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Posts tagged social science

from "Twittering Our Lives Away," by Michael Metzger, Comment Magazine, 28 August 2009

Twitter has been described as perhaps one of the greatest technological innovations since the telegraph. It will better connect us. Perhaps. But what will it undo?

Benedictine monks invented the mechanical clock in the 12th century to remind workers to take periodic Sabbath breaks. They never imagined someone like Frederick Taylor, known as the Father of Scientific Management, would use clocks to time workers in order to increase productivity.

William Farish (a Cambridge University tutor) never imagined his idea of numerical grading—unheard of before his time—would eventually marginalize mentoring. Before 1792, students were evaluated through dialogue, not digits. This conversation required a tutor. Numerical grading has wiped out mentoring.

Now consider Twitter—a wonderful new technology promising us the world. It can do a lot. What might it undo? How about paying attention?