De Overbodige Verkiezingen en de Revolte van Geert Wilders

Nog ruim vier weken en dan mogen we weer stemmen en het is nog nooit zo makkelijk geweest te kiezen terwijl de uitslag op hoofdlijnen eigenlijk al vast ligt.

De belangrijkste keuze voor de burger is of je voor of tegen Wilders bent en die keuze heeft iedereen waarschijnlijk al lang gemaakt. Alle peilingen wijzen er op dat Wilders de grootste wordt gevolgd door de VVD. Deze laatste zit een beetje in een dipje vanwege alle perikelen van de laatste tijd zoals de bonnetjes affaire en recent de uitspraken van Ybeltje Berckmoes dus je kan er vanuit gaan dat ze het waarschijnlijk niet gaan lukken in vier weken over Wilders heen te gaan ook al zetten ze Klaas Dijkhof nog een keer in met een carnavalshit.

Ga er dus maar gerust vanuit dat Wilders met glans wint en dat dan de Koning er niet omheen kan Martin Bosma een informatie opdracht te geven om te onderzoeken of het mogelijk is rond de PVV een coalitie te vormen. En die kan vrij snel klaar zijn omdat niemand met hem in zee wil waardoor een formatie opdracht niet mogelijk is. Dus zal Wilders dan een persconferentie beleggen op het Plein in Den Haag en Het Volk oproepen in opstand te komen net zoals Troelstra dat bijna 100 jaar geleden in 1918 heeft geprobeerd.

Troelstra riep toen een socialistische revolutie uit omdat er veel onrust in Nederland bestond, door een gebrek aan organisatie en doordat er al vrij snel een tegenbeweging ontstond, liep de poging tot revolutie met een sisser af. Ongetwijfeld zal de oproep van Wilders dan ook wat schermutselingen rond het Binnenhof tot gevolg hebben maar die zullen van korte duur zijn net als destijds na de moord op Pim Fortuyn. Vanwege het gezichtsverlies zal Wilders dan aftreden, zijn grote fractie verdeeld achter latend in het parlement. Dat hebben we eerder meegemaakt met dit soort partijen aan de rechtervleugel, we moeten er dan ook rekening mee houden dat er de komende kabinetsperiode weer heel wat afsplitsingen zullen zijn in de Tweede Kamer.

Geert Wilders verdwijnt een jaar later naar het eerder door hem zo gehate Europees Parlement, je moet toch wat…

En dan de andere partijen. We hebben van de week al gezien tijdens het debat zonder Geert Wilders en Mark Rutte in het Noorden naar aanleiding van de gas problematiek, dat de huidige lijsttrekkers het erg goed me elkaar kunnen vinden. Het samenstelen van een coalitie zal dan ook eenvoudig zijn. Na een korte Informatie opdracht voor Jozias van Aartsen, die dan net weer beschikbaar is, volgt een formatieopdracht voor de twee winnaars: VVD en Groen Links. Klaas Dijkhof (VVD) en Femke Halsema (Groen Links) gaan dan voor een kabinet van VVD, D66, Groen Links en de CDA, gezamenlijk nu goed voor 70 zetels maar dat worden er volgens de peilingen steeds meer. PvdA en SP worden buiten de onderhandelingen gehouden omdat beide flink verliezen en getalsmatig niet nodig zijn.

Premier blijf Mark Rutte die er voor zorgt  dat de beloofde 2 miljard ook daadwerkelijk naar de ouderenzorg gaan. Groen Links en de VVD vinden zich op de versteviging van de groene economie met name in het Noorden van ons land gebruik makend van de al gereserveerde middelen. En CDA en D66 gaan zich flink inspannen voor het onderwijs waarvoor middelen beschikbaar komen nu het weer wat beter gaat met de economie.

Mark Rutte kan dus gewoon weer verder als premier en het succes van Geert Wilders, namelijk geen compromissen willen sluiten, is uiteindelijk ook zijn ondergang geworden…

Naschrift 12 februari 2017: Onderstaand overzicht is de laatste status en voor het eerst neemt Maurice de Hond de combinatie VVD, CDA, D66 en GL in zijn overzicht op met 72 zetels gezamenlijk, electoraal maakt deze combinatie dus inderdaad een grote kans.

The Online Communication Cycle

‘Why are you writing in English’, Simone asked me. She had told me Victor had read my blogs about politics, business and IT on the internet which were sometimes in English. I told her I had two reasons for this: it gave me a broader audience and having worked for an English company where I learned to write compact English and liked doing this. ‘And why don’t you focus on one topic, you are writing about such a lot of different topics’. I answered: ‘Having studied Sociology and having worked a long time in IT I have always been interested in how the world was changed by IT, not only from a business point of view but also regarding their personal lives. And as Lecturer Information Management I also teach students about this and tell them about my personal experiences during the lessons and my view on this.’

