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10 July 2009 / erikduval


The travel gods couldn’t keep me from the LACLO conference in Merida, Mexico this week – though they tried ;-)… Had a great time with Wayne and Xavier and many new friends.

A theme that I developed a bit more relates to technology and social interactions… Often, I get questions about whether technology will not turn us into isolated, nerdy, a-social and alienated psychopaths. (OK, the language is typically somewhat more subtle. Though I have also been accused of accelerating the destruction of civilization!)

In my talk, I tried to explain that

  • technology needs social interactions to make the wisdom of the crowds work: imagine a facebook where nobody is nobody else’s friend, or a twitter where nobody follows anybody…
  • technology enables social interactions that are difficult to realize otherwise: I have received comments on my blog or on slideshare and other platforms that have been really helpful and that I would not have had otherwise.

As an illustration to the latter point: I always like to get detailed feedback from the audience, about what I said and how I presented it. If the LACLO participants would have been on twitter, that would have been a way to get that feedback – but I think only xaoch and wwwayne tweeted at #laclo09


So, I asked the audience to write feedback on paper and hand it to me at the end of my session. The drawback is that they then do not see one another’s comments. We cannot develop these comments into a discussion. I cannot use machine translation to translate from Spanish to a language I understand better. It is difficult for me to respond to the comments as many do not include an email address. Etc.

The comments are still HUGELY useful to me – many thanks to all who took the time and effort to write something down and hand it to me! But this experience illustrates the point that technology could have helped to do this in a more effective way…

Now maybe, just maybe, someone will leave a comment here, and we can still take advantage of the technology…?



Leave a Comment
  1. Chahira / Jul 10 2009 4:36 am

    While I am sitting here-North Africa- in front of my computer, I am enjoying comments about the LACLO conference that took place in Mexico!
    For me this could not be possible if I hadn’t a twitter account where I follow some of the participants, then come here to the blog and leave a comment!
    I see that as Twitter use is spreading, there are still many who wouldn’t use it as a discussion tool at conferences. There is some reluctancy even at some events on socila networking! Now, why is it so?
    Some would argue it is time consuming and thus a way to keep us away from people and meeting new friends face to face!
    “The wisdom of the crowds” is such a wonderful thing to explore and as I can see from my experience with social networking, technology is serving it well!


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