faced by many old-school managed organisations such as businesses, governments and religious institutions and warns of “a period of chaos as we re-shift to this new reality.”

Hayek, F.A. (1945) The Use of Knowledge in Society, The American Economic Review, Volume 35, Issue 4 (Sept., 519-530), [online] Available at: [Accessed 22 November 2010].

In his essay, Hayek argues that the sharing of local and personal knowledge, allows individuals to achieve diverse and complicated results through the principle of spontaneous self-organisation. He talks about the perils of centralisation and argues that when information is dispersed, decisions are best left to those with the most local knowledge. The author observes that each person "has some advantage over all others because he possesses unique information of which beneficial use can be made."

Tkacz, N. (2010) Wikipedia and the Politics of Mass Collaboration, PLATFORM: Journal of Media and Communication. [online] Available at: [Accessed 27 October 2010].

In this paper, the author analyses one Wikipedia entry to demonstrate the processes of peer production and how it differs from the “post-political” discourse of collaboration. He argues for a more politicised concept of collaboration.

Vickery, G. & Wunsch-Vincent, S. (2007) Participative web and user-created content: web 2.0, wikis and social networking. Paris, OECD Publications.

This study looks at the concept of the ‘participating web’ and describes the rapid growth of User-Created Content (UCC) and its increasing role in worldwide communication. This growth in user participation has been achieved and influenced by intelligent web services that empower its users to further collaborate and contribute to its development. While the Internet is becoming increasingly embedded in everyday life with a growing number of people becoming a part of this wider ‘participating web’ by creating and distributing, the authors argue that there is no definite agreement on what constitutes UCC, and measuring the social, cultural and economic impacts of UCC is still in its infancy.

Rheingold, H. (2002) Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution. Cambridge MA, Basic Books.

In this book Rheingold talks about wireless communication devices and how they are shaping modern culture. He interviews people around the world who work and play with their mobile phones, pagers and PDAs to observe how this social revolution is taking shape. This study shows the possibilities and dangers of communications innovation by describing how mobile devices are being used in a variety of ways and in diverse circumstances.
Chapter two of the book, ‘Technologies of Cooperation’, relates particularly to how people use their mobile devices to interact and cooperate in a virtual social scene. This is of particular interest to my area of research.

Other books on my immediate reading list:

Barabasi, A. L. (2003) Linked: How Everything is Connected to Everything Else and What it Means for Business, Science and Everyday Life. New York, Plume.

Castells, M. (ed.) (2004) The Network Society: A Cross Cultural Perspective. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar.

Ebersbach, A. Glaser, M. & Heigl, R. (2006) Wiki: Web Collaboration. Translated from the German “WikiTools” by A. Adelung. Berlin, Springer.

Godin, S. (2008) Tribes: We need you to lead us. London, Piatkus Books.

Keen, A. (2007) The Cult of the Amateur: How’s Today’s Internet is Killing Our Culture and Assaulting Our Economy. London, Nicholas Brealey.

Wenger, E. (2008) Communities of practice: learning, meanings, and identity. New York, Cambridge University Press

The Evolution of Co-operation - Robert Axelrod (1990) New York, Penguin Books.

Crowd Sourcing...Tentative contact/meeting with

Luigi Pellegrini, Lito, Michael Bugeja, Adrian Mamo, Philip Pace, Ossie Agius, Manuel Gauci, Alfie Fabri, Mikiel Galea, Mro Frank Galea, Noel Mallia, Pauline Pace, Vinny Vella Jr (plus introduction with VV Sr), Jesmond Zerafa, John Gafa, John Bundy (possible invite on his tv program), Vanni Pule,

Workshops - spreading awareness on the importance of sharing (what otherwise could be lost) memories and to record them in writing, audio or video on M3P. - this way we can expand the community.

Thoughts about building an online community of practise.

Building an online community of practise in a Maltese would we go about enticing ppl to contribute/write about their stories/memories on their musical experiences, or those of their family, neighbours’, friends?

In Wikipedia…it is reported that from the millions of contributors it claims to have, only about a 1000 of them are considered serious contributors, on tracing back their work. The rest, in the words of Jimmy Wales himself, it would be better for Wikipedia if they could “find another hobby.”!! What does this imply? And if we are to model M3P on Wikipedia, and therefore compare percentages of the serious contributors from the rest of the millions … with the population of Malta … no, not quiet either ... with that part of the Maltese population that is interested in music and has something to contribute ...then, we would need to work harder to find soldiers for this community of practice. Perhaps there are other ways to do it, that hits/touches more effectively the locals about their music heritage.

WHAT IS A "Community of Practice"?

So, in order to facilitate the nurturing of a "Community of Practice", we must first understand what is meant by the term. Then we can begin to understand how "Communities of Practice” form, work and function.

Etienne Wenger (2006) defines Communities of Practice as "groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do, and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly.”

Even though the phenomenon is age-old, the term "community of practice" is of relatively recent coinage and the concept has provided a useful perspective on knowing and learning.

Some example of communities of practice:

a group of artists seeking new forms of expression,
a gathering of first-time managers helping each other to cope.
a group of pupils defining their identity on their University campus.
a gang of youth that developed ways of dealing and surviving on the street. While maintain some kind of identity as a group, they also value their collective abilities and learn from each other.

Therefore, forming a group is not enough to constitute a community of practice. Learning can be the reason the community comes together or an incidental outcome of member's interactions.

So, a neighbourhood, although it is often called a community, is usually not a community of practice.


i have been flicking thrugh Dan O'Sullivan's book, Wikipedia - A New Community of Practice? Chapter 15 assesses the 3 versions of the page from wikipedia - the great fire of london.