When I started CCK08, I wasn´t quite sure as to what I believed. The notion of the "The pipe is more important than the content within the pipe" had me thinking (which is always good :)) in the distinction between the what, how, why, with whom, to whom, for whom, etc. of education. Early on, I "sided" with Siemens in breaking down networked learning into neural, conceptual, and social components...but now this interpretation has shifted a bit.
This "change of heart" - which again, hit me as I was waking up this morning (I know, it' sick) - has to do more with the conceptual and social categories that involve connective knowledge. I view these two categories as being "artificial". In my own learning, the "data" that I draw from all originates from some human source (as opposed to a "non-human appliance") that are provided to me through an "operating system of the mind". When I read a book or read an article from the Internet, the information comes from a real live human being - at least they were alive when they decoded the information. Now, if I continue not to have any social interaction with the author(s) of this information, I view this as contributing primarily to my conceptual network. I say primarily, because I also view a professor giving me a lecture (and I'm taking on a passive role as a learner) as also contributing to my conceptual network. If I send an email or chat with the author, then it becomes some sort of mixture between conceptual and social network formations (as opposed to it being one or the other). Similarly, if I take that information from an author that is currently dead, and I begin discussing this information with someone else (through human interaction), then again the conceptual and social networks begin to intertwine.
The attributes of connectivism then are those ties (both strong and weak) with individuals (alive or dead) that affords us to merge conceptual and social connections in a way that best benefits the individual. Instead of looking at a concept map as solely a tool that forms conceptual networks, it should be seen as a tool that has the potential to form both conceptual and social networks (e.g., changing, adapting, or revising a personal conceptual map as a result of interacting with others). Or learning something on my own, then sharing this with someone else to get some feedback. The value of connecting knowledge is the merging of conceptual and social networks and realizing the effects that one has over the other.
My dissertation topic is beginning to emerge...joy!