Don’t Believe The Hype

hype.jpg"Don't believe the hype - it's a sequel
As an equal, can I get this through to you.."
Artist: Public Enemy
Album: It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back

This lyric strings together a lot of the online stuff I've been encountering and thinking about over the past week - kind of like a soundtrack in my brain. Public Enemy's plea to be wary of the American media (although of much greater magnitude and significance) can be easily applied to some recent examples and give me a greater appreciation of those edubloggers prepared to go against the grain, to question the "wisdom of the crowd" and to write some unpopular things. Bill Kerr and Tim Holt, for example, have important things to say and more often than not are using their blog as a form of mirror to their own and others' contradictions. Hey, why not? As far as I can see, they are exposing some of the hype.

More of my self-identified hype.

K12 PreConference Keynote Hype.
After not downloading this highly sought after file within the first 24 hours, I noticed a lot of praise laden blog posts filtering through, even a couple verging on gushing. The hype was unbearable - I had to see this for myself. But, I saw a long winded talking head video with overstretched metaphors and plugs for American coffee houses - what was the fuss all about? I didn't get it - an airport, so what? However, the hype made me watch it all the way through just to be sure. My impressions didn't change - but just to be clear, I like David Warlick, I didn't like the keynote. And I did post my opinion over on the K12 blog.

Facebook Hype.
I can't open my GMail without getting friend requests, pokes, questions, updates and general Facebook digital output. I joined Facebook because I wanted to see how this hugely popular social networking tool worked but I didn't bargain on the hype. A great Skype conversation between Sue Waters and Alex Hayes on Wednesday evening eased my mind somewhat - it's a walled garden where I can safely let the weeds grow without sacrificing my precious time.

Twitter Tool Hype.
For all its great networking value, twitter tends to help breed tool hype of the most mouth-frothingly kind.
UStream - I Scream. (Yet some people call it life-changing!!)
Skitch? Don't bother unless you're a Mac lover.
Chatcast - call and your online friends will come running.

I do believe that Darren Draper has captured twitter hype perfectly in this post.

Don't worry - I've generated plenty of my own hype on this blog - just that no-one seems to want to take it any further!

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8 thoughts on “Don’t Believe The Hype

  1. Jane

    Oh my! Graham, you are a stirrer 🙂
    Always nice to have someone stir the pot and help people think outside the square. I like to think I can find something new in what most people have got to say, even if I have to read between the lines. I think the problem is we are all so engrossed in this technology lark and our thoughts are starting to come bouncing back at us off the walls. Every now and again someone says something new (Miguel Guhlin is good for this) and our thoughts take a different tangent. Even though I sometimes get frustrated I wouldn’t want to leave this community.

  2. Diana

    Hype can be good… at times… to reinvigorate the conversation. When I feel things lisding a little to the ridiculous, I always get back to… how does this improve teaching and learning. I think there are some amazing applications of online broadcasting in my area with a serious attempt to continue the teaching and learning of the Navajo language. Students in the middle school can be broadcasting ‘lessons’ and stories for the elementary grades and so on and so forth. I also live in an area that is not very urban and the ability to connect with colleagues changes the way I develop as a teacher… the online broadcasting can be used for that as well. Online broadcasting is not the only tool that accomplish those goals, but it is one new tool that can possibly impact those in a positive way.

    I would also temper some of the hype, but I think the most important thing is to concentrate on how any of these tools improves teaching and learning. Let’s hype that!

  3. Sue Waters

    Graham I totally agree with everything you said on the K12 online blog regarding David’s presentation – even if as a podcaster I can’t say it as well as you! And like you I believe it was the hype that annoyed me the most.

    Here is the follow up comment I posted on their blog:

    As Clay said “pleasing an international audience (of educators, especially 😉 is a thankless job, and impossible to boot.” I don’t think it is about “experienced advanced folks in the blogosphere need a whole different keynote” but that individuals will connect with presenters for different reasons.

    I can name some really classic examples of really well known, and respected presenters, whose sessions I have attended that I totally have not connected with and others, like Nigel Paine, who I would listen to talk about the same topic a million times because his style probably suits me more. If you looked at the difference in styles between them I am more able to relate to how Nigel tells his stories.

    I remember having a discussion with another Australian colleague regarding sessions we had attended on online facilitation – I totally loved one session and was lost in the other – he totally loved the other session and was not fussed with the one I loved. The person I loved proved all the facts and figures, which I immediately love since I am a scientist, whereas the one he loved modeled colorful use of language, and my friend is into language whereas I can struggle if I can’t relate to the words used.

    Lets be honest — this is the great part of K12 online conference — with so many sessions, presented in a range of formats, we will all connect with different ideas and we will all have fantastic, spontaneous discussions on our thoughts that will question our beliefs leading us off into directions we would never realise were possible. Thanks Clay, Graham, Patrick and Sheryl for the spontaneous conversations– I enjoyed it. Looking forward to more conversations with more people as the conference happens.

    My thoughts on Twitter and Ustream
    Look Twitter is like anything — you decide how much noise you want to listen too! The key with uStream is like any tool — some will use it effectively others won’t. If you watch a session that is not good then no way will you think it is good.

    Yes you are right I should have done a post on my blog instead of this long comment — but was worried about the hype!


  4. Graham Wegner

    The ultimate hype situation would be definitely a edublogosphere keynote on twitter in Second Life Ustreamed to your desktop. 😉
    Seriously, a whole bunch of stuff was annoying me and I purged it all in this blog post and freed my mind for other thoughts. I loved the fact that Dan was blogging in a similar vein without either of us being conscious of each other’s frame of mind and ultimately, this is not about questioning the value of any web bound tool or platform, it’s about recognising the fact that many people start exaggerating and overblowing the potential worth of said tools before they’ve even lost their brand new beta shine. Some people thrive on hype – I’m just saying personally, I could do with a little less.

    And Dan’s post gave me the chance to read Ken’s point of view (and subsequently subscribe to his blog) which is as good way as any for me to move forward.
    “And I will no longer jump into every pool, every virtual environment just to be in it.”

  5. Pingback:

    » K12 Online 2007 - The Pre-Conference Keynote Learning Curve

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    dy/dan » Blog Archive » Dialing Down The Hype, pt. 2

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