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Networks are linking without hierarchy

Louisville, Kentucky -- Networks live on participation, hierarchy on authority.

Michael Wesch, cultural anthropologist at Kansas State University, talked to the national eXtension community of practice conference today. The people attending are content experts from land-grant universities who work collaboratively across state lines to put peer-reviewed unbiased information on the national Web resource, www.eXtension.org.

Wesch said to make working collaboratively successful
• Empower your members
• Engage them in meaningful projects
• Make room for creativity and play
• Listen
• Inspire the members of your community

“Nobody is as smart as everybody.”
Wesch attributed the quote to Kevin Kelly, founding executive editor of Wired magazine and a former editor/publisher of the Whole Earth Catalog (1952- ).

Social media is impacting our lives in profound ways we may not realize, a cultural revolution, Wesch says. He talked about the power of networks citing Reed’s Law, the assertion of David P. Reed, American computer scientist (1952- ).

Reed's Law
The utility of large networks, particularly social networks, can scale exponentially with the size of the network. This grows much more rapidly than either the number of participants or the number of possible pair connections.

It’s civility in action— empowerment, engagement, creativity, inspiration and accountability.

Michael Wesch, Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology, http://www.ksu.edu/sasw/anthro/wesch.htm

"Reed's law." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reed's_law