Archive for online

the real work of living

Posted in Online with tags , , , on August 30, 2012 by onepercentyellow

I’ve been living comfortably in my online persona for some time now.  I look back at my blog posts and have a sense of glee that I’ve made it to 35 posts.  It only took me 3 years!  As I scan the titles, I see some good academic work here.  A good sense of my values coming through and the direction I would like to go with my professional digital life and education.

But as I look at this digital self through the lens of autobiographical theory it falls flat.  While I have taken a few risks in sharing myself – my Week 5 reflection for ECI831 comes to mind (the punk-rock persona at the end) – I don’t feel as though I have shared my own personal struggles with finding meaning, like Jabiz did with his discussions of his father (see the pearl jam podcast), or like @cogdog did with sharing his mother’s stories.  Or like Bonnie did when she shared the pain of losing a child. 

Is my digital persona legit without sharing deeply personal stories of the struggle of life?

As I sit here this morning, it is tempting to immediately augment my digital presence with some lasting impression of my personal turmoil.  A tell-all of falling in love while in Peru, or a revealing reflection on finding forgiveness with my father as he struggles with losing his voice due to cancer.  Of course sharing these stories gives you an insight into who I am, but would the intimacy of our connection translate into the analogue world? Would I share these stories with you if we were in the same room?

See, the true conundrum of making this online self is that when I attend a tweetup or a conference, or even just find an afternoon to sit and play music, my analogue self becomes yoked to my digital representation of myself.  And aren’t we all afraid of becoming the “non-professional” persona?  allowing those cracks of real person to show through those suits that fit a little too tight… in ways, I keep a fine gloss over my asynchronous online persona.

But then there’s the synchronous world of #ds106radio, chat rooms and skype (as well as the nearly synchronous world of twitter) where I am myself in myself.  I am present, and presenting as close to an unedited, authentic self as is possible (self-delusion aside).   And as I look back, it is in these spaces where I have truly connected with people.  These are the spaces where I can cry.

I’ve recently come to realize that life is just a waste of time – you just have to choose what you want to waste your time on!  When we spend time – REAL TIME, you know that thing ticking away the seconds of your life (even as you read this!) – we create connections. There is no way to get around it.  There is no substitute for time.

Thanks for spending some with me.


The Social Artist – What is liberal arts?

Posted in eci831, MAIS, Online with tags , , , , , on January 11, 2012 by onepercentyellow

The question, “What is a liberal arts university?” is a little like asking someone to describe post-modernism. Often people know more what it feels like and looks like rather than exactly what it is. A description involves questions of the value and purpose of a post-secondary education, and, as such, becomes a rather self-revealing political statement, rather than a detached list of descriptors. Individuals are involved in the telling of liberal arts stories, and perhaps this passion is the most revealing of all.

In this second video of the Social Artist, we discuss the makings of a liberal arts university in general. For me, this video has been created alongside readings in the theory of Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) for my MAIS 638 course with Dr. Carolyn Redl. As a part of CDA not only am I considering the responses to the question, “What is a liberal arts university?” but this new theoretical background has me pondering the context each person inhabits in the liberal arts system and how that has influenced their responses. What’s more, I am reflecting on how my role as editor is manipulating the recordings to speak back to the audience in an abridged, entertaining and engaging format. I find it fascinating that in many ways, my own voice is populated by a series of clips of the voices of my interview subjects.

I have also been contemplating my goals in creating these videos. I want the story I am portraying to encourage people to take up their own conversations on liberal arts and online learning. From this perspective, I wonder how the individuals interviewed view the responses of their colleagues. From the social artist perspective, I wonder how presenting an audience’s words back to them influences levels of interest, involvement and buy-in on a project.

These ponderings are simply questions I have come up with along the process of creating the videos. I hope to share more of my reflections on the creation of the videos and the OLI process in this space. In the meantime, enjoy the show!

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

Posted in eci831 with tags , , , , on December 19, 2011 by onepercentyellow

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