Peers are important for development. It’s their reflection that makes us act, (re-)think and it are the peers around us that make us move forward faster.
This blog is a peer. I write thoughts and ideas. By reading comments, e-mail, incoming links and sometimes talking to people about certain posts I look at it differently and it changes or develops my view. It helps me go further.
The peer for my blog (and my thoughts) is the reach it has. Not so much in the number, but the knowledge and expertise of the people reading it and expressing it.
Get in contact
Meeting your peers every day is what I miss most about Art School. The most important thing was just being there. Talking to people and more important being open about your ideas and thoughts. Sharing your thoughts about great work made by others. If you are working it can be very difficult to find peers around you in the workplace.
Peers challenge you to go further, peers challenge you to seek your limits. For example athletes. If you would be the only guy or girl running in the world. You would try to break your personal record. But you would probably perform better if a second runner came around and broke your personal record.
The guys on Wikipedia are editing the stories because they like the fact that they know it better. They have skills and using those skills is what makes them shift upwards in the network of peers.
Engage as a news consumer
What’s the peer system for the news reader? And does it exist? Or can it be created? The peers for a journalist are clear. Someone will always write better articles or the article you would like to have written. I see co-production and an open process (involve readers in your research) as the only way journalism can work under the time pressure created by new media. And this creates enormous opportunities for journalists. Who seem to be pretty pessimistic about the future, I don’t see why.
Making news is (or will be partly) a peer review process. It has always been. Someone writes about a subject and the next day all media will write about it.
Peers vs. Sharing
Is the news consumer a peer? For me important since I’m looking for new directions and experiments on EN.nl. If we see peers as producers most of the news readers will not be producers. They have certain knowledge and skills that are valuable at some point. But this will only be 1% of the readers or less. And this is good. With 1% of your readers being part-time active a website of reasonable size will have more editors than any other news website.
Engage the other 99%
How can you engage the other 99%. The other part of a social network who are instead of peers (talking about what you have made) more into sharing (talking about what you have seen).
I myself share a lot through e-mail, websites like Delicious, this blog and Google Reader. But if I look at what I share there is almost never a news story. I share stories from newspapers, but almost never the news.
The fun thing is that when you are talking to someone you don’t know that well at the coffee machine, your conversation is often about the news.
What is the social umfeld of a newsarticle? Are it the comments? And how should these comments be structured? Within an anonymous group ‘all the readers’ or divided into smaller groups with the people you know, like or admire. Should news be structured into topics to create a social atmosphere?
I would like to involve people online the same way as they engage offline, talking about the news. And I have some ideas and experience on the subject.
What is it you think that truly engages the other 99%?
An update on EN.nl will follow, lots of new things have happened, creating endless new possibilities