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Stand on the shoulders of giants to grow knowledge

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Today’s learning has become harder due to the increased pace of change – which is why we need to stand on the shoulders of giants.

The saying “to stand on shoulders of giants” (to learn faster and better) dates back to the 12th century with Bernard of Chartres cited by John of Salisbury. It may even be older. The expression was used again by Isaac Newton, when he mentioned the role of earlier theories from Descartes on his own progress.

On the surface, today’s learning seems very different from 12th and 17th centuries. New knowledge is produced at exponentially higher speed, larger quantities and varying quality. However, the wisdom to stand on the shoulders of giants still applies, just at a different pace and in a world. It is actually becoming even more of an imperative, now that we often distrust sources. Fortunately, Cronycle can help you in this learning endeavour, thanks to relevance and transparent trust.

An expertise network covering tens of thousands of Topics

Cronycle Topics use semantics, wikipedia and activity on Twitter to build an expertise network and surface relevant content for over 80,000 Topics – mostly in professional domains. The community for each Topic is key to surface qualitative relevant content, with the level of influence within these communities, and their interactions. In today’s digital world, these influencers are the giants whom shoulders we can stand on to learn and grow.

Through the Cronycle application, you get two ways to benefit from this –

  • Feeds with relevant content shared by these giants (add Topics to feeds)
Cronycle feed interface with content shared by experts in topics - here infectious diseases and epidemiology
  • Lists of influencers in the expertise network (the giants), per Topic
Topic interface in Cronycle. List of expertise network influencers for infectious diseases so you can stand on the shoulders of giants

Learn to stand on the shoulders of giants via Cronycle

Cronycle also shows a page for each influencer of the expertise network, where you can view the topics they are influential in. For example, here is the page for Helen Branswell, highly knowledgeable in several topics related to epidemics –

Influencer page for Helen Branswell, top influencer in the community.  A giant you can stand on shoulders.

Each topic she is influential in is represented by a grey block. For each one, the number indicates her influence score, where 99 is the maximum, and rarely reached. Scores in the 90s indicate someone globally recognized within the corresponding Topic community. These are the real giants to stand on. Scores in the 80s indicate a very highly influential expert, most likely globally. Score in the 70s and 60s indicate very good levels of influence, and so on going down to 30.

These scores are based on the interaction within the community of each topic, a peer-based method. Unsurprisingly, within their field, experts share content they trust and know the worth. They are much more likely to read it before sharing – sharing low quality information would actually look bad on them.

This is very different from just counting the shares from the masses who are not armed to sort the wheat from the chaff, react quickly, and fall prey to click-bait headlines.

Judging by Helen Branswell’s level of influence in many connected fields, mostly in sciences, I can see that she is a trustworthy source of information for epidemics, and therefore a good reference for the Covid-19. Her Twitter description gives some context, confirming that I can probably stand on her shoulders of giant.

You can learn more about the technology behind our expertise network here.

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