As I start to write this chapter I am aware of a bigger conversation going on around me. Scrolling down the screen of my phone are short messages and exchanges from about a hundred colleagues, friends and strangers. As the messages fl ow down the screen, I see today’s patterns of debate, advice, gossip and outrage forming. There are the gentle aftershocks from last night’s discussion about education policy still bubbling with fi nal comments or last-minute suggestions for follow-up;1 there is a new strand of comment coalescing around the government’s decision to use Facebook to encourage public sector workers to make suggestions for cuts; there are calls to sign petitions, send messages, provide help, give advice; there are suggestions of books, conferences, gigs, events and websites. There is a broiling, bubbling world of anger, excitement, generosity and exchange. And there are bad puns, dodgy jokes and spam.