Tag Archives: My thoughts

Elastic Time – Week 3 thoughts

Image by Ian Foss, Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/badboy69/2333409688

Elastic Time (not a cyberpunk band)

Thoughts about time have weaved through the lifestream over the past couple of weeks and through the themes of this first EDC block. The lifestream can reflect the speed at which new information is pelted at us on the internet – the blog is a way of grabbing at these multimedia bytes like pulling items off shelves in a frantic trolley dash. Here, time is contracted, so that much seems to happen all at once relentlessly. This is life on the internet and through this lens we can see how education and learning might work – finding, noting, glimpsing, gathering, liking, sharing and curating multiple information inputs from heterogeneous sources and making sense of them when elastic time expands a little for us to summarise and theorise on our pickings.

Thoughts, also, about how there must be a lapse of time before we can properly assimilate these new ideas and info scraps and forge links with our ‘already understood’ – this process happens subliminally, as if by some unconscious other.

When time is contracted we feel a little out-of-control and our lifestream blog can celebrate this relatively ungoverned and seemingly frenetic activity. We should “honour the mess” of our phenomenology (Fenwick and Edwards, 2010). Perhaps this digital stream is a vivid representation of how we pick up and absorb knowledge and experience as we go about our lives, grasping ideas on-the-fly and having flashes of connection or inspiration – education and learning not being confined to one space, nor one time, nor one network, nor even especially to one iteration of ourselves.

Time stretches when I read that Haraway (2007) enumerates the breached boundaries between, for example, science and religion, the human and the technological, the human and animal, and consider that these ontologies have been called into question for some good amount of it. Yet we seem little prepared to “navigate” the “devastated absence” (Bayne, 2015) left by the departed humanist – it is a desert space with no gods peopled by human chimeras and curious cryogenic recoverings, where we might fall prey to creeds of greed and insularity.

Here we are in our experimental sociotechnical internet classroom, homo faber (Miller,2011) in symbiosis with our machines, and trying to make sense of the not-quite-in-control to see if it attests to, or incarnates, our learning. We are tech voyeurs being surveilled, surrendering our data and privacy. We are profiting from our online community and benefiting from our access to everything. We are reading narratives of threat and promise (Hand, 2008) and living them out at the same time.

There seems to be a world of time passed since the early, and now dated, visualisations of cyberculture we have examined in Togethertube. Yet this has all happened in my lifetime, being already someone who can remember early computers and first debates about hypertext. I am out of time, not knowing any of the digital cultural references, and, as a human in the old accepted sense, also out of time. I am, I hope, just in time … trying to “get back on” and salvage my lifestream after some unavoidable absence.


Bayne, S. (2014) What’s the matter with ‘Technology Enhanced Learning’? Learning, Media and Technology, DOI: 10.1080/17439884.2014.915851
Fenwick, T., & Edwards, R. (2010). Actor-network theory in education. London: Routledge
Hand, M (2008) Hardware to everywhere: narratives of promise and threat, chapter 1 of Making digital cultures: access, interactivity and authenticity. Aldershot: Ashgate. pp 15-42. (e-reserve, pdf)
Haraway, D. (2007) A Cyborg Manifesto. London: Routledge.
Miller, V. (2011) Chapter 9: The Body and Information Technology, in Understanding Digital Culture. London: Sage.


Week 2 random bullet points

Note to self

  • avoid the danger of spending too much time on Lifestream and not enough on reading
  • hard to get this comment business working (but see point above)
  • don’t compare your blog to your classmates’ too much – leads to limiting human emotions such as insecurity 🙁 – think intrinsic motivation
  • sort tags to reflect post content not just process

This summary is related to several Lifestream posts this week. I saved a YouTube clip of Fred Turner on Pinterest and watched it whilst I was at the gym, hence the blurred photo post on Instagram. I was squeezing the most use I could from a period of time.

In the video clip Turner describes how members of the US counterculture of the 60s, ambivalent towards technology, made movement back to “the land” to rediscover themselves and form new communities with alternative values. Supporting this movement, a publication entitled The Whole Earth Catalog, dreamed up by Stewