Your answer to learning is a social network? [FAQ series: Collaboration]

Broadly speaking, absolutely.

Learning is a social and cultural process. Social networking, whether in-person or via internet, is learning. Individual learners and collective structures determine the quality of that learning. We chat more about the in-person context in our campus and community posts, which for hopefully obvious reasons, relate as much to collaboration as anything else. But social tech is a unique collaboration innovation (and kind of an introvert-friendly one at that).

Before Google opened the information gates via internet, human gatekeepers had a lot more to do. We would physically go to the gates in need of human help. Librarians would help us navigate the card catalog. Teachers would stand in the front of a room and speak information. (Oh wait. They still… Anyway.)

Now, despite how impressively the Google robots deliver information via search, social networks can often do it better. Rick Klau once recommended a book to me (and everyone else who watched his talk on Objectives + Key Results). In the Plex rightfully applauds the brilliance of Google generally, with an epilogue titled “Chasing Taillights“. The epilogue highlights Google’s failure to master social as it did search. And it highlights why social matters enough to have Google doing a very un-Googly thing: playing catch-up.

Because we’re not just sharing our favorite cat memes. Facebook is now driving more traffic to news sites than Google. It’s a relief to know that the human element is still relevant to relevance.

But. And this is a big but. Facebook showed me an ad for Meowingtons cat ear purses the other day. No joke:

Aaaand I’d be more likely to buy this (shared with me by a human friend, incidentally):

Is this intentionally subtle point too subtle? Basically, we’ve got more potential when it comes to social tech.

Social can be purposeful. Because humans are purposeful. And since social is inherently collaborative, when we leverage it for purpose, we should have some serious innovation on our hands.

As self-directed learners our personal is our professional, which can revolutionize the concept of a social CV.

Now the design of our social purpose network: It’ll suggest OKRs you might be interested in; it’ll allow you to rank your OKRs on a priority matrix and set timeframes and what have you; it might crowdsource feedback on any individual’s commitment rate to projects; it might do a lot of brilliant things we have in mind. Beyond that, we’ll just magically combine the relevant functions of Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Yelp, Evernote, Wunderlist. (…Okay we have no magical powers, so maybe we’ll have to integrate things or something. Or… Google, stop chasing those taillights. Get at us.)

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