If we are to encourage a healthier Internet culture of discourse, I submit that we may need to make a half-turn towards the trolls, away from the non-differentiated culture of the reactive masses in the social Internet the corporations and the massification of the Internet have formed for us. We need contexts that are less ‘safe’ and which demand more from us. We need to push towards the creation of more differentiated environments of discourse. We need to recognize that healthy conversation may require a greater degree of exclusivity and even exclusion, something which existed more organically in the earlier Internet. Most people are not equipped for such conversation, not without considerably more formation. Vigorous and fruitful exchange of diverse ideas is only possible where a certain culture exists and this culture requires particular types of persons and contexts to sustain it, people who regard themselves as self-defined collaborative architects of a conversation and contexts that are more capable of sustaining confrontational and more differentiated interactions.
Two relatively short pieces that are worth your attention. The Internet is changing how we think, interact, read, write, and learn. It’s not a bad thing; it’s probably mostly just a thing.
The first is an interesting interview with an author who can both tear the Internet a new one for being stupid and annoying at times, but also recognizes the incredible potential of human beings reading and thinking and learning together:
writing becomes significant through labor. The cherished things online, whether they be profitable or not, clearly spring from a place of great effort, even if in the end that effort is, as it usually should be, invisible.
via TL;DR: Choire Sicha | Full Stop. (Language disclaimer.)
Along these lines, I recommend an article in Wired Magazine from October 2013 about the amazing potential for innovation that comes on the heels of connected human networks.
Historically, we can find times when innovation is more common than at others, and those times are marked by humans being aware of what other humans are doing. Conversely, interruptions in networking slow down the progress of knowledge.
A good read; not rocket science or life-changing, but certainly relevant to current discussions about our changing world, and to adapting education to meet new challenges and foster creativity.