Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The iGen Manifesto

Rex Miller has put out an "iGen Manifesto", not to be confused with the Manifesto of Hope by the Emergent Village folks. I have a hard time taking it too seriously although his general direction is good. Hyperbole reigns in the manifesto. "The iGeneration has the means to change every institution on the planet, bypassing the declining gyrations from older generations—if they so chose." Really? "Our world (even the very planet itself) is at an historic turning point. The turning point is big: bigger than the Renaissance/Reformation/Enlightenment revolution that launched the modern era." Ummm. The jury is still out.

I'm glad that Miller calls for engagement of a new generation. Moving past the diversions provided by Web 2.0 to the meat of the technology would be great but the manifesto seems too limited. We want content on demand but not more content? The salvation of the church is technology and not God?

There are other, maybe more trivial matters.
" Wikipedia, for example, has built an incredible knowledge resource that no longer depends on the knowledge and wisdom from a few credentialed experts. They have an open source tool and a process of open peer review to sift through contributed content. The result, according to Britain’s scientific periodical Nature Magazine is an accuracy rate comparable to The Encyclopedia Britannica. There is one full-time employee."

Agreed, however, there is a certain irony in the fact that Miller shows how good a Web 2.0 organization is by quoting print. [There is also a certain irony in publishing a manifesto in a magazine, even one like Relevant]. As authoritative as the peer review of Wikipedia is, it apparently doesn't match up to the peer review of Nature Magazine. All of this goes to show that as great as Web 2.0 is, and believe me I think that it is great, it did not spring ex nihilo nor does it exist in a vacuum. Some people are more adept at using the tools and methodologies of the academy, statistical analysis in this case, and Wikipedia would be poorer if traditional learning communities like universities did not provide a context for those people to learn them. The future includes Web 2.0, but it also includes traditional organizations like universities.

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