In a Blended Learning and Instruction discussion of Social Networks, Marielle expresses belief in common and continuing desires to maintain individual spaces for online postings, and in increasing ease of cross-posting and cross-referencing from and to multiple venues. In the same post, she points out risks related to diversification of networks and multiplication of personal writing venues (blogs) diluting “critical mass that is key to their success” (Comment 18741, 2008.07.24, JST).
While Marielle recognizes strengths of networking technology that enable people with common interests to form networks, if not communities, easily and quickly; she also points out amplifications and caveats to those bent on rapid diversification of networking sites, and similar migrations from one to the next:
With the viral spread of online networks, we must take care not to dilute them so much (by rapidly migrating to new ones) that they lose their power, which derives from the quantity and quality of their membership. With the proliferation of blogs, we must take care not to get lost in a plethora of solipsistic silos, speaking without listening, reinventing rather than building upon each other’s ideas and deepening the collective dialogue.
(mpal3, So Many Nodes, Not Enough Reciprocity (Yet), 2008.07.03)
At present, lacking (or simply ignoring) great automaticity in propagating connections from one blog or network to the next, it remains a matter of choice where to establish or maintain a toehold on connected writing. For me, the choice this morning was easier done than said, or written about. Anyway, here goes – a short story long:
I’d followed Marielle’s link from Blended Learning to her blog (Authorship 2.0), previewed her post about reciprocity, and decided on the spot to bookmark it in Diigo, highlighting the passage that I’ve quoted above, sharing it with a Diigo branch of the Learning with Computers community, and sending it to a list of friends weblogging in Kumamoto. When I finished bookmarking, commenting on, and description of the post that I’d flagged, the description had grown to such an extent that it seemed almost more suited for blog commentary.
There I was, in Edublogs, ready to leave a comment for Marielle, when it dawned on me that I didn’t recall, immediately, what in a flurry of early morning activity had lead me there. Once I pasted the overflow from the Diigo bookmark description into an Edublog comment window, with no, “Hi, I found this interesting post on your blog through…” (no thanks to hot de-caf. coffee on a sweltering morning before the air-conditioning kicks in), I noticed how impersonal what I’d originally written for a bookmark description sounded as a stand-alone comment.
That inkling led to a quick poke about the Authorship blog to see who had written the post So Many Nodes… (above). However, finding little more than mpal3 on edublogs (and Bmused on del.icio.us) there-abouts; I decided that, rather than leave my names, email address, and an impersonal comment on an unknown author’s blog (if knowing an author requires knowing her name), it would be easier to dump the description I’d clipped from Diigo into a new, full-featured blog entry here, then retrace my steps backwards through multiple browsers, tabs, and drop-down histories, in order to suss out what connections I could.
In short, I got lost, and wrote my way back. The remainder of the coffee is chilling, the air-conditioning is working now; I’m heating the world, and writing solipsistically. What else is new? I’ve rediscovered, in a very personal way, what so many nodes mean. I surmise that initial connections in or via writing, whether in the head or on the web, are necessarily loose, and that virtual connectedness is just that – virtual.