One of the social software sites I wish I had more time to delve into is 43Things. It is insanely social (in a good way), with all the pieces running. You have a personalized space, tags, rss, post to blogs, subscribing to flickr feeds, some sort of social FOAFing.

If you have not been there before, it is a place you can list 43 goals, click and see others with the same goals. You can mark off ones achieved, and all of these can be posted to with blog like entries. Once a goal is completed, your entry goes in with the others who have done the same goal. The goals are listed on a tag cloud map.

For example, last yuear I had posted I wanted to run a half marathon. So as of Sunday, I was able to mark this one done, and the individual entry I wrote is now one among 292 others who have this as a goal.

And there is more, the concept is now expanded and interconnected with 43Places where you list 43 world spots you’d like to see, and then you can mark them off once you have bee there; again, it is tagged, syndicated, connected with others, ties back to your 43Things.

And now the trifecta– 43People, where you list 43 people you’d like to meet, and then mark them off once met, etc. This one is a bit suspect, as a large clump of the tag cloud lists people wanting to meet “celebreties”, but hey, whatever floats your boat.

Maybe next is 43Pizzas- I can list all the kinds of pizza I’d like to achieve, and once eaten, I can post and link to others who cherish mushroom-swiss-pineapple-shrimp-pesto??

The amount of interconnectedness and layers of this networking makes one dizzy. On one hand, I feel like I could spend so much time write goals, places, and people I want to meet, that I might not have time left to do any of them!

I am excited to follow Jeremy’s work on 43 Things Masters Thesis in Educational Technology:

I pitched three topics to my thesis supervisor, and the winning one is certainly related to this goal:

“Using social software as a method of identifying and collaborating on learning goals. 43Things is the most obvious application of this idea, letting users define goals, many of which are goals requiring learning (“˜I want to learn PHP and CSS’, “˜learn to cook great vegetarian meals’, “˜learn to record music on my laptop’, etc) and then connecting individuals to others who share that goal so they can collaborate on achieving the goal together””sharing resources, expert recommendations, online tutorials, links and comments to support each other. I think it’s a powerful model of self-directed, self-organizing collaborative learning.”

And there are others who want to explore how 43 Things can promote online learning.

And it gets so recursive, as he is using 43Things to document his research about 43Things…

Oi, the levels of connection almost make my head hurt. But that is good.

So is this structure, this networking useful? Or is it cool for the sake of Web 2.0-ness? What does it achieve? I am not criticizing, just curious where others think the 43______ approach runs up against things like the battleship BlackWeb.

The post "One Thing Out of 43" was originally thawed from a previous ice age and melted at CogDogBlog (http://cogdogblog.com/2006/01/one-thing-out-of-43/) on January 17, 2006.

5 Comments

  • 43 Nouns and Verbs of Social Software at D’Arcy Norman Dot Net darcynorman.net/2006/01/18/43-nouns-and-verbs-of-social-software

    […] Thanks to a pointer from Alan, I took another look at my 43Things account. It’s a place where you can track stuff you’d like to do – like a shared wishlist. There are 2 other related sites. 43Places lets you track places you’ve been and/or would like to visit. 43People lets you track people you’ve met or would like to meet. […]

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  • “So is this structure, this networking useful?”

    If I ever stop following rabbit trails and mucking around with questions of what constitutes “real learning”, I think this is probably my research question boiled down to its essence!

    I know from personal experience that it can be useful in much the same way blogs are useful, but the additional structure and sense of connectedness has some benefits. One of my early goals was “get involved in local politics“, which was probably too vague to be of much value, but around the same time, someone else adopted the same goal and posted about the community blog she had set up. Suddenly I had my own model for action! So I set up my own version, which I’ve since donated to the community group that formed around it.

    It’s an interesting network in that it’s very wide and not too deep…although perhaps just deep enough to get you sent off in the right direction. In the learning goals I’m looking at, I’m seeing that people aren’t going to use the site to actually learn how to code Perl (for example), but it does help them figure out whether they should be learning it in the first place…and people who have done it may offer alternative suggestions if they don’t recommend pursuing the goal.

  • Jeremy-

    I too struggled a bit with what to post as goals, the more concrete ones tend to be physical challenges or far fetched dreams, and then vague things like “make a difference”. I suppose something could be created as a guide for formulating goals, with some linked examples? Again, alot goes into how serious one is aboutn using this for more than play (and play IS okay)

  • Yes, there are many different kinds of goals, and they may need to be treated differently. Most people’s lists include some combination of short-term goals, very specific (often even local) things, general life directions or principles (“be a good dad”), long-term dreams, things to learn, etc, etc. It’s hard to keep them prioritized in time and importance, which I think they’re trying to work on with reminders and annual summaries.

    One of the problems I’m seeing is that it can be discouraging to see a year later that I haven’t completed many of my goals. One of the site founders set a goal this year to reduce his 43 things to fewer than 20, just to make it more manageable. I look through my list and see many that are important to me, but I basically know they’re not going to happen any time soon. A learning moment, perhaps.

    The other issue I’ve seen is that after an initial flurry of activity, I stopped coming back. Even though I loved the site, and had RSS feeds pulling me in occasionally, I didn’t return often through the first year. It’s not that I don’t care about the goals, but I only have so much attention to go around.