#ET4Online – Beyond Alt-metrics: Identities and Influence Online


Workshop Details

Bonnie Stewart
University of Prince Edward Island, CA


  • Networked Scholarship – Higher education | what people had for lunch and the intersection is where Bonnie spends her time!
  • Conceptual Tools – They way we think and who we are as educators.
  • Our Inheritance – Scarcity of Knowlege
  • The idea of the university comes out of the concept of scarcity that knowledge is rare, that the university is a place to gather the resources that is known and to gather resources that are passed on and you go to the university to gain knowledge.
  • Now we have “Knowledge Abundance” and that changes what we do.
  • Sometimes we treat education as the digital tools are sufficient.  If all of what you are doing can be done with a computer than you are missing the opportunity to take advantage.
  • Sometimes we hand the data off to the vendor.  BUT if we had everything over to vendors we are missing the individuals effort to contribute.
  • Structure of Abundance = Networks (Closure, Borkerage, Degree, Closeness, Betweenness)

Networks are not just for consuming, but connecting… For social aspects and not just for information.


  •  Price of admission = public identity
  • If you know some people here, you don’t know someone is there unless they signal. You can lurk, but you can never fully experience the network if you are not public.
  • Many-to-many Communications – Rather than broadcast “TV”, with many-to-many there are threads of conversation between people.

  • Some nodes have more influence than others.  Some users have greater spheres of influence and reputations.
  • Knowledge abundance enables us to create ourselves as network node, forming webs of visible (&invisible) connections.
  • Networks have their own logics.

  • In abundance… the gates are open and you do not need a diploma or a piece of paper credential to come in and contribute knowledge. So in an era of social networks that people with ideas don’t have to be those with higher credentials.
  • Altmetrics: a manifesto – “No one can read everything.  We rely on filters to make sense of the scholarly literature, but the narrow, traditional filters are being swamped. However, the growth of new, online scholarly tools allows us to make new filters; these altmetrics reflect the broad, rapid impact of scholarship in this burgeoning ecosystem. We call for more tools and research based on altmetrics.”
  • What is a scholarship of abundance? Identities and influence: a study.  Bonnie spent 3 months on Twitter and followed people. What are the network signals of credibility and how do you build trust.
  • The number of followers on Twitter is often the 2nd most view information beyond the name. What is that person’s influence.  Also people look at the number of tweets. This gives an understanding of how long they have been on Twitter and how active you are.  These numbers contribute to interest in getting a followers.  Your bio also gives you an identity or belonging.  Now with Twitter you get photo/video metrics and favorites. Favorites are a way of signaling and your level of engagement.
  • The findings: in profiles the institutional affiliation doesn’t matter, individuals cultivate reputation, visibility, and audiences.
  • Common interests are important for social following and affinity.
  • Influence = perception of capacity to contribute.
  • Also important is a capacity to “stand out” and make yourself unique.
  • The biggest piece is contributing to the knowledge network.  That “matter-ing matters”.


  • Some voices get to matter more than others and there is still social bias.
  • In looking at identities and influence, we are in a time of public scholarship of abundance (consuming and sharing new ideas, disseminating information, brining public into the conversations, connection broadly, brining more of the self in the work being done, etc.) and yet it is also more because it exceeds the boundaries of the “institution”.


  • Higher ed no longer has a monopoly of information. We need to learn the recognize what is being done as valuable and learn to engage with the scholarship of abundance. The old status model of what counts is no longer.
  • We need to open the gates of many-to-many communications.


What signals will you send about your identity?  How will you help learners cultivate their network?  How will you contribute to the knowledge abundance network?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s