Friday, 10 February 2012

Blogphilosophy: why I stopped measuring my e-ego #rankingsoftware

Sometimes I need a good (figurative) slap in the face to keep it real. A few weeks ago David Bezemer put my feet back on the ground in a tweeted reaction (@dbezemer) on me sending him a 'klout' invitation: "over my dead body! there are enough people out there desperately measuring their e-ego, I do not feel good about that".

So he got me thinking ... and he is right (of course). Why would I even look up and share my uncritically analyzed ranking in anything with others, if I am propagating critical awareness, open learning, open standards... openness? If I want to promote an idea, that is what I should do. It is not about the rank or level, it is about the act or idea itself. And so it should be, and I should keep this as my main focus.

The Arab spring or the occupy movement are not about the quantity, but the quality of argument. The same with any content that I value, it is seldom the most followed person or topic (Lady Gaga, Superbowl...), but it is content or a person or idea that makes me tick and get motivated. I mean, I can think for myself, or at least I think so - so I should feel confident with my actions and with what I do simply for the sake of it.
Of course there is nothing wrong with looking at 'the most, the longest...', but if it does not say anything about the essence itself, and it only means 'being picked up by many', it's not worth anything. And when the idea of 'most, best..' is translated into a general, computer-driven algorithm not made by myself, chances are slim that the ranking results are actually of interest to me (well, not sure about the effect of google search algorithm, I could see this as an exception).

So I stripped my blog from 'Klout'. However I did keep my 'top blogposts' as a widget... after considering that this might be of genuine interest to others as this is content and not just a number coming from an unclear algorithm. I did the same with other ranking tools and ... it feels right.

Another reason to strip away nonsensical ranking stuff were my own actions. I do not follow the highest ranking Facebook people or companies, but I do want to stay on top of individuals that inspire (Anticon's music company, Stephen Downes Open Learning Daily, Janet Clarey, Wilfred Ruben's blog, Henry Rollins ... your blogs and tweets). There are also a lot of fresh researchers and teachers on mLearning like Dieter Blomme, Ronda Zelezny-Green, who do not necessarily have their own webspace (yet), but who keep me on my toes with their insights and reflections via their comments and tweets - they rock! and it is just great to connect with them: fresh ideas, new ways of attaining knowledge, out-of-the-box thinking... no need to know their ranking, they simply inspire.

So thanks David, I needed that.