Should I add Dickens, Jules Verne, Vannevar Bush to my #PLN ?

My short answer: Yes

Yesterday Rick asked in the chat of Exploring PLN session : So I’m wondering, if I read a lot of Charles Dickens, does that make him part of
my PLN?

I joined this exploration as the train was already starting intrigued by a mention of #xplrpln by @ActivateLearn during last #lrnchat. So this is my contribution to the blog posts on #PLN

My long answer

I’m using Jules Verne as my Dickens, cultural gap obliges.

Agent versus source

Obvioulsy Jules Verne is no more among us for more than 100 years, as such he can’t be an agent, an actor of my PLN. However he is still influencial in a least two ways:

– What I marveled about as a young French kid while reading his books is still propelling me today.  What could we invent to make our life richer, easier. His ability to invent from thin air features, devices is a creative trick. Some people would find Steve Jobs more actual, more reachable alas from a factual point they don’t differ.

– His works are references, people could understand references, personas, concepts. So as such he is still a facilitator, a connection available for however is interested or share his views.  far nearer from us “How we may think”, Vannevar Bush left us in 1974 and I’m still working on this idea, isn’t “Section 8: The trails made can be shared with others” related to #PLN ? So former influencers can still connect people and serve as source of knowledge. Since it is one of the caracteristics of the individuals I place in my PLN, Vannevar, Jules and Steve are welcome.

Features of PLN members

When I started to place people in my Kneaver I started to ponder , should I place

  • Authors, source of information, I keep ? Yes
  • People I know and who influence my work ? Not sure, I changed now my answer is yes.
  • People I don’t know but influence my work by their activity ? Yes because I reference them in my thinking, writing

So it seemed reasonnable to add very uptodate attributes to the type “person” : TwitterHandle, email address, blog site.

Wait, what is the twitter handle of “Jules Verne”, where is his blog ?

So yes we really have different people in our head

  • Influencers : people whose ideas, works influence us AND others. I will keep their wikipedia page, the list of their books or publications. Influencers are typically fostering communities around their ideas. They act as intermediates, match makers unwillingly.
  • Agents : people who continue to act and could be named as subjects in sentences in present form. Seth Godin is saying a lot of interesting things every day but I don’t know him, Ican’t probe him. Typically I will have the twitter handle, blog address of them.
  • Peers : people with whom a bi-directional communication can take place. Typically I will end up having their email adress, have them on Google+
  • Acquaintances : people I know but don’t have communications related to my work. I will not keep them here unless our relationships change, could happen.

So Jules Verne will be an Influencer not an agent of my PLN.

As I started Kneaver I was more on the formal, explicit, articulated, encyclopedic Knowledge. As I moved forward on the software, I became more mature on the nature of what I know, learn and share. I realized that most of what I know is under formation, knowledge to be, ideas that slowly become concrete by aggregating around emerging concepts like concretion sedimentation. So Kneaver became more a process support than a repository. Lately I became aware of the values of co-thinking, thinking in a continous network and I understood that in our time Knowledge as to be connected to communication. As one was saying “the network is the computer”  in 1984 (nice date, didn’t realize) , in 2013 the network is the Knowledge. What you know is what your network knows, if only because this is what you could know is a short feature by learning from others.

This opens a lot of new desirable features all of them very challenging for the software architect I am.

Mutabiliy of Humans

Humans vary, either willingly, on purpose or unwillingly.

Some interesting person could just decided that she changes her domain of activity, knowledge. In this case she will not stay as an active member of my network. Didn’t happen recently but it happened for former coworkers who completely reoriented their carreers.

Sympathy could change as well. Establishing peers relationships depends not only on the capacities but also on the willingness to share which is at least partial motivated by the pleasure we have. Respect, affinities, understanding are part of it. In this perspective it’s always an interesting experience to meet IRL someone we followed on Twitter. Lol.

Some people can be very alive, actual, present but just be unreachable because they live in different spheres. I’ve got plenty of suggestions for Obama, but I’m not sure he would willing to use my knowledge 🙂

And the opposite happen. I met people whose work I was using, following for years, 8 hours a day just by chance (Bjarne Stroustrup, love the song), or musicians (picked me while I was hitchicking ).

People just retire,

And ultimately people leave this world. This will happen to all of us.

What shall we do in our web of ideas in our brain. Remove the node corresponding to the person who left his body ? What this ramification in my mind related to his body or what he create, left behind. Clearly it’s more his, her ideas. So the node should stay.

And this is it.

People have different aspects with no clear boundaries, they change, they can influence without being acting. If one want to model his Knowledge flows it has to include both reachable persons and abstract influencers. In doubt add them all.