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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Nugget: How Fast Do You Type?

Eeeeek, "Nuggets to be posted to blogs by Oct. 17." So, I'm late... sue me! Ha ha. But seriously, there's no way I can get things done for Connected Courses except on the weekends and even then it's a struggle (but I'm not complaining - it's only because things are going so fabulously well in my classes and I'm having way too much fun with all of that).

So, moving right along to be no more late than I am, I had to choose something from Weinberger's Small Pieces Loosely Joined since I read that book eagerly when it first came out in 2002 (I had just discovered Cluetrain Manifesto around that time). Back in 2002 this book resonated perfectly with my COMPLETE JOY in the Internet, a joy that continues to this day I should add. Reading this paragraph made me remember the happy discovery that the Internet was, and still is, the answer to all my textual prayers. Here is the paragraph:

The Web, on the other hand, breaks the traditional publishing model. The old model is about control: a team works on a document, is responsible for its content and format, and releases it to the public when it's been certified as done. Once it's published, no one can change it except the original publisher. The Web ditches that model, with all its advantages as well as its drawbacks, and says instead, "You have something to say? Say it. You want to respond to something that's been said? Say it and link to it. You think something is interesting? Link to it from your home page. And you never have to ask anyone's permission." Then it adds: "And how long will it take to do this? I dunno. How fast do you type?" 

I LOVE THIS. Let me take it one small piece at a time. Loosely joined.

~ ~ ~

The Web, on the other hand, breaks the traditional publishing model. The old model is about control: a team works on a document, is responsible for its content and format, and releases it to the public when it's been certified as done. Once it's published, no one can change it except the original publisher. 

I have published several books with traditional publishers and, I am pleased to say, NEVER AGAIN. For me, as a writer, self-publishing is the only way to go. I've now self-published four books, and I do that in a process that is Internet-based, with a blog to book to blog cycle. More about that here: Blogging: Websites, Blogs, and Books. Want my books? Take them: the PDFs of all four books are sitting on the Internet waiting for you to take/make your own copy: Special Edition: #PDFTribute to Aaron Swartz.


~ ~ ~

The Web ditches that model, with all its advantages as well as its drawbacks, and says instead, "You have something to say? Say it. 

And we ALL have something to say. It's called... democracy.

(Liberian proverb)

~ ~ ~

You want to respond to something that's been said? Say it and link to it. 

It is ALL a conversation. It can happen face to face in real time, or it can happen over hyperlinks, transcending time and place. Connect however you want, whoever you are!


~ ~ ~

You think something is interesting? Link to it from your home page. 

The world is SOOOOOOOOOO interesting. I remember being bored as a child, which seems incredible to me now. I have never ... never ... been bored as an adult. For example, the Internet is now the biggest library in existence. Link to Internet Archive. Link to Project Gutenberg. Link to Hathi Trust. Link to LibriVox. Link to Sacred Texts Archive. More books than could ever fit in my house. More books than I could ever read.

Result: happiness!


Knowledge is the sunlight of the mind.

~ ~ ~

And you never have to ask anyone's permission." 

That, to me, is THE KEY. As someone with a very checkered academic career, where permission was denied for many things that I considered of great importance, the Internet has been the one place where I always already have permission. Where I cannot be stopped. Where I will never stop! :-)


I know not by what power I am made bold.

~ ~ ~

Then it adds: "And how long will it take to do this? I dunno. How fast do you type?" 

I don't know about you, but I type really REALLY fast. I hope my students can learn to type fast too. It's an advantage. So, seize that advantage! Typing Game: Ninja Cat.


~ ~ ~

And, in conclusion, I say to everybody:

SEARCH
CLICK
READ
WRITE
LINK
Repeat as needed.

It works for me. :-)

3 comments:

  1. First off, as someone who's also way behind in the #CCourses stuff I want to do, thanks for modelling that it's OK to connect on our own pace!

    Related to that, I'm drawn to the complexities in the statement "you never have to ask anyone's permission." This is true, and wonderful, and yet I wonder if it gets in the way of collaboration. It strikes me that we've tended to build individualistic tools, and even talk about the social ones in individualistic ways (i.e. "my Facebook"). Maybe this is in play for those people who forgo opportunities like #CCourses, saying "I'm not very tech-y." What they might mean is "it's dangerous to go alone." I'm probably culpable for some of this as an instructional technologist; maybe I oversell the amount that a faculty member has to know for themselves when taking on a project.

