Feels like that sort of a day.
Photo by jez`.
Once digitized, a page of words loses its fixity. It can change every time it’s refreshed on a screen. A book page turns into something like a Web page, able to be revised endlessly after its initial uploading. There’s no technological constraint on perpetual editing, and the cost of altering digital text is basically zero. As electronic books push paper ones aside, movable type seems fated to be replaced by movable text.
I love the idea that digital text is never finished, that it can always be revised, commented on, reshared, and rewritten. This constant reflection and interaction is one of the more important things that we can teach students about participating online. But Nicholas Carr’s recent article in the Wall Street Journal about the digital effects on what was movable type caught me off-guard because of the negative effects he highlighted on what technology now enables us to do with written texts.
Carr writes, “What will be lost, or at least diminished, is the sense of a book as a finished and complete object, a self-contained work of art.” This is great, and at least an admission that remix culture is an important part of our present and future. This isn’t a bad thing, just different.
And what’s to say that a work of art can’t be improved by the next person’s tweak? Are we ready to see that happen to works that we consider to be untouchable?
The opening chord to “A Hard Day’s Night” might be the most famous single chord ever played, at least in modern music. What’s so great about it is that it’s not just one chord — it took three Beatles (and their producer) to make that sound.
There are a lot of analogies to make here, but I won’t make any of them. It’s a good reminder, though, that working alone is never as rewarding as collaborating with others.
I’m really taken by one line in the slidedeck: Doing what you know is fun, but it doesn’t improve you. I made one resolution for the coming year yesterday and I don’t know how someone becomes better at anything without doing new things.
For all the talk about how we need to be good at growing from failure… I HATE failing. But I think I’m ready for some constructive failure this year, all in the name of getting better, doing bigger, and, frankly, being smarter.
I’m giving a 365 project another shot this year. I don’t really know how it’s going to evolve, whether it will be 365 photos (it won’t) or 365 blog posts (it probably wont), but it’s going to be some combination of a bunch of different things.
I’ve been thinking a lot about how I share what I find, what I know, and what I do. I realized that lately, I’ve been sharing a lot on Facebook because of the comfort that comes with sharing with a bunch of people that maybe know me more than most. It’s safer that way — I don’t have to worry about being one of the many retweeters or likers or +1s and can just figure out what no one else in my feed has mentioned yet — but it’s also unchallenging.
So this year, I’m going to try to post something publicly every day. No idea what it’s going to be, and I’m curious to see what strands emerge. But I’m hoping that, if anything, I’m challenged to think differently about things and actually reflect on what I find because the fun isn’t necessarily in finding things but in taking it in, reflecting on it, and sharing it with others.
Here we go.