What's Good About Social Software?


Oh my gosh. there are predators stalking the internet, Everywhere you look. Do not click there! Do not TOUCH MySpace. Wiki? Do you know who reads things in wikis? Blogs? How dare you reveal anything personal in a blog-- do you know what happened to Jane's daughter?

Like many things, evening news, the papers, the focus is nearly solely on the BAD things out there. Doing good is not newsworthy, not mentioned. Yet is its my conviction that there is much more GOOD things that happen on the net, and more than several orders of magnitude more than the BAD people are hand wringing about, so it is my humble hope to make a pile of "good stuff"- small things that have happened because of the open social spaces of the web.

Add yours now. Yeah, grab that edit button above. Make this a big old leaf pile we can dump on the numbskulls and fear mongerers who are not thinking deeply enough, or at all, about how innovation happens, how learning happens, etc. Add your story one small anecdote, or just a link below, as one more example of a positive outcome enabled by the social network of the web. Light one candle.

This was set adrift via my weblog posting on May 17, 2006. Add your story!

  • The free Writing HTML tutorial we published first in 1994 was translated into Icelandic in the late 1992 by Gudjon Olafsson, and ultimately, this resulted in me getting an invitation to visit Rekyavik in 1999 to deliver workshops to some Icelandic teachers.
  • An old photo I took in Death Valley was found by a rock band in Germany, and ultimately, I got a CD in the mail with my picture as cover art for a music CD.
  • The first of many collaborations with my Canadian amigos Brian Lamb (UBC) and D'Arcy Norman (University of Calgary) was enabled by a wiki we created to use for a July 2003 teleconference call-- see the Fuss about RSS. This was my first meaningful wiki experience that truly made it all click, and since then we have done so many projects and presentations together that I have lost count.
  • When my father passed away, I blogged it and got a surprizing amount of comfort from the warmth and support from people who don't know me from Adam. It's navel gazing, but shows the personal power that these spaces can control.
  • Our class of 9 and 10 year olds has a few absentee parents who use our various web-presences to keep in touch with what is happening for their kids. Clustr Maps are cool too for showing kids they do actually have an audience that is global .... (eg) that wee blip in south america is one students auntie!
  • In 2005 I had a brainstorm about music, and blogged about it. Many people responded with thoughts, examples, links. Some went off on their own to dig up still more resources. A wiki grew. I - we - learned more about this idea than we could have by any other means available.
  • After creating a website about our local historical places, we received many emails from across the country complimenting our work. Students were excited to know that even people in Oregon could read about the Revolutionary War events which occurred in our backyard in Pennsylvania!