Systems Science & Possible Applications

While searching for information and sites related to Science I stumbled across the International Society for The Systems Sciences.  In July they’ll be holding a conference on the following topic which I found very intriguing:

Systems that Make a Difference

Location: University of Wisconsin, Memorial Union, 800 Langdon Street, Madison, Wisconsin

The title for this conference borrows from Gregory Bateson’s definition of information as “a difference that makes a difference.” The question for systems researchers and practitioners is, “what difference are we making?”

What difference are we making and is our information and our information system a difference that makes a difference?

We need to start from a very basic perspective…you at a computer, connected occasionally to, producing content which is presented to the group, the readers of the site and readers in other places via the news feeds, blog comments, directories and community sharing sites.

So the majority of our group information system involves the digital realm.  The digital world can be very quick to change, sites that were prominent one year ago were left in the dust because of their inability to adapt.  Active sites with blogs and news feeds did very well while those sites without the tools suffered.  Creating and learning about the best ways of sharing information will be beneficial to you and the group.  A single post on DocuD can now be seen in any of 500 locations at once in close to real time.  So we are an information and news network.

Now how do we produce the best results from our work.  How do we become the Difference that Makes the Difference.  Well, a few examples will help.  TruthOut not only has digital teams, they have real on the ground teams with cameras and notepads in hand and they also have excellent attitudes.  DemocraticUnderground and MoveOn have ways of presenting information so that the most important/popular causes are shown to the group.  This creates a sense of community and empowerment.

We have the recommended diary area and the front page, these work well for bringing the best work to the surface but is that all we want from our information system?  Is that all we expect from it?  Can we provide more direction to our readers?  Can we involve them more in our system?  Have you live blogged before?  Are you good at interviews?  How can you bring the outside world into Docudharma and how can you bring the concepts found at Docudharma into the real world?

You are the writers, I am simply promoting you to the best of my ability.  So it is up to you to Be the Difference.  Any and all thoughts about our current information system and how you see it interacting with other systems would be appreciated.  I’m thinking about things from the tech level but you could be seeing this from other angles and your perspectives could help the group grow to another level.


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  1. don’t just think outside it

  2. Because docuD is relatively small, it has a friendliness and appreciation of essays that is really special and rare.  When a blog gets too big, it produces all kinds of pack animal behavior, lots of drive-by comments, stupidity, fighting that you don’t often get here.  So for me the question is how to retain the comfort and ease and quality of the site even as it grows larger and has more contributors and commenters.

    I’m not sure how one would go about doing that, but imo failing to do that leads to loss of energy in the site and people going elsewhere…  

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