Saturday, March 31, 2012
Thursday, March 29, 2012
You all wrote very interesting articles on groupthink. I would have to disagree with some points made though. Cain, your arguments for getting more creative thoughts from solitude and having a groupthink mentality in a collaborative workplace are invalid. The very point of a collaborative effort in the workplace is often to bounce ideas back and forth while someone plays devil's advocate, all the while helping to come up with the best idea possible as a team.
Keen, your worries about about democratized media leading to everyone on the internet producing and contributing and no one actually listening are unfounded. If there was no one there to listen then there wouldn't be motivation for anyone to create or post any kind of media. Yes, there has been a huge influx of people self promoting their work on sites like Youtube, but in the end it's a self sufficient system. Like the economics' invisible hand theory, only the truly talented - and somewhat lucky - will survive. Mediocrity will not catch on.
Shirky, I would have to disagree with Cunningham's assumption that "groups of people who want to collaborate also tend to trust one another". Staying with the Wikipedia example, I don't think people really trust one another just because they are contributing to or reading the same articles. People are very quick to use other outlets on the internet to fact check what they are reading if they believe someone has posted an error. I believe that if you checked the edit history on some of the most popular article, it would show you that people have disagreed on many topics including simple facts like dates, locations, etc.
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Reading your article made me really think about how helpful or harmful it is to be in a group. When you are working within a group you have to rely on other people who sometimes you don't know very well. Because you don't know them very well you are not aware of their character traits. There are times when you are on a group with individuals who are completely capable of handling all assignments and tasks that are thrown at them; but there are also other times where sometimes other members of the group has to pick up the slack of maybe one or two stragglers. I believe that working alone has its benefits, this is because you have full creative control over everything that is going on with the assignment or project. You mention that especially in schooling there is a group aspect. From personal experience and the DCIM minor, I am aware that there is a huge group work aspect. Just this semester alone I have over three group projects.
I think that by reading your article as well as Clay Shirky and Andrew Keen, I have come to the conclusion that group work is more of a positive than a negative. When working in a group you have the ability to collaborate and bounce ideas off of each other. This also goes back to the saying "two heads are better than one," when you have multiple creative minds working on one project chances are the results will be better than that of one single thought. Working in groups can sometimes cause disagreements on creative ideas, but if groups can work together to discuss and work through problems then they will ultimately be more successful.
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
After reading your article I began to think about both the pros and the cons of groups and groupwork. I know in your article you state ""individuals almost always perform better than groups in both quality and quantity, and group performance gets worse as group size increases", which I partly agree with because I don't like working in groups myself, however I do think that sometimes group work is necessary and important for self-development, production and life in general. Although working all has many advantages, the main one being not having to deal with various opposing views, however dealing with multiple points of views and insight is the beauty of life. Working in a group allows more than one person to contribute to the thought process, which may help people view something from a different angle and perspective. I think you should read Andrew Keen's article to get a better understand of how group work works! In terms of dealing with the media group work works because there are multiple jobs and tasks to do for multiple people.
Lately with the rise of "freedom" and user friendly production tools everyone is able to be there own editor, producer, director, etc. I'm not saying that this is a bad thing, but with amateurs that lack the proper training and understand of tools and production methods, them being a one man band isn't helping their audience, nor is it helping themselves. Everyone needs some sort of guidance and feedback; especially amateurs on the come up. I do agree with Keen that in this sense being a part of a group, and something grander than self, is important and necessary. Without amateurs being a part of a group they are short changing themselves as individuals and their work which they produce. If my ramblings don't make sense think of it this way, you can't have a machine with only one part and expect it to work; even a pencil is comprised of different parts which makes it work and properly do it's job function.
I completely, completely, completely agree with your argument that groupthink is it an all time high and decreasing creativity. "Lone geniuses are out. Collaboration is in." There is no longer individual work, everything has become group work. All of my classes now consist of groupwork instead of individual work. Groupwork and creating relationships is great, but too much of it puts a damper on individual's creativity. I personally come up with better ideas when I am alone than when I am in a group. When I am in a group I rely on the team to come up with the ideas and then I just agree with them. Just as you quoted Picasso, “without great solitude, no serious work is possible.” In groups, team members are subject to groupthink and creating relationships that slow down the work process. I agree with Mr. Wozniak's advice to "work alone... Not on a committee. Not on a team."
