I comment a fair bit on other people’s blogs, discussion forums etc. Somehow I find it much easier to comment on someone else’s blog – I think it’s about being part of a conversation, the focus on joint contribution, rather than solely just my words. I’ve never particularly enjoyed being the centre of attention.
I’ve contemplated posting comments as blog posts. But I kind of like the idea of keeping my comments, in their place of origin, embedded in its original context. I feel something of their history might be lost by uprooting them – by dismembering them from the dialogue. So I’ve resisted. Until now.
I’m posting my comment in response to this post ‘Digital landfills and creativity’ by Mariana Funes (aka DS106 shrink) to remember its message. It’s about the possible consequences of our ever-increasing – and often mindless – consumption, sharing and creation of digital content. It really, truly made me question my own assumptions about the value of sharing and content creation, to critically assess the depth of my engagement, and reflect on my experiences of open online learning – in particular rhizo14, where I’ve often felt distracted by the abundance, almost too distracted to engage. Mariana’s post was inspired by ‘Echoes of content’ by Alastair Creelman – an equally excellent post on this theme of thoughtless sharing and creation. Would definitely encourage the reading – and consideration – of both posts. As I thought about Mariana’s post the following morning, lines of poem came to me, which I scrawled (in pink texta – 1st thing within reach) on scraps of paper . I typed out the poem with this comment (written after the poem >and I think writing the poem actually enabled me to articulate some semi-coherent thoughts). I’ve repackaged the poem against the backdrop of my scrawled notes – a remix, of sorts.
wow, what an incredibly thought provoking post. I started writing a response last night, but then abandoned it as I wasn’t quite sure what to say or whether it would be coherent.
This is a hard one. Because I recognise the personal value in regular practice of creativity, writing, reflection, narration, blogging – even ‘half baked’ thoughts for others to play with and explore, remix and remake.
However, your post has highlighted the flipside of creating a culture that values creation and sharing above all else, that equates posting evidence of thinking *with* the existence of thought itself. No longer is it enough to reflect privately, we must share and declare our reflections. The culture it creates is one of constant distraction, constant pressure to post and to advertise your postings, to demonstrate your engagement. There is an underlying sense of competition about it, of jostling to get the most comments and most likes. It creates a constant pressure to create, but also to consume and to comment, we’re flying through posts leaving our breadcrumbs of thought. But how deeply are we reflecting and thinking? How meaningful is our engagement?
I’ve been struggling with this a bit in rhizo14 – the abundance, the pressure to create and consume. I’ve got about 20 tabs open, 4 half finished blog posts, and pages and scraps of notes and half finished thoughts. All of which I haven’t shared (yet). Though I feel the pressure to. And I will (eventually).
Yet I don’t know that the answer is to actually or completely stop what we’re doing. I’ve definitely got value out of others’ ‘half baked’ thoughts – and as Alan points out, even when there is no direct comment, or explicit evidence that someone has visited or read or thought about what you’ve posted, chances are someone has – or will.
So in the end, I have rambled and rumbled through this reply…not proposing any real ‘answer’ or solution. But I guess that’s part of the point – it’s a complex question without a definitive answer. Embracing uncertainty.
I’ve found myself spontaneously thinking in poem a lot through this rhizo14 experience. When I’ve written down the poetic threads of thought I’ve realised why: often the poem is a much more succinct expression of my thoughts. Thoughts that are too complex to make into a coherent post or response.
I was thinking about this post you wrote when I got up this morning, and amongst the threads of thought were some lines of poem that came into my head. I sat down and wrote them out. Here is what came out:
Excellent conversations have emerged across both blogs – and in the context of this week’s topic about books making us stupid, I say maybe: because no book enables to anyone to engage directly in conversation with the author immediately after publishing. The only downside? A digital landfill.