Four Things, Two Pairs

Relative to teaching: Thought-provoking blog (as usual) from George Siemens and chat transcript over at weblogg (ed) moderated by Will Richardson. (Unnumerated bonus, but this would make it “Five Things, Three Plus Two”: Blog from the University about undergraduate teaching.)
And Suw points to an HBR entry by Roger Martin that discusses the problem of “inauthentic communities” for business leaders. Suw, soundly, suggests that social media represent a changed and changing environment for community, which promises some advantages for sound community connections that late pre-digital business culture lacked; and Martin underscores the baneful effects of executive insularity (for which Suw hopes social media may be a partial remedy). I note these partly because I admire and respect Suw, and wanted to affirm the possibility she cites, and partly because I think that both she and Martin can get at the important points of their observatiuons withlout the use of the red-herring word “inauthentic.” I started out on the ’Net carping about the usage of “authenticity” and its evil twin “inauthenticity” in conversation with David, Tom, the non-Groundhog Day (now Net-absent) Dave Rogers, and others, and I have revived my jaundiced view repeatedly since then. I just don’t think that conceptual vocabulary contributes to clear thinking about the problems to which it points. Not that there isn’t a problem — just that framing it as an “authenticity” problem usually (inevitably?) invokes ideological mystification about what counts as “authentic,” rather than pointing to specific weaknesses, conundrums, contradictions, and so on. It’s a familiar, comfortable ideological mystification — but I remain persuaded that we’re better off taking a different tack.
And now I can close five tabs that have been open on my browser far too long!

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