Not so long ago, I posted an entry called "Lurking as Community" (http://www.hastac.org/node/1420) in which I noted that, at virtually any moment, day or night, there are a few hundred to several hundred "lurkers" on the site, real humans (not bots) performing silent forms of social networking by reading and, often, passing on the information but often without commenting. (During the DML Competition, that goes up to several thousand, not surprisingly. We're battening down the hatches for the new Competition that will begin at the end of August.) My point? It's fine to lurk. Lurking builds a community and, at present, this site isn't the most flexible for social networking anyway.
BUT HASTAC is about to gear up its social networking efforts and we hope some more of you engaged readers will participate. HASTAC Scholars Director Erin Lamb has already posted about the exciting new program she is implementing on behalf of HASTAC's leadership, where a cadre of something like fifty students, undergraduate and graduate, as well as other connected folks, will be named HASTAC Scholars, receive a very modest fellowship, and will blog or post a few times a month about events or ideas or projects in their center, or institution, or region, or even in an area of technological development with the HASTAC creative design/critical inquiry twist that they find most exciting. Their real estate on the HASTAC site will allow for social networking among themselves--virtual book groups, forums on controversial topics, and other such interchanges--and also open to you, our cherished HASTAC lurkers.
If you want us to REALLY love, you, respond! Participate! Contribute! Add your own content and ideas from your region or area of concern and, perhaps, in the next round, if you are a student or interested young innovator, someone will nominate you to be a HASTAC Scholar too. And even if you don't qualify in that capacity, your wisdom, insight, humor, innovation will be appreciated. Networkers are Beloved at HASTAC!
Finally, in ten days we will have a new Director of Social Networking for the Digital Media and Learning Competition Winners. Before we launch the new Competition, we hope to flesh out the Winners Blog with lots of updates on how all the projects are going. The MacArthur Foundation is making the bold move of bucking the national trend toward quantitative assessments which--as many of us in grant land know--too often means people aim low, coming up with guideposts they know they can hit so they can produce an assessment measure that proves they've hit it. Half of some grant time (and funding) is spent on developing tools for assessing outcomes that every one pretty much predicted in advance. It's a parody of assessment and MacArthur is using this bold HASTAC/MacArthur DML Competition to try something new. Every few months, our winners will be asked to file a public progress report, lessons learned, frustrations, milestones, goals, things they have learned and that we can all learn from, and interactive too. You can network with them, respond, ask questions, be involved, offer insights and suggestions.
Ah, thus the lovely flower image today. The nicest side of social networking. We invite you to join us. Lurkers at HASTAC are always a welcome part of our Community. Social networkers out there: We LOVE you. You are HASTAC.
---For this unexpectedly lyrical representation of "networks," special thanks to Flickr photographer desivilla. Please click on the image for more photographs and full documentation.