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Professor Rotolo on Social Networks and the Borg Guest Post on StarTrek.com

By: J.D. Ross
(315) 443-3094

Professor Anthony Rotolo’s “Trek Class” at the School of Information Studies (iSchool) researches Star Trek episodes as a way of exploring concepts in technology, society and leadership. Rotolo has been invited to contribute to the blog at StarTrek.com, the official website of the television and movie franchise.

In his second post for the blog, Rotolo discusses the constant connectivity brought about by the emergence of mobile devices and social networks, and compares it to the connected lifestyle and hive mind of the Borg, humanoid characters from the Star Trek series.

“Social media such as Twitter and Facebook contribute to an ‘always on’ lifestyle of real-time information sharing. This has had a tremendous impact on our world, allowing us to connect with friends and family, facilitating collaboration across distances and even spreading the seeds of social change throughout regions of the globe,” Rotolo writes.

In making his comparison, Rotolo states, “the Borg is a connected lifestyle taken to the extreme, but functionally it is not unlike some of our own technologies. Through social networks like Twitter, for example, we seek to share our thoughts and ideas in real time. We can track trends and even make decisions based on the wisdom of the crowd -- a practice known as ‘crowd sourcing.’ The Borg operates in much the same way, except that participation in the Collective is not voluntary.”

Read more from Rotolo’s post, “Is the Borg the Ultimate Social Network?” on the Star Trek website.

The class, Star Trek and the Information Age (IST 300), is offered during the Fall semester, and is open to all Syracuse University students. Join the class discussion online using the Twitter hashtag #TrekClass.

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