Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Whole Wide World

I love you guys for using your blogs to process the visit by Jason Scott. I think it was one of my favorite class sessions ever. The more I teach -- and, I might add, I'm constantly wrestling with whether I should teach at all! -- the more I think the boundaries should be shoved aside as much as possible. I believe that you should all teach each other, in class and blog-to-blog; and I love the fact that the outside world comes bulling its way in. I know it's a little freaky sometimes, but, on balance, I think it's great. I wish more of you had been there for Aldon's visit, because it's a nice bookend with Jason. And Aldon, if you're out there, come back any time you feel like it. I feel the same way about last year's class. I'm happy thhat Eric and Matt and Brett have all come back to share stuff with you. Why should there be boundaries between one year and another? Maybe Elin will be popping in some night too? Bill on the other hand ...well, we might never get any of our work done. Very soon you'll also be meeting a few other bloggers.. Spazeboy, Caffeinated Geek Girl, and who knows who else?


Aldon Hynes said...

Hmm, what is teaching? It used to be that a professor would put together a syllabus describing the materials to be covered, including pointers to sources, usually in books or journals.

Yet the materials for this course are, perhaps, Tim, Dan, Spazeboy, myself, Jason and any other real live sources.

And since your using real live sources, it can be a real dialog. Gee, it makes the class much more like a blog.

So yeah, I'm around. I probably won't have a free Monday night for a couple weeks, but after the 7th, well, who knows what will happen, but I'd love to come back.

I'll also keep sticking my nose in on the class blogs, because it is a dialog, and that is what is important, about the class and about blogging.

As always, MHO, YMMV

Jim said...

Jason’s visit was both interesting and challenging. I enjoyed Aldon and he obviously made an impact on my blogging – forcing me to look at what I was doing through critical but kind eyes. Jason’s visit showed how intense and complex a person’s relationship with their work, passion and technology can be. The intellectual curiosity I saw in Aldon was different than the intense passion of Jason. Jason also made a difference in my blogging and the way I view technology.

My response to his visit and his subsequent comments surprised me. The distance and analytical nature of the blog changed my voice, making it more metallic and harsh as I examined someone who I’d met for two hours and then passed judgment on him as if he were another blog. He is human and I forgot and in doing so became a little less human myself. That I think is the great flaw of blogs and technology – we have trouble communicating our humanity. There is no inflection of voice, a smile, a raised eyebrow to redirect, clarify or soften sarcasm, to add humor where it was meant to be. The words simply sit on the screen, not controlled by the writer, but interpreted by the reader. Even if we don’t assume new identities, as in Wikipedia or Second Life, we are new, different because of the flat nature of the medium. Perhaps, that is why there are all these odd fights, flaming on blogs and Wikipedia – the nuance of humanity is not there.

s p a z e b o y said...

I'm looking forward to visiting this class more than just about anything else in the next few weeks.

I'd come every week if I could spare the time!

brenda said...

Jim, well put. We do seem to distance ourselves from are humaneness with this technology. But, it's not like we’re reporters heartlessly objectifying our subjects for the sake of a story. We are beginners, not fully comprehending the true nature of this beast. We pass and publish judgment as quick as it pops into our heads. I would argue that good bloggers, who initiate dialogues you would want to read, grow out of this knee-jerk inclination and, like a well-reported story, good blogging can further our humanistic endeavors.

Aldon Hynes said...

"There is no inflection of voice, a smile, a raised eyebrow to redirect, clarify or soften sarcasm, to add humor where it was meant to be."

No smile :-), no raised eyebrow ;-)



Granted, some people might argue that this language of some bloggers and many IMers is somehow an inferior language, but if I was looking for linguistic purity, I'd probably speak French.

lednik said...

Just trying to figure out the lingo, Aldon, "/snark" means?
I like it when the automatic formating doesn't just leave the :) but makes them bright and yellow. Hurray for technology!

Aldon Hynes said...

lednik, and anyone else trying to decode </snark> :

With HTML, XML and other types markup languages, it is typical to put the markup inside of angular brackets <>

At the end of the markup section, you put a slash to indicate the end of the markup.

e.g. <b> means starting here, everything is in bold. It is ended with </b>

So, </snark> means that you have reached the end of a snarky section.

For background on the work 'snark', I would recommend checking the definition in Wikipedia.
(Note: I don't know the emoticon for 'evil grin').

A Little World Literature said...

Obi-Wan, I don’t think these symbols are the same or sufficient. In fact, the very reason these pale substitutes were created was because the dreadful void exists and these are desperate attempts to bridge it – and it is a weak, wood and rope construction at best. Communication is too complicated to be reduced to a typed symbol, yet, let me contradict myself, simple enough that a sideways glance is enough to set fire to one’s soul. Personal human interaction is still the apex of communication, which is why, as Colin often states, so many bloggers go to meet each other at flash mobs or conventions or on Monday nights at Trinity. I really think im, e-mail, blogs, Facebook, etc. are symptoms of our difficulty in communicating one on one. To use one of Colin’s images again, the tribal structure of our society has eroded and technology is a tool many are turning to re-create it. Why this has happened I don’t quite understand, and I think it impacts one segment of society and not everyone. Perhaps, these are people who’ve never had a tribe with which they were comfortable and now they have an open, very powerful tribe to join. By the way, I don’t think it is a function of linguistic purity – it is the combination of language, sound and body. Communication on the net, many times, is akin to Aspergers – it just doesn’t quite communicate at the level desired– like now!  See that god-awful smiley face pop up reminds me to refer you to a great video on MetaFilter about Harry Potter and Lord Wal-d-mart, silly but funny, especially when if you know about Wal-Mart’s business practices.