This blog post is my keynote address to IACSS09.

200px-MarshallMcLuhan Source

If a new technology extends one or more of our senses outside us into the social world, then new ratios among all of our senses will occur in that particular culture.

When the sense ratios alter in any culture then what had appeared lucid before may suddenly become opaque, and what had been vague or opaque will become translucent.

Instead of tending towards a vast Alexandrian library the world has become a computer, an electronic brain … (Marshall McLuhan)

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This process has accelerated since these insights were first published in McLuhan’s work. The Twitter example from Infoharmoni exemplifies this I believe. (“This is a dynamic network, showing what companies the 200 most prolific tweets were talking about. Both people and companies are nodes, and the edges change over the course of the day. Everytime a person tweets about a company, an edge is added connecting that person to the company. After 30 minutes, the edge decays. The companies are labeled, and the individuals are anonymized here”.)

I did not mention McLuhan’s global village ideas I made in a post recently but I have taken the fate of equus grevyi very seriously!


Males are highly territorial, claiming prime watering and grazing areas with piles of dung called middens. They generally live alone in their territories, except when females move through during mating season. Non-territorial males travel together in groups of two to six animals. This social system differs from that of other zebras, which typically form female harems that live in one male’s territory all year. During dry months, many Grevy’s zebras migrate to greener mountain pastures, but males on prime territories often remain there year-round.

Interestingly “each zebra has its own unique set of stripes, which are as distinctive as fingerprints”.

I would like to use the ecology of Grevy’s Zebra to discuss social networks stimulated by Dan Rubinstein’s 2007 paper and my experience of connectivism through my participation in CCK08 (and CCK09).

It is a discussion about digital ethnography too inspired by some of Michael Wesch‘s insights.

To be continued …

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