This can tie into Keen's article, "The Cult of the Amateur", and Shirky's article, "Personal Motivation Meets Collaborative Production". Keen talks about how in today's society everyone wants to be an artist and there are now a myriad of amateur productions, but really only talented people can be artist. I disagree with his harshness towards individuals wanting to be artists, but I agree that there is too much mediocrity. Just how everyone now wants to be an artist and how now everyone wants to work collaboratively, the truly creative and talented ideas are decreasing because too many people are involved and everything is becoming amateur work. Shirky's article discusses the creation of Wikipedia and how a group of scholars collaborated to create this online encyclopedia that can be viewed and edited by the public. As great as this idea is, it can also create false information. The collaboration of Wikipedia and allowing anyone to edit it can cause individuals to put false information in the articles. I can easily click edit and make up any random shit I want on an article and someone could easily believe it because they believe it is a reliable source. I believe teamwork is great, but teamwork is great for sports and when support and assistance is needed. The truly talented and creative ideas come from the individuals who chose to work alone.
Monday, March 26, 2012
Your article titled “The Rise of the New Groupthink” is one of the most fascinating pieces that I’ve read in a while. It’s so eye opening that it is inspiring and motivating to me to continue to be comfortable with my introverted tendencies and embrace the ideas that come to me when I’m working alone. It’s amazing to me how much my education has relied on teaching me how to productively participate in groups as if that was the end all be all nugget of knowledge. If I leave college knowing anything it should be that I know how to communicate with others. While this is certainly a useful skill there seems to be a point of saturation where being with other people is just unproductive and even hurtful. Andrew Keen explains a situation similar to this in chapter 1 of his book “The Great Seduction from the Cult of the Amateur.” Being around people who continued to want something that seemed so totally wrong he was forced to be alone just to save his sanity and ideas.
I just love how your article flies in the face of everything that I’ve been taught throughout my education career. I too sat in desk pods in elementary and even middle school and I do not feel any wiser for it. At my current internship there is an open floor plan and I’m self-conscious throughout the whole day not to mention distracted by other’s phone conversations. And when I need to talk on the phone it’s almost terrifying for me. I can see how productivity can increase when people are able to escape. But I can also see your point how groups online are extremely successful and that that’s the beauty of the Internet. As explained by Clay Shirky this power given to people behind a screen is what made Wikipedia so successful. Strangers came together and created an entire network of knowledge and something that is so impressive and vital to us that we it has become the first place to look for an answer.
Thank you for your insight. It just might be life changing.
Dear, Steinkuehler and Williams,
Your research into how MMO’s can be third places is quite fascinating and the two-method approach is certainly novel as you state. I’m not really a gamer at all but I was into video games when I was younger. Back then, though, there were not PS3’s or Xbox 360’s so most of the time I would play by myself or with a couple friends. I didn’t see video games or MMO’s as a place to meet people because no one else was doing that. Even know, with it so prevalent in our culture, it’s hard for me to understand how people can be so into these virtual worlds but still be mildly socially competent. Your article, however, has proven to me that there is more than just meets the eye to the third place.
I think that there was no other way to come to your conclusion than by using two different “lines of inquiry.” You were able to prove through the media effects approach that MMO’s are indeed very similar to the real third places that we in habit everyday. And through the sociocultural perspective that players who are participating in the virtual world are gaining nearly as much social capital, or creating it, as they would be if they were in the traditional third places. This is fascinating because the two approaches not only support each other but they are able to support the bigger question of what benefit do these MMO’s really have and are they socially healthy? The most interesting point that you stated in your conclusion was how this benefit decreases as more time is invested into the world. This makes sense because focus if put more into succeeding in the game than creating bonds with fellow gamers. However, I do believe that even when gamers are focused on a goal of the game, they can build ties with others but they might not have the remaining energy or desire to ensure that those bonds last.
