digital rhetoric

transparent media

Chris Anderson writes about the viability of radical transparency for Wired. He’s looking at the potential of working in public from a journalistic/business perspective, but much of what he’s saying connects with my recent discussion of the possiblities of public pedagogy. Anderson identifies "six tactics of transparent media" that basically come out of trying to capitalize on crowdsourcing/wisdom of the crowd-type concepts: making editors/writers accessible to the public, allowing users to contribute to the process of writing and make decisions about content, and ultimately to "wikify everything." Anderson recognizes that not all of these strategies may work for Wired.

As noted in the conversation that emerges around this post, there’s a general recognition that traditional media types will not understand this shift; it just moves too far away from conventional models. Kevin Anderson makes a similar observation on Strange Attractor. There are (evolving) business practices that take advantage of these technologies, and this notion of radical transparency certain identifies some of them.

However, more important from my perspective as an educator is that many of the potential negative effects of this transparency just don’t apply to the classroom. For example, I don’t have to worry about the public nature of the process of writing in my classroom enabling "competitors" to get a jump on what I’m reporting or that I’ll ruin the freshness of my final product by showing it to everyone in process. That said, I think there’s still concern in terms of scholarship about these issues: if I publicize my in-process scholarship will someone beat me to it? Will I ruin the potential value of the reveal?

Yeah, whatever.

Anyway, I like Anderson’s ideas for our college magazine, NeoVox. We could have a "stories-in-progress" blog where writers, editors, designers, and our readers could comment and collaborate on a story in process. Then the story gets published in the magazine, where it is open to more comment. Then we link from the article to a related wiki page that would allow for futher elaboration or development. Perhaps at some point, the topic gets recycled into the news and enters the stories in progress blog again.

We’ll see.

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