    You don't _have_ to ask for collaborators on these new technologies, but you _can_. I don't just mean in terms of the wonderful help available to make things go, but even in the old "agent - editor - publisher" model. I think of myself as someone who's "not very visual" (which really means "I draw poorly"), but it's never occurred to me to find an illustrator for my blog.

    The second thought I had is related to the Unit 2 material on trust and openness. It's a systemic freedom which allows us to "click, link, and embed" without asking permission. The social freedom is still something we're working out. (As a parent, the place I most commonly see this is in other parents asking if I mind if they post a picture of my kid and theirs together to Facebook.) What can we, as a #CCourses community, do to craft and spread those norms?

    Much of my thinking in this area is coming out of game and leisure studies - true liberty requires the acceptance of a code of behavior which is not otherwise compelled (like the rules of a game, or the academic honesty practices of a discipline). It also occurs to me that it's coming out of Kohlberg's work on moral development - how can we move people past mere anarchy, and even past "don't do that; it hurts people" to "I believe this is a good way to be a contributor on the Web."

    Please forgive the rambling nature of this comment - I'm trying to write it before heading to work, and Google managed to eat the first draft, so it's simultaneously rushed and insufficiently caffeinated. :-)

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  2. Hi Joe! Thank you SO MUCH for all your comments and ideas here; what a great way to start the morning! Your comment coincides with my coffee: perfect! Oh, and thanks also for the audio of the hangouts (I think that was you, wasn't it?) ...

    Anyway, yes, the individualism of the Internet is both a strength and a weakness, like so many things. I think that's why the idea of "networking" appeals to me so much, as opposed to groups - networks made up of individuals can grow, shift, change, all in unpredictable ways, based on the connections people make with each other. It can lead to sustained collaboration or it can just be occasional feedback... but, unlike groups, which really can break, fail, etc., networks are so robust, able to handle so many unplanned eventualities. Networks don't really have a structure per se, but groups, projects, etc., usually tend to be very structured - and that can be good, sometimes, but when the structure gets strained or snapped, it breaks, and that sense of "brokenness" is so frustrating, plus you can really lose the work you put into building the thing. Whereas networks, the serendipitous connections, weak or strong, repeated or one-off, ALL sustain the network. That's just my sense of things from my own life, and I guess one of these days I need to read about network theory because I know people actually study this stuff for real, ha ha.

    And that idea of specialized expertise is exactly what I was hoping for with traditional publishers - and in some ways, I benefited from that. For example, the last book I did with a trad. publisher I did as a kind of experiment. I had self-published two books, one of which came to attention of publisher who wrote and asked me to do a book with them, so I said yes, more as an experiment to see what I thought after having self-published. And sure, it was great - the editor I worked with was fabulous, and the book design is gorgeous. But hell, the book costs $40, I get almost nothing from the sales... and there were also real trade-offs I had to make in the contents of the book that made me feel ambivalent about the book even now. I look at it, and I feel kind of like I wrote it... but kind of like I didn't write it at all. Whereas the books I self-published represent no compromises on the contents. For better or worse, they really are my work. And if I wanted to hire an editor or a book designer, I could do that. But I'm poor. So I don't, ha ha. That collaboration is not so much a psychological issue as it is a practical and economic one, more a question of money than collaboration. We need resources to collaborate, time being one of the most important. I can donate my time to my pet projects... but other people's time comes at a cost, understandably! Just as the university buys my time as a teacher.

    (mwahahahaha Blogger says my comment is too long, so Part 2 follows...)

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    Replies

    1. Meanwhile, I love this final comment about looking at game communities and academic communities, Kohlberg et al. to think about how people treat each other. That, to me, is the big question I have brought to Connected Courses. The cynical version of the question is this: if my school is spending literally millions of dollars a year on a much-hyped "Bold New Digital Initiative" (which even includes, mirabile visu, a Reclaim Domain pilot), then why am I the only person from my school participating in CCourses? Why do we have no real sharing of ideas openly and online? Why is this digital initiative so completely top-down, apparently conceived of and managed by the MARKETING people at my school...? That's the cynical, local side of the question, but the more general one is exactly the question you have asked here about how people move past anarchy, past fear, past selfishness to contribute to the Web together. I don't really feel closer to having an answer to that question, but I am glad to have the chance to keep thinking about it for a couple months!

      Okay, coffee gone. Thanks so much for your comments! It's fun to connect here in a new space because I know our paths have crossed in other places online too. Happy Monday!!!

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(I have limited this to Google accounts only, but no word verification; meanwhile, if you want to contact me directly, you can do that too! laura-gibbs@ou.edu.)