Sunday, May 31, 2009

The "Badge."

I've put together a basic looking badge to put on your blog. If you can or want to, please feel free to customize it!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The OSS Network:

The purpose of the Open Source Sociology Network was greatly inspired by Open Anthropology Project. Our intentions are the same- to enhance communications between social scientists, taking collaboration and information exchange to a new plateau. A network of blogs can help support each other, give valuable feedback and help sociologists and other social scientists remain up to date with current events, publications and projects. It also will provide everyone with an easier means to share their ideas, and create new projects. The internet is a valuable and powerful tool that sociologists can utilize!

My job here is just to help string the network together, adding more blogs to the network. To view a similar project, I recommend checking out Open Anthropology's plan:
A place to share ideas
A place to find like-minded anthropologists
A place to collaborate
A place to hold virtual conferences
A place to host podcasts
A place to ask questions
A place to learn about new tools for anthropology (online tools, field tools, etc.)
A place to find resources (e.g. databases, good grad programs, upcoming colloquia, software, field opportunities)
A place to publish
The idea of an engaged anthropology for the 21st century in relation to the digital revolution
Group blog with posts from both Keith and others
Forum for discussion
Online press to publish longer pieces
The incorporation of Twitter, social bookmarking, wiki, etc

This list is wonderful. If any sociologists would like to help me come up with a similar list, or contribute their ideas to the development of this network, please feel free to join in on the discussion, email me or leave comments. Also, feel free to post links to your own blogs, so that they can be added.

What's currently on the agenda for the OSS:

1) Continue to spread the word and link blogs.
2) Develop a neater looking badge, as well as any other networking tools.
3) Possibly create a ning website, this would help create a "hub" for us to further discuss ideas.

Google "Wave," the tip of socio-technological evolution?

Google's latest project, "Wave," is still in development, but they've already given us a great description:

What is a wave?

A wave is equal parts conversation and document. People can communicate and work together with richly formatted text, photos, videos, maps, and more.
A wave is shared. Any participant can reply anywhere in the message, edit the content and add participants at any point in the process. Then playback lets anyone rewind the wave to see who said what and when.
A wave is live. With live transmission as you type, participants on a wave can have faster conversations, see edits and interact with extensions in real-time.

In essence, Wave appears to be a virtual workstation. To me, this seems to be a further evolution in the growing trend towards ever-more-collaborative technologies. Apple has a similar idea built into their operating system, Leopard, where users can share a desktop. These ideas have the potential to really evolve the collaborative-media sphere that is quickly becoming the most interesting phenomenon the internet has to offer. More updates as they come along. For now, here's the video offered on the Wave page:

Pirate Party Gains Numbers, Support

After losing a trial this spring, The Pirate Bay's has appealed for a re-trial in a higher Swedish court. Since then, there has been an explosion of political support, even the creation of a "Pirate Party." Do we have the right to share and download movies with each other? If you're not profiting from it, Spain thinks so. In Pamplona spain, the defendant was acquitted of his charges: downloading and sharing thousands of movies and songs, due to the lack of any evidence that he was profiting from said file-sharing. At least someone is making sense! There is a lot of international pressure built up to support this crusade, but equally there are growing numbers, particularly of the younger generations on the opposing side.

The battle can get messy, but what it comes down to is a fight for media rights. Do we have the right to share information and media freely and openly? Is the traditional legal copyright system actually impeding creativity and expressive freedom? The Pirate Party, and others like them think so. Hollywood and other media companies (often not the artists themselves), disagree. Year after year, they attempt to crack down on "pirating" files, but it seems to no avail. As the older generations get older, and the younger generations mature into the cultural and political spheres, we might see decisions reflecting the Spanish court's attitude towards media sharing in the internet age.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Spotlight: "Institution vs. Collaboration"

Clay Shirky is the author of Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing without Organizations. In this video, he articulates just how society is transforming from the ground up. Instead of needing institutions and "centralized" agents, we are growing towards a decentralized and network-style way of running society. Technology empowers everyday people to do things never before possible.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

What's out there already...?

There are a number of projects already going on right now in the same spirit of "open" or "public" sociology. For instance, Public Sociology itself has the same goal. There is also Sociologists Without Borders.
However, OSS and the "social science commons" are a bit different in the sense that these new ideas utilize the blogosphere to be the means to collaborate and network. The most powerful tool we have today is the ability to collaborate and create organizations without much hierarchy or bureaucratic structure. As Clay Shirky says, it's a matter of institution vs. collaboration, and collaboration is becoming an ever more successful model for getting things done. "Public Sociology," as its stated on the website, has the task of "Institutionalizing Public Sociologies." I'm not sure we'd want to do this. Rather, let's compliment the already existing efforts with a networked, grassroots project. Imagine even a few hundred sociologist, anthropologist and political scientist bloggers, chatting away in the blogosphere. Closer friendships, ties and even activities and research could arise from there, without the constraints of needing an "institution" first, or even an official journal. In other words, I'm arguing for us to use the social networking tools to help us create an organic collaborative community.

That being said, check out the "Sociologists without Borders: Think Tank."A good place to start!

What is open source sociology?

The purpose of this blog, as well as other blogs that join the network, is to engage in a simple but growing medium of communication. Internet communication is becoming an integral part of social communication in modern societies. As the means to express ourselves enhances and evolves, this interconnected, networked social structure emerging in the 21st century has potential to revolutionize the way society works. Many have taken the networked, decentralized structure of the internet, and used it to develop the "open source" philosophy. Originally starting as a term for sharing programming source codes, "openly" in a collaborative atmosphere, open source has become a word for a growing collaborative way of creating content. Aside from operating systems and websites, pictures, music, writing, videos and film have all become an expression of this new idea. Websites like Creative Commons offer both a community and a means to license your work for a new internet age.

The latest aspect of society to be influenced by "open source," are the scientific fields. The power of sharing scientific knowledge with other researchers across the globe can revolutionize scientific development. Researchers can cross-examine each other's work, learn the pros and cons and more efficiently. Other new technological developments means departments and organizations, no matter where they are, can share their work and collaborate. This was never possible before. The latest and greatest example is Science Commons.

What "Open Sociology," means to do is begin applying this not only to the hard sciences, but the social sciences. We seek to create the beginning of a "social science commons." The internet offers us a powerful transformative tool for communication, research, and social activism. Why not take advantage of it? That's the purpose of this blog, and the blog network in a nutshell. We aim to plant the seeds for a grassroots network of sociologists, anthropologists and other social science professors, students and advocates, to share their knowledge, collaborate on research and activism, and help the social sciences take an updated and evolved place in an ever changing civilization.

"I believe that the world needs public sociology - a sociology that transcends the academy - more than ever. Our potential publics are multiple, ranging from media audiences to policy makers, from silenced minorities to social movements. They are local, global, and national. As public sociology stimulates debate in all these contexts, it inspires and revitalizes our discipline. In return, theory and research give legitimacy, direction, and substance to public sociology. Teaching is equally central to public sociology: students are our first public for they carry sociology into all walks of life. Finally, the critical imagination, exposing the gap between what is and what could be, infuses values into public sociology to remind us that the world could be different." -Michael Buroway

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    open source sociology by Jeremy Johnson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.
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