Tag Archives: geography

Introducing the fastest evolving organism: ‘The Internet’

18 Jan

It is no secret that the internet has disbanded the geographies of time, place and activities. People can now create and access information where and when they want (given some access and a little bit of education). With a growing population of 2 billion users, this revolutionary world has given birth to an intricate set of ‘Online Communities’ or, what academic geographers may call ‘Neo-tribes’. Combing this rapid growth with the freedom of time, place and activities has created an organic like world which evolves to meet the population’s needs.

Artist Randall Munroe’s  “Map of Online Communities” (below) exemplifies how the e-world has evolved at an alarming rate; survival of the fittest being clear cut (poor Myspace!)

Online Community Map, 2007

The Online Community: 2007

Online Communities Map: 2010

Online Communities Map: 2010

Back before the internet days (when the geographies of time, place and activities were less unsettled), there would be chaos if communities grew and landscapes changed that much in just three years…. Don’t you agree?

This BIG question is… What will it be like in 2013?

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Why care about [graduate] Human Geographers?

7 Jun

This post is a response to the thought provoking comment from Ed Hannifan on my ‘About’ page. He raised four questions which, in my opinion, every graduate of Human Geography should carefully consider:

1. What’s the point in knowing about any of the stuff we have been taught over the past three years or so?

Well, that is a question that is both subjective and complex in nature. For a start, everybody ‘knows’ different things because nobody has the same experience at University, be it differing units of study (or modules) or uneven levels of learning. Furthermore, it is up to the student to decide whether what they are learning is important or not. This aside and in the interest in finding ‘the point in knowing’, I would suggest the following:

There is a difference between knowing and applying. – ‘that IS the point’

All of the ‘stuff’ we are taught during our Geography degrees only has a point if we can apply it to everyday life, from work to play. For example, the most knowledgeable person in the world (a walking dictionary if you like) is useless unless they can apply themselves.

2. Why would your employer care if you’ve learnt about a disfunctional family of topics and concepts, taught by a bunch or fairly parochial aged men?

I am not sure Human Geography is a ‘disfunctional family’, more of a vast, interlinked monster which lurks everywhere?! (Although, if you want to label Geography dysfunctional, surely this a credit to our ability to deal with diversity?) Moreover, it is the skills we have nourished which is the important factor(s) here. An employer will not care so much about your discipline per se, as long has you can effectively demonstrate how they are at benefit from your presence in their organisation. This leads on nicely to Ed’s next point:

3. Why we are at an advantage having learnt the things we have?

Perhaps otherwise put as “What is the unique selling point of a geographer?” – Literature on student employability will tell you a list of classic examples (See See Rees et al. 2007). However, I will stress that it is down to the individual to make their own advantage; nobody should have to tell you what you have, right?

4. Why should anyone else care that we learnt the things we did?

It is not why they should they care, it is how can we make them care?! Why would anybody care about anything? – Because they are told or convinced they should care.

What Ed has (perfectly and rather conveniently) hit on here is a motive of this blog. I am not claiming to have answered Ed’s questions and you will have noticed that I have only suggested how they can be answered. This is deliberate as I firmly believe that giving Human Geographers a group identity is challenging due to the diverse nature of the subject and the individuals involved. As I view it, the key for graduate Geographers is to minimise your internal competition (against other geographers) whilst maximising your collective identity (making people care about Geographers); surely a paradox? No, innovative and original movers should be noticed first. An individual person cannot represent the whole of Human Geography, it is just too vast. It is the individual’s application of their knowledge and skills which is crucial to graduates.

Geography is what you make it; once you have decided what you have made, only then can you sell it.

Geography: Right Here. Right Now.

2 Jun

This video provides a holistic introduction [not a summary!] to a Geography in the 21st century….enjoy!