“Shifting Practices to Open”

I’ve avoided twitter in the past, not really seeing the point in sharing my every fleeting thought with the world as it pops into my head.  I’ve generally thought of it as a tool for narcissists and self promoters, and completely disregarded its potential for other types of communication.  While part of me still holds this stereotype,  I’m starting to realize that tools such as twitter don’t inherently have to be anything.  Their value comes in what each user brings to it.

The twitter chat was at times enlightening, inspiring and infuriating.  I was following from the beginning, and watched as a steady trickle of posts quickly turned into a torrent of information, cascading across my screen faster than I could ever hope to process.  As links, comments and hashtags piled on top of each other I couldn’t help but wonder how anyone could manage to keep up with, and synthesize all this information!  Maybe the point is to trawl through and pick out those relevant bits that make sense to your practice.  But I found this task to require a faster level of processing than I was used to in online conversations.  It was kind of like emptying a whole elementary school into a gym and telling the kids to discuss what they wanted for Christmas.  I’m sure my next experience will be more successful, as I’ll have a better idea of what I’m getting into, but this first time I quickly became overwhelmed and logged out when the posts started flying faster than I could keep up with.

I love the idea of open environments and open ended outcomes to activities, but this level of freedom can also be a curse at times.  I work well when I have a bit of an idea of what direction I need to be heading in, especially at the start of courses and assignments, so jumping into the deep end was interesting to say the least.  I’m happy that I survived the experience, as I know I’m stronger for it.

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One response to ““Shifting Practices to Open””

  1. Randy LaBonte says :

    Hi Ben. Interesting comment: “The twitter chat was at times enlightening, inspiring and infuriating.” Agreed. Sip the Koolaid, but don’t drown in it. The learning I take away is to dip in the stream when I have time. The internet is a never-ending highway of information streaming by. You reach out, grab something and retreat. Go back, find more, step back.

    What I find is that I meet certain people that resonate for me. I like what they share/say, and find. For example, Stephen Downes is a great cultivator. Yet when he speaks he does not engage me quite the same way. Alec Couros puts out ideas that engage my thinking, but I don’t know how to take what he does and bring it to my own practice. Despite it all, they are part of the network – the learning network – I cultivate.

    I survive Twitter, blogs, tagging, and social sites. I do my best to to connect and share. Thank you for doing the same.

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