Moving at the Speed of Creativity by Wesley Fryer

Disruptive Technology Censorship?

This past weekend I finished writing a new article I had intended to publish in the TechEdge, the journal of the Texas Computer Education Association. I have been a regular columnist for the TechEdge since 1997, all my published articles are available online in my “Tools for the TEKS: Integrating Technology in the Classroom” article archive.

I received a phone call today, however, which changed that plan. TCEA is planning to sign a deal with a commercial company to provide free blogging services to its members, and views my article (which encourages educators to use a variety of blogging tools, but “tag” posts with a common word so blog search tools like Technorati can index them dynamically) as an opinion which would contravene their upcoming commercial arrangement. As a result, they won’t publish the article.

Haven’t run into a publishing situation like this since I was in the Air Force and wrote an article I wanted to submit for magazine publication, and had to get someone in the PR office to read and approve it. Interesting. The official flak I received for writing “Wagging the Dog in Educational Technology:?Elevating ‘IT’ Into the Classroom” in 1998 from my employer also comes to mind, but that was post-publication censorship– not pre-publication censorship like we have in this case.

For now, I have taken the article offline while I seek an alternative print publisher for a modified version I am working on.

I do not view this situation as upsetting, rather, I find it to be quite instructive. The disintermediation of traditional publishing that I discuss in the article is naturally a disruptive phenomenon, I think. I am not going to rush to conclusions, we’ll see how this situation continues to develop, but my perception at this point is along the lines of Virginia Postrel’s analysis in her book, ““The Future and Its Enemies: The Growing Conflict Over Creativity, Enterprise, and Progress.”. Traditional, established organizations often play the part of “statists” rather than “dynamists” in opposing change, or at least being reluctant to embrace it.

That may be the case here. If so, it is not necessarily a bad thing, more an expected thing. I would expect TCEA to come around eventually. Blogging, according to my own crystal ball, is here to stay, and publication methods like blog tagging that allow users to “blog a conference” are going to move forward with or without formal organizational support.

If I get a modified version of the article published, I’ll let you know here, and I’ll probably discuss this situation in an upcoming podcast. 🙂

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