Your article on group think brought up a few topics that I thought were very interesting and are things that are changing our world in my opinion. I think that group think can be a good and bad thing.
First, lets take the good side. In history some of the greatest findings, movements, discovers, etc have been made off the shear fact that people are so closely knitted that they believe in one thing. You can look at the civil rights movement, any successful team you can think of, or even teams of doctors that discover life changing findings in medicine. Group think can be a good thing and at the very basic levels groups and teams.
On the other hand, the bad side. There are so many bad examples of group think that have been bad the list goes on and on. Some are the Holocaust, slavery, gangs, and many more. These are examples of when group think gets taken to the extreme. Usually in these cases, there is a figure head that has his/her beliefs and instills them on to groups members and then the members align themselves within the belief system. This version of group think is always bad for the most part. This only happens within groups where creativity is limited and no one has a true voice, it is only about what the group thinks and nothing more or less.
I think group think for the most part is bad cause it hiders innovation, stops the generations of ideas, and hurts productivity. Yes, sometimes group think is good but only for so long until things go bad and it always does with group think. Don't believe me, try it yourself.
Dear Susan Cain,
Your New York Times article about groupthink really did get me thinking. Through years of schooling, beginning as early as elementary school, I’ve been encouraged to collaborate with others on certain tasks. (Like you mentioned, the desks in my classrooms were even set up in pods too). After reading your article, I’m realizing that many of those instances may have caused me, as well as other members in my group working on the tasks, to lose our own creative thoughts along the way, and just succumb to someone else’s.
I agree with the quote you included in your article by Adrien Furnham, “If you have talented and motivational people, they should be encouraged to work alone when creativity or efficacy is the highest priority.” You make a very good point about people sometimes just sitting back and latching onto someone else’s ideas as their own, while losing site of their own opinions. Working in hybrid situations like we do for some of our DCIM classes may be beneficial to generating ideas. While working collectively in an online atmosphere, there still is that individual component, because people are not physically in the same location.
Aside from these reasons, there definitely could be some positive things coming out of groupthink. One person may have a good idea and hearing feedback from someone else can make their idea even stronger. In his article, “Personal Motivation Meets Collaborative Production from Here Comes Everybody,” Clay Shirky agrees, calling the effects of group collaboration “profound.” Shirky talks about Ward Cunningham, developer of the first Wiki. With the “Edit this” feature on Wiki sites, the article explains, the “reader [can] add, alter or delete the contents of the page.” There is a medium or regulator standing in the way with a book or magazine, the article explains, but, with Wiki sites, anyone can freely share information, and in the case that something may be wrong, all of the previous edits are saved and can be referred back to. Wikipedia is great for certain things, but the major downside is that people can be sharing inaccurate information, which is published before its deemed reliable.
In his article “The Great Seduction from the Cult of the Amateur,” Andrew Keen seems skeptical and hesitant to believe all of the information that the media feeds him. He would agree with you about groupthink to an extent. He writes that “Today’s media is shattering the world into a billion personalized truths, each seemingly equally valid and worthwhile.” In today’s society, anybody can produce content, and encourage others to listen and buy into their ideas and the message they’re trying to convey. Since people have their own perspectives on different issues, it can be difficult to stand one’s own ground and believe their own opinion when others and the media are trying to force another idea upon them.
Thank you for reading,
Dear Susan Cain,
Your article, The Rise of the New Groupthink was interesting to read. I believe many of the issues you mentioned did not acknowledge the other side. You mention the issue of workers not having private spaces. I believe that workers may enjoy community places to do work, like a conference room, but also value having their own space. I believe this is why many workers complain about the open-plan office, not the fact that they must collaborate with other works. Also when people do have work they need to complete individually, it can be distracting to see and hear all the rest of the company at work.
However Andrew Keens chapter The Great Seduction in his book The Cult of the Armature has a different point of view on the impact of Wikipedia and the Internet in general. His example of the cause of death of Ken Lay makes you think about the content that is on the site. If there are some people dedicated to publishing a particular fact or lie, could the truth be lost on this site that so many people use for information?