[Air-l] Learning from Lachlan

Michael Gurstein mgurst at vcn.bc.ca
Thu Mar 21 04:54:46 PST 2002

In the spirit of learning and benefiting from one's experiences (and I
should say, I agree with the decision of the list managers to unsub Lachlan
since his intent was clearly to disrupt rather than interact/communicate), I
think it might be useful to think a little about what one can learn from the
experience with Lachlan and particularly how the list as a collectivity
could benefit from that experience.

Lachlan for me at first was a breath of fresh air (AoIR) in that he wrote in
a conversational style, he addressed subjects/ideas and people directly, and
he broadened the range of subject areas in what I would consider a useful
way--all of these moving the list out of the rather narrow confines of the
graduate seminar room into the more hurly burly environment of the Net (or
at least what the Net used to be in the days when Usenet rather than the
Shopping Cart was the dominant mode of Internet based interactivity).

In addition at first he seemed interested in pursuing the discussion around
one or another of these subjects/ideas beyond the simple accumulation of
printed references or URLs into an actual engagement around issues of some
interest and even significance.

My interest in the Internet is that it has been, is and gives the appearance
of being a profoundly transformative technology.  Determining the nature of
that transformation, its boundaries, its impacts and its limitations is for
me a very significant task, both in its own right but also and perhaps most
importantly because this can help us as teachers and as citizens influence
and guide this development in socially meaningful and useful ways.

To be useful in those areas, as "Internet Researchers" we must I think, be
open to the broadest range of ideas (and not rush too soon to closure around
what is meaningful or valuable) and we must be willing and able to use the
full capacity of the Net to sustain and enable meaningful interactions
across wide distances both physical and social.

Mike Gurstein

Michael Gurstein, Ph.D.
(Visiting) Professor: School of Management
New Jersey Institute of Technology
Newark, NJ

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