She wanted to know more about my visit to Sedona and how I met Victor so I told her about the Resurfacing workshop and our discussion on the airport waiting for our planes because of the heavy snow delaying our flights. The reason I participated in this workshop was that I wanted to investigate if I could use this format as a lecturer. ‘I like to do things which in first instance don’t have anything to do with my work but there is always a new perspective which helps me further developing my thoughts. Just like the conversation I had with Paul last week on his startup: I was not sure yet how I could use this but I feel this could in the future. I explained her what we discussed the week before.’

Simone replied: ‘The problem with most people nowadays is that they are confused because of the fact so much is changing all the time. The media are focusing on hypes which are coming up quickly but also ending quickly and soon forgotten. And as most of these hypes have a negative background most people think were are going in the wrong direction. But if you look at it from a scientific and historical point of view we are steadily doing better al the time. The Swedish physician, academic, statistician, and public speaker Hans Gosling made a lot of statistics in which he proofed were are doing better than most people expect, he died a few days ago, a terrible loss for science.’

‘Victor’s communications paradox has to do with the fact that the way we interact and communicate with our environment is rapidly changing and that our mind is not able to cope with this, we are not in the drivers seat any more but constantly reacting to what’s happening around us. Direct one to one communication is now being replaced by new ways of communication and the big difference with the old way of communication is that in the past, when you were communicating with someone, the message was key and you were using verbal and none verbal communication to interact. Now, while the internet has become available you can easily communicate with all people allover the world using channels as Facebook, Twitter or Snapchat.

This way of communication is new for most people (Facebook exists only 13 years) and we don’t know yet what the real impact of communicating through these channels will be. This impact can be both positive, your tweet or post can go viral and become a hype, or negative in the sense that a wrong post can change the way others see you. That’s why mots people have their personal brand in mind when they communicate and respond when communication is not in line with this. That’s the reason most people don’t create content themselves anymore but are constantly responding and having an opinion on what others have to say by liking, sharing and replying, I call this spinning.’ She showed me a picture from Victor’s book how this has changed.’

‘As you can see in the picture online communication is more complex than direct communication and not everybody’s has the skills and is able to manage this process successfully. It starts with having a good picture of your identity and this can, especially when your young, become a big problem: when receiving negative feedback this can make them very unsure. Channels like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have become very important and have big impact on the way we communicate and the way we receive information.’

I responded: ‘True, and that’s why, according to me, you cannot talk about social media anymore as most people do. Technology made communication channels available and these have completely changed the way we communicate with each other and this development has just started and already high impact. From a sociological point of view this new ‘Online Communication’ can never replace ‘Direct Communication’ but it has changed it. And it will never change back to the days before we got our own PC or Smartphone, it’s here to stay. And what we need to learn our students now is what the value of these ways of communication can be, what’s is their potential.’

‘Take for example the development of popular music since the fifties of the last century when we had only the radio and television and the LP was not there yet. Songs were about love and personal communication and the message in a song was always very clear and easy to understand. This has completely changed, it’s not about the text of the song and the music anymore but about the artist and his brand and management taking care the artist is in the news all the time. Ask someone what a song is all about and nobody knows.’

‘I have studied Sociology, what did you?’, asked Simone. ‘Me too’, I said ‘but that was more than 30 years ago before I started working in IT, I’m not familiar with the latest developments’. ‘But if I read your blogs I’m not listening to an IT guy talking but to a Sociologist who is talking about the changes in society due to the Internet, why don’t you write something from your old Sociology background, I think the publisher I work with would be very interested’. She is right, I thought, what I’m writing about is not a structural analysis but just a reflection on what I experience and read somewhere, a more structural approach using the sociological body of knowledge would make sense.

While drinking our wine we discussed what an interesting subject would be from a sociological point of view and agreed after some time it would be interesting to look how our view on the world around us has changed since the massive introduction of new ways of communication made possible by the internet. ‘Interesting subject’, I replied to her, ‘I will think about it and let you now how I would approach this but this will take time’. ‘Take your time, she smiled, ‘and in the meantime let me know once in a while how you are doing…’.

The Information Funnel

Two days later I received a phone call from Victor, he was in Amsterdam for a few days and wanted to meet me, did I have some time the next evening? He wanted to discuss something with me. I had already planned to go to Amsterdam to the University so we made an appointment at 18:00 in the American hotel, my favorite place to meet someone in Amsterdam. When I arrived, Victor was not alone, he was sitting at a table overlooking the Leidseplein and talking to a women of his age with long blond hair. When I approached, Victor introduced me to her as his Sedona friend and introduced her to me as Simone, the translator of his books into Dutch.

He was talking to her about his new book ‘The Communication Paradox’ which he already explained to me while waiting on the airport about impact of the changes in our communication infrastructure which took care we never had so many means of communication as before while at the same time direct one to one communication becomes harder for us, especially for young adults who are not able to communicate easily which causes a lot of stress and psychological problems for them. After this he looked at me and said to me: ‘and that’s why I asked you to join us, maybe you could help solving the problem.’.

I told him I was surprised and Victor smiled and continued ‘Working on my book I realised I was only describing a problem but not working on a solution and last week I remembered our recent conversation and that you told me you were lecturing Information Management to students, the same students who I describe in my book having all these problems. I want to know more about what your lecturing. What is the definition of Information Management according to you?’.

I responded: ‘Key for Information Management is that business nowadays have more and more IT available in which continuously data are stored about their customers, sales, inventory, distribution and financial situation but also data from the outside world available through external sources and the Internet. Information Management is the skill to translate all this data to useful information which makes it possible to manage your business, I call this the Information Funnel. There is so much data available that it’s not easy to do this, you not only need to understand IT but also the business of a company and understand what is going on inside and outside the company’.

‘Why do you call it a skill’, Victor asked. ‘Well’, I told him, ‘Twenty years ago Management Reporting was 90% plus financial and most of the time only available after month ends closing. If something went wrong in an organisation it ws only noticed when a customer had a complaint or your bank did not want to give you credit any more. Today changes go so fast that managers want information as soon as available and if possible direct online, stand and ad hoc. To be able to produce these dashboards and reports you need to know a lot about a company and be experienced’.

‘And what happens when companies not have a good Information Management Function?. Victor asked’. ‘Then you have a problem’, I responded, ‘It’s like a patient being sick and not having the right instruments available to investigate what’s wrong. Management Information gives you the insights on what’s going right and what’s going wrong so you can immediately take action when needed to change things for the better, if possible. In the past this was a role for the CFO but this has changed with the introduction of IT and is now more the domain of the CIO who does not only have to know about IT and needs to have broad business knowledge being able to combine both to usefull Management Information’.

‘Students have the same problem as companies nowadays, how can they structure all the digital data they receive so it becomes useful information for them? Digital overload is a big problem now for students, they are not able to filter the content which comes available all the time on the internet properly which can have big influence on their future performance’, Victor concluded. ‘Within companies the CIO is responsible for managing this information funnel and for students this of course should be the teacher and as you teach Information Management you are sitting on the solution of our problem’.

Since three years I was lecturing students the basics of Information Management on a private University of Applied Sciences in Amsterdam mainly from a manual yet like in the old days when only books were available. And during my lessons when all my students were busy with their smartphones and laptops multitasking between me and what was going on online. The manual I used ‘Information Management’ was clearly written by someone who had worked in IT because I recognised a lot described in my book as my own experiences in the past working for IT companies. And my students were not interested in these old stories because they were born in a world with IT all around them while I had slowly grown into this from nothing.

Victor looked at me and said: ‘ And you teachers could be the key for solving this issue, there is a task for schools and universities to prepare students for the information society certainly in a time when politicians talk about ‘alternative’ facts and everybody is creating his own Facebook environment filtering out post they don’t like’.

‘But how do you want to do this’, Simone asked. Victor relied: ‘Maybe a school is not the right solution for this, we need something to replace this which is more modern and fit for our Information Society. The reason why schools were founded in the first place was that families were not able to educate their children themselves and you need teacher to learn them how to read, write and calculate. Children were living in large families and lived in small homes so going to school made sense in these days. Since then a lot have changed, most children now have a room on their own and parents both working and the relationship between parents and children has changed a lot’.

‘My students spend on average 7 hours on school and 4 hours a day online next to the time they spend online at school,’ I responded, ‘and for them these are two differente worlds. If you want to change this you need to change the whole school system and integrate these worlds into one and make more connections with the outside world. Why only go to one school and sit in a room with the other students and always the same teacher and following an education developed for the average student? Why not making this more flexible and use all available capacity with courses for students with different backgrounds and levels?’

‘Research has shown that collaborative learning works better than learning on your own, this has to do with the way your brain works. Another interesting conclusion is that you can better stay up late to finish a deadline than start early in the  morning, the time most schools want you to be the most productive. Also most teachers start with the theoretical concepts and than apply these while it’s better to first do something and than reflect on this form a theoretical background if you want to learn.’

‘Another important issue which influences learning is the changing relationship between students and their parents. It depends of course on the educational background of their parents but a lot is nowadays discussed around the kitchen table. 25 years ago students learned stuff not understood by their parents because the study content was more theoretical. Nowadays the study content is much more up to date and so students can easier discuss the content with their parents which makes it easier for them to learn’.

‘And just like companies need to manage their Information Funnel, students have to learn also how to qualify all the information they receive through their devices whole day and integrate this with what they learn on school or universities, this are not separate worlds but complementary. They have to learn the difference between facts and fake facts, an opinion and something which is scientific proven and how you can filter information which is relevant for you. They need to not only to see their smartphone as a tool to play with when they have noting to do but also as an instrument to become a useful member of society. Most schools see these diverse as a threat while it should be an opportunity.

‘In the Netherlands the school system is not able to educate around 15.000 students because their parents cannot find a proper school for them or schools don’t want them because of a lot of reasons. Around 5.000 of them have permission to get education at home from their parents  or private teachers giving lesson at home. At the same time the number of students who need extra lessons after schooltime from specialized institutes is growing and the same is happening for private schools were parents have to pay a lot of money to give more tailored education fit for the students needs.’

‘That’s why I thing we need to rethink the fundamentals of our school system’, Victor said, ‘We should develop a flexible system for all by which during once lifetime we van learn or teach others the necessary knowledge and skills to become a citizen, employee or owner of a business using all available methods and technology. If you define a school now a student now will say it’s a combination of a building and a set of teachers capable of giving lessons in a certain domain. This should be a student with certain qualifications who has to learn some things otherwise he/she can’t survive in society and invest in other qualifications he enjoys doing and which can potential become his future business. And the tools to do this can be having a course in a class with a teacher a a level and location of choice, following a virtual course, doing a study trip or internship, earning study points with a public service, travel and write an essay on your experiences, participating in an online knowledge community, doing a skills test, talking to a study coach, visiting a museum with their parents or talking to an entrepreneur or even start up your first business’

We talked about this for some time and Victor left around ten, he had to fly back next morning very early, I stayed behind with Simone. He was very glad with our discussion and it was very useful for him.

Tired of Politics on Facebook?

Ik weet niet of u dat ook heeft maar ik word de laatste tijd een beetje moe van al die ontwikkelingen wereldwijd waar de media continu over rapporteren. Het is een schier onmogelijke taak geworden alles wat er aan de hand is te volgen. En dat terwijl ik toch aardig wat kranten lees, veel CNN en ABC News kijk en op social media en nieuwssites de ontwikkelingen dagelijks op de voet volg. Het is gewoon te veel aan het worden en het slagveld is voor ons gewone stervelingen niet meer te overzien (en voor veel van onze leiders denk ik trouwens ook niet). Terwijl je nog aan het bekomen bent van het ene onheil kondigt het volgende zich al weer aan!

En dan heb je nog al die mensen die daar professioneel een mening over hebben en proberen dit alles te duiden. Zij komen meestal niet verder dan het verontwaardigd opsommen van wat feiten die iedereen al weet zonder duiding of visie op wat er komen gaat. Dus blijf je als burger met een rotgevoel zitten en weet je niet meer uit welke hoek het gevaar komt en wie nou eigenlijk de echte vijand is waardoor de verwarring alleen maar groter wordt.

En dat terwijl er om me heen eigenlijk niks veranderd en je van al deze dramatiek in je dagelijkse leefwereld helemaal niks merkt! Het doet me denken aan de stelling in de tijd dat er nog kranten werden gelezen dat als je de Telegraaf las je je een stuk onveiliger voelde dan het NRC of de Volkskrant. Het constant met de meest verschrikkelijke zaken in de krant geconfronteerd worden geeft je een gevoel van onveiligheid waardoor je continu om je heen kijkt en alert blijft. Volgens mij is er nu iets dergelijks ook aan de hand.

Het is dan ook niet voor niets dat er nu allerlei tools beschikbaar komen om je timeline te schonen van informatie over wat zich afspeelt in het politieke domein. De bovenstaande App van Google geeft je de mogelijkheid politieke posts te weren en sinds ik deze App eerder deze week heb aangezet ben ik in een andere, veel mooiere wereld terecht gekomen, heb ik weer oog voor het mooie weer buiten, de jaarlijkse vogeltelling en allerlei zaken die het leven mooier maken zonder angst voor de toekomst.

Ik heb de App één keer vijf minuten uitgezet maar hem zo snel mogelijk weer aan, een verademing!