Forums, chats, blogs, conferences, I look at all of these items as power tools of communication. In order to communicate we need to know how to operate the tools. They are not simple hand tools, they are capable of hurting people if we don't know how to use them. They are capable of causing just as much miscommunication as communication.
I wonder if anyone out there would agree with me? Or do most people think, "It's just a forum, I can stumble around through it and pick up what I need to know. If I don't know it, then I probably didn't need to know it".
I used Phpbb2 for five years and thought I understood it. Then one day I challenged myself to sit down and click every link on every page and ask myself "What does this do?, what does it not do?, what do I know?, and what do I not know?"
I was surprised to learn how much I didn't know. I calculate that I understood about 20% of the forum functions! And in all those five years I thought I knew something! So maybe, just maybe, I am dumb about the simplest things. But, hey, is there some reason for us to assume that everyone who comes to our community today understands the simplest things? Like how to make bold or italic fonts in their text?
No! There is absolutely no reason for any such assumptions. Let's assume that people know nothing and that they also know something. So let's find out what it is so that we know and don't know so we can fill in gaps and increase the collective knowledge of the community. I'm not talking about a thread. I'm talking about a committed group who meets at a specific time for a set period of time to investigate fully both it's knowledge and ignorance. That's a practical workshop.
So that's why I am looking for buddies who would like to make a commitment to learning all of the functions of simple platforms like gmail chat, google groups, blogger etc.
I think it would be nifty to have a Links Club, when, weekly, the members rotate the role of bringing in one link and all of the members go through each of the page elements and links on the page and learn it together.
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