I believe my lifestream is a useful representation of much of my EDC experience as it logs a lot of my reading, my participation within the community and many of my thoughts about our studies. These have been expressed in post titles or in brief comments on items I’ve considered relevant to pull in (illuminating in itself) as well as more considered reflections. The provision of these summaries and comments has been a useful discipline, tracing my preoccupations and thought-trains and enabling meaningful review.
The blog has really worked for me as a central focusing ‘place to put everything’. Early on I resisted the impulse to organise with pages so the stream remained a better representation of what I understood it to be – a chronological series of thoughts, ideas and finds mashed up in a variety of modalities to chart my progress through EDC, more or less governed by myself. I decided to rely on tagging and categorising to locate posts or identify emerging themes or events, enjoying the economy of the WordPress tag-cloud which enables a one-click surfacing of themes or collections. This premeditated organisation is both illustrative of our human wish to create order and pin meaning and a sense-making imperative in a scrolling blog. My tag-cloud contains nothing surprising, but would be a rich source of information had I chosen other folksonomies, or schemes of emphasis, using it to light up posts I’d considered important or those with unanswered questions.
Central to the quasi-confessional nature of a blog and in common with all reflective diaries, I believe a tone has emerged, and the revisions I’ve made whilst composing longer posts attest to this performative aspect. The knowledge of its being public on the web has sometimes been inhibiting, but most often it’s a thought I have put aside or not had time to entertain.
I have enjoyed writing, particularly when I’ve been inspired by an idea or a reading, but I consider some of my posts to be too informal with ideas expressed in inappropriately flowery language. I believe I can write in an academic register, but the lifestream has somehow worked to release my inner sensationalist! It is interesting to consider that the blog form may have encoded within its literacy a human-designed essentialist ‘algorithm’ prompting me to write in a certain way. More likely it is my particular response to the affordance and has certainly been a natural and involuntary one. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing for academic study.
In a recent post I likened my lifestream to a river course. This natural-world analogy is distant from the algorithmic operations underpinning much of our real life-course which subtly dictate our choices and organise our journey. There are hints of algorithmic agency co-constituting my lifestream such as comments left by automated bots, auto-updating rss feeds, the sudden appearance of comments I’ve written elsewhere and the surprise I register when finding posts I’d forgotten I’d invoked by ifttt.
I believe the technologies used have co-created my lifestream, helping shape both its form and substance, a mix of the human and the human-designed non-human providing an experience I’m glad not to have missed.