If you didn’t blog it, it didn’t happen.

As I’m reflecting on the #eci831 experience and actually thinking about something like a grade for my participation, I realize that I may not have been as good a student as I thought. Not that I didn’t do a lot of wandering around the interwebs, connecting myself, exploring spaces of education, learning about digital learning theories, examining how others were using these theories, and determining what, of all of this, would be useful to me and to the analogue educators I am closest with. I certainly did that, but I didn’t capture all that here. Why is that a problem? Because if you didn’t blog it, it didn’t happen.

Over the term I wrote a paper on autobiographical theory in the online world, and came to the conclusion that the development of a digital autobiographical self requires a certain level of presence in the form of artifacts. The lived process, the trail of phrases and photos and links and videos that we leave behind as we play around in this world, is largely how we build an identity in absence. In many ways, this self is strewn around the internet. It lives a little over here in a reply to someone’s blog, and a little over there in a photo I put up, but it can be hard to pin down if I don’t create a home for myself – somewhere my friends can stop by and see me on a regular basis. I’m now coming to realize one of the great roles blogs can play in that development of self.

I’m thinking of it in terms of the way I roam around the world. In the last two years, I have lived in roughly 8 places in 4 countries. In the last year I have not lived in one place for more than 3 months at a time. I have drifted through town, absorbing, contributing, having fun, and sharing with others and then moving on. While I made connections with folks along the way, I have left little behind that they could point to in 5 years and say, “See, Leslie was here!” While there is something liberating about living like The Littlest Hobo, there is something to be said for building things. In that same time period, a friend has done amazing work on her back yard, another has been instrumental in a youth organization in B.C., another has helped develop a community art therapy program in Calgary.

Don’t get me wrong. I know that the things I have created have value. I know that I have made meaningful contributions to the world during this time, but I also know that I could be doing better. I could be building a tiny corner of the internet where I can call home. I can show what I have lived; I can share the beauty of the digital and analogue world; I can amass proof of the kind, sharing, safe, open people of the world and convince others that they need not be afraid. I can do this for myself and for others who may be interested in knowing what I’ve been up to for all this time! (MOM!!!).

So , as this “graded” moment passes, and I move into the space again as myself, I consider how I may use it as a showcase, a hearth, a kitchen table, a backyard oasis. I think of how this space will be visited, not only by others, but also how I will return to this space over time. Living as a gypsy I can’t carry much with me, but maybe I can stash a few artifacts here for safekeeping.

home in pink


8 Responses to “If you didn’t blog it, it didn’t happen.”

  1. This is so true. Reflecting on what you learn is an essential part of the experience, and capturing those reflections in any medium is critical. It just so happens that we have this thing called the internet that allows us to share these reflections across distance and time.

    It’s as if for any given moment you do something, you need to set aside as much time afterward to encode it, for yourself first, and for an audience. Great post.

    • onepercentyellow Says:

      I hadn’t really thought of it in quite those terms, but I think you’re entirely right. The reflection time really gives you the moment to consider what has gone on and to properly square it away. There are a few things I’d like to catch up on in here in order to fully absorb the learning that happened. Now I can see how that is important from a retention standpoint.

  2. Marilyn Schwab Says:

    Well said!

  3. I’ve been thinking about this a lot as I’ve done so much in the Twitter space and so much less on my (space) over the past few years. I feel that a part of my identity is missing, and I know I need to reclaim my identity in the spaces that I own. This is definitely going to be something important for me to write and think about over the term of my sabbatical.

    • onepercentyellow Says:

      I’ve also been thinking about these shifting centers – places we care deeply about and spend inordinate amounts of time in and then one day, *poof* we realize that we haven’t been back in months. I suppose it’s like that in the analogue world as well. Perhaps the Beetles had it all along…

      “There are places I remember all my life, though some have changed…”

    • Twitter, and social media in general, is transient. It’s an almost real-time conversation that quickly fades away, pushed downstream by the flow of the new hot stuff and shiny things.

      Blogging sets a milestone, it connects the transient to something that needs to be remembered. Basically, one feeds into the other, in a virtuous circle. But sometimes, we get in a frenzy over the here and now, and we forget to set our milestones. That’s a constant struggle I have, for sure.

  4. This has reminded me of one of my favourite posts Reader, you are important to me.

    It’s great that I read this after reading your paper on auto-biography (perfect timing/sequence, imho). We are all gypsies, one way or another. I think I am, metaphorically and I can say the same for many people whether or not they choose to admit it. But, as mentioned in the said post, our act of connecting – whatever the medium, digital or analogue – makes us part of each other’s stories.

    I certainly hope you keep writing.

  5. What necessary words… super, an excellent phrase

    P.S. Please review icons

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