More on social software and education

Take a look at what Clarence Fisher is saying here. Fantastic stuff. Keep it going Clarence, your post is the kernel for this one.
All this drum-banging about social software is not because I own stock in one or more of the firms that produce them (I don’t. In fact since 1987 I have never owned stock in anything other than the company I worked for). It’s not because I think it’s cool and I want to be noticed. I’s not because I have nothing else to write about.

So why is it? It is because I care for disenfranchised people, and want to make a difference. Particularly because I grew up in Calcutta, I have always felt I understood something about the haves and the not-haves, the contrasts were stark there. And somewhere inside of me, I guess I think of myself as a street kid born into almost-bankrupt almost-nobility, yet with immense privileges and access.
What I see now, and what I have seen for the last twenty-odd years, is the emergence of a whole new set of sharp-contrast urban and suburban societies. But this time they’re in the West, so they don’t get called slums or shanty towns or anything like that. People use euphemisms like inner cities, urban degeneration, sometimes even admitting to terms like “underclass”.

This sharp-contrast society is everywhere. Worldwide. East and West, North and South, developed or not. And there’s a whole generation, maybe two, who are out there, without access or choices, living hand-to-mouth and primarily on their wits. Some angry, some depressed, some apathetic. Many with no options apparent to them but some form of crime.
And their primary fuel? Peer respect and recognition. You can’t blame them. Nobody else appears to care for them or even acknowledges their existence.

I think social software can go a long way in motivating people like that, giving them their dignity and self-respect back, giving them access and options they have never had.

For “education” read “anything you like”. For “disenfranchised inner city student” read “anybody”.

This thing we call social software is huge. It will take time. But it will happen. And we must do what we can to embed this thinking, this paradigm. In enterprise, in education, in government, in healthcare, even in world trade.

Markets are conversations. Conversations happen between people with relationships. Trust and transparency are the glue to relationships. Transactions are a by-product of the market, not the objective.

And social software helps us make this happen.

5 thoughts on “More on social software and education”

  1. This is very rich for me personally JP, and also makes clear how profoundly we are linked! I would like to invite you to consider a creative engagement with Calcutta in terms of social software and empowerment of the poor. Best, chutki

  2. Give me an idea of how I can help via e-mail, and let’s take in on from there. I have no problem keeping the conversation public, but that might bore others, so let’s take it offline.

  3. Thanks JP, I’ll take this up now, in small-to-big ways. I’m also going to speak to some close friends, accomplished practitioner-minds, towards creating something exciting and meaningful for Calcutta. And I look forward to getting your mother’s blessings to this endeavour next week! Best, chutki

  4. I’d like to participate. I am buildinga tool that addresses this specifically in a way that might be exciting enough for rapid adoption.

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