There Isn’t Just One

I didn’t want to let too much time go by before responding to Doug’s post, and the others that have followed it, but I haven’t have time for a thorough response.  There’s plenty of thoughtfulness in the posts and comments, but I did just want to state, again, that I’m pretty sure an awful lot of the “conversation” on the post(s) is based on a bad assumption, which is this:

There isn’t one “edublogosphere.”  Never has been and never will be.  So to ascribe universal characteristics to something which isn’t (universal) is problematic, to say the least.  Here’s how I said it in November:

Mostly, the assumption that’s troubling me so much is that there’s one group (community – whatever) out there that exists for educational conversation via electronic media, and that we should all try to engage and involve everyone in that one (fallacious) group so that we’re all friends and reading and commenting each other.  And that we’ll all agree on where that group should go, when they should meet, and what we’ll all do when we get there.  Or that we ever agreed in the first place.

Ain’t going to happen.  Not now, not ever.  Never did happen, in fact.  We all construct our blogrolls, our Twitter friends, or our other social networking relationships for our benefit and to meet our own unique needs.

Would I prefer to see more reflective or data-driven posts around teaching and learning practices?  Yep.  But me (or anyone else) not seeing them doesn’t mean that they’re not there.  I’d encourage you to read the rest of that November post for more explanation of my position.

17 thoughts on “There Isn’t Just One

  1. I didn’t really express myself clearly in my post but I think one way that is useful for me is the metaphoric idea of edublogging being like many, many different sized and shaped hoops scattered across the internet playground, intersecting and overlapping each other like a crazy Venn diagram. If we take two random bloggers (say you and me) there will be parts of our hoops that overlap and share common space …. on second thoughts, that doesn’t work either because things are not equally balanced. There are people I read and comment that ignore me, there are those who willingly engage and then there are those I read and move past without signalling my connection to them at all. Overlapping Venn diagrammatic shapes dictate shared interests and that doesn’t even come close to described the complexity of the ecosytem. Any simplistic description falls short in so many ways, it’s a wonder that anyone bothers to characterise the “edublogosphere” at all. Yet we continue to do so… and the following discussions result.

  2. John Larkin says:

    Thanks Bud for the reference to my post. I like your point, and Graham’s too. Like multiple universes I guess. Some are parallel, others intersect, and occasionally they collide. Thank goodness.
    Cheers, John.

  3. Doug Belshaw says:

    Hi Bud,

    Thanks for the reflection. I’m fairly confident now, after interaction with others via Twitter and comments that ‘the network’ and ‘the conversation’ can exist side-by-side. One is not the other and, as you quite rightly state, there are, in fact, many ‘networks’ and ‘conversations’ going on. 🙂

  4. Pat Wagner says:

    I’ve only come across your blog recently, but I think I like your thinking.
    To imply that we cherish mutual objectives is to deny the irreconciable differences and conflict that exist in many staffrooms (if your school is lucky enough to have one).
    I understand Graham Wegner’s earlier comment about the Venn diagrams but I think that many of the more established community have shut up shop in terms of looking outside their circle, and now we only have concentric circles in operation.

  5. Richard says:

    Any time someone speaks about a group as a whole, there’s a risk of stereotyping.

    I would be nervous if someone tried to unite all blogging teachers to a particular cause. Heck, I’ve learned from the open source community that even supporters of the open source movement have vastly different philosophies and motives.

    The OLPC initiative is a prime example. Some edubloggers have embraced it for reasons very different from the reasons some open source people support it, which is also very different from why some Python fans support it (the OS was written in Python). I happen to be involved with all three of those communities and I’m somewhat indifferent about OLPC, as the upcoming release of the Eee PC is looking even better (to me).

  6. Bud Hunt says:


    Bingo. And the lesson there is that multiple perspectives, people, and ideas can find some common ground and move forward. Diversity is always better than solidarity. As for the Eee, I see OLPC as one of the driving forces behind other low cost projects – so even if the XO fails, progress occurs.

  7. Thanks for some needed perspective.

  8. Betty says:

    I learn so much from reading educational blogs. Although I don’t understand some of the technology, I give it the old college try. We are all unique and in different places, and that’s what makes it fun and interesting.

  9. You’ll always represent the edublogosphere to me, Bud. 😉

  10. Bud Hunt says:

    I can’t imagine that’s a good thing, Chris.

  11. JackieB says:

    It certainly isn’t a bad thing.

  12. Sarah Cannon says:

    Coming to this entry via Dan’s post, perhaps appropriately while visiting my college town.

    My college is a small one. I knew the faces of most everyone there with me, if not all of their names. But it’s also large enough that there are people who never interact even if their courses run parallel. Large enough that you can’t really keep in touch with everyone connected with what you do, so you form groups with some of those people. Ideally the groups form all sorts of intersecting circles that can enrich each other, growing and shrinking as needed, rather than static independent cliques.

    I think of the edublogsphere or spheres in a similar way. Large enough that even the most connected don’t know everybody, small enough that when you meet someone new it’s not terribly difficult to find a common connection. It’s like Graham’s initial venn diagram. And just because a few circles are concentric, doesn’t mean they all are.

    One of my goals in face-to-face life is to be better at connecting people who should know each other. I’m starting small–like introducing two friends, new to the city, who like the same football team. Maybe I’ll figure out how to do that online as well.

  13. Great post. Amazing ideas. I have bookmarked you.

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