well...here we go!
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: http://www.indiapolicy.org/debate/Notes/hayek_low.pdf [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: http://www.culture-communication.unimelb.edu.au/platform/resources/includes/vol2_2/PlatformVol2Issue2_Tkacz.pdf [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 context:...how 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.
Questionnaire – M3P ...work in progress
Hello and thank you for registering with the Malta Music Memory Project (M3P). I am Tony Grimaud and I am based in Scarborough, England, conducting a research project for my PhD studies. As part of my research is focused on how people come together to collaborate on projects such as the M3P.
I would therefore appreciate it if you would kindly take a few minutes of your time to answer the following 4 questions. The aim of this questionnaire is to further improve the the usability of M3P.
1. How did you hear about M3P?
a) Through a friend
b) Through local radio, TV, Newspaper, etc. If so, please specify ______________
c) Through FaceBook/Twitter/MySpace, etc. If so, please specify ______________
d) Other ______________________
2. What made you want to register to M3P?
a) Thought it was a good idea to
3. How often do you log on to M3P? (to upload your contributions? ) (do you use...)
a) On a regular basis
b) Not as much as I would like to.
4. While using M3P.com.mt to upload your contribution, do you find it: (How do you find )
a) Difficult to use?
b) Easy to use?
c) Other _______________
5) What is/are your main reasons for accessing M3P?
a) To enter/share information about your band/music
b) To enter/share information about other Maltese musicians.
c) To read about Maltese music.
6) If there is something that you would like to see improved in the M3P, what would that be? _________________________________
1. You are:
1a. ( )Male
1b. ( )Female
2. You are a:
2a. ( )Musician/Songwriter/Performer
2b ( )Not a musician, but music is part of my work/Journalist/venue owner/promoter/other __________
2c. ( )Fan/Music lover
3. You are based in:
3a. ( )Malta.
3b. ( )Outside of Malta in _______________________.
4. You are interested to contribute to M3P by writing about:
4a. ( )Your own music/band only.
4b. ( )Other Music/Musicians that has a connection with Malta.
5. We are organising some hands-on workshops on M3P in Valletta, at the beginning of June 2011,
5a. Would you be interested to attend? ( )Yes, ( )No, ( )Maybe.
5b. If you plan to attend, what particular areas of the M3P would you want us to be cover during the hands-on workshop? _______________________________________.
Thank you for your time.
I have been looking at the registered users' activities and came up with some interesting statistics...
139 - Total Registered Users to date (29th March 2011)
72 - Just registered, but did nothing else.
20 - Created a UserPage
119 - Didn't create a Userpage
8 - Created a UserPage as well as at least 1 other page
23 - Created 1 Page
5 - Created 2 Pages
1 - Created 3 Pages
1 - Created 5 Pages
1 - Created 6 Pages
6 - Uploaded at least 1 jpg
4 - Uploaded at least 1 mp3
(7) - Main/Core Contributors
Other possible extractions from the data...
( ) - Contributed to other pages that is not their own
( ) - Only created a Page on themselves or their own band
( ) - Created page/s on other artists/bands/venues, etc
( ) - Added events
(dates) - when surges in registration took place.
Proposed Workshops' content
Workshops Content ... (work in progress)
Beginners: (Hands on ...)
- Why M3P?
- Registering/Logging in
- What is a User Page
- Creating a new Page
- Text Formatting
- Editing an Existing Page
Intermediate: (Hands on ...)
- Why M3P?
- Why is the User Page for?
- Creating Links
- Uploading media files (Pics, mp30)
- Renaming Pages
- M3P cheat sheets!
Advanced: (Aimed at regular contributors)
- hands on with any usability issues that might arise.
- Serves as a fantastic opportunity for everyone to meet in person and getting to know one another.
- Discussing ways to cooperate with one another to produce collaborative work derived from each individual contributions.
Help that seemed to have worked first time!
The following is a cut and paste of a fb message i sent to a contributor who found it difficult to create a page on M3P. (Name has been deleted) We can of course refine on this ...
Hi XXXXX, u grazzi tal-messagg. Mela...hemm aktar minn moghod wiehed kif jaghmel dan. Ghall-ewwel thossok ftit mitluf sakemm tifhem kif jahdem is-software...jien hekk kien grali ukoll!! :) Mela...
1. l-ewwel haga - Log In...
2. Sib titolu (title) qasir ghall-artiklu u iktbhu fis-SEARCH box (left hand side of page)...
3. Ghafas fuq is-SEARCH button biex tkun ċert li ma hemmx xi artikolu iehor bl-istess isem. Jekk hemm, ibdlu ftit (fis-SEARCH box... ezempju:zid data(date) ...u erga ghafas SEARCH.
4. Jekk lt-title tieghek ma hemmx bhalu...ikklikja, din id-darba fuq GO (taht il-kaxxa tas-search...
5. Din tiehdok f'pagna li tghid: "No page title matches" ... "There is no page titled "Isem il-Pagna Tieghek". ...
6. Ghasaf fuq..."You can create this page" li tohloqlok il-pagna gdida. Hemmhekk ikteb jew ippejstja (paste) l-artikolu tieghek fit-text box provduta.
7. Ghafas fuq SHOW PREVIEW (taht nett) biex tara kif ser tidher il-page .
8. Tinsiex tghafas SAVE PAGE (taht nett) biex tissejvja il-pagna.
9. Dak kollox!! Lest! :)
Jekk tehel ...erga saqsini...tinkwieta xejn.
Jekk l-artiklu tieghek hu dwar xi event/gig li ser isir, nissuggerixxi li tinkludi data, hin u post fil-CURRENT EVENTS ukoll (Main Page -Left) ..imma l-ewwel dahhal l-artikolu...awguri...u tinsiex...jekk tehel...erga saqsini...
Tislijiet Tony Grimaud
i have been flicking through 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.
The 3 versions were written in Dec 2002, Dec 2005 and Dec 2008 respectively. the first thing that struck me was the styles with which the page had gone through...style of written and also the visual style. the first version a simple narrative with internal hyperlinks in place.
the last version (3) stopped being a 'good' read and entered the domain of the academic style of writing! the text became void of emotion, it became clinical
is this wot we invisage M3P to become? i for one, would rather have it accessible to the general public...having said that, i do see an academic purpose to it. perhaps have both versions; condensed version and in-detail version.
- Having considered what you're saying here (and our offline discussion about all this) I've created a subpage for my memories about Artwork. This would be the first person narrative that I (or others) would contribute about the topic before the "academic" or "official" version of the page on Artwork in main namespace gets created. How's this for a possible model on how we do things with the M3P? --Toni Sant (talk) 11:58, 12 December 2010 (UTC)
- The idea is to get the personal memories of individuals on M3P before they are lost. Writings about musical events that happened any time in the past, from one's point of view and opinion, without getting into discussions who was the best singer or guitarist of that certain year, and what not.
- The contributor will write his memories and thoughts about the music, artists, venues etc he/she had experienced, and it will be totally his/her writings and opinion...and no one changes that entry...if for leaving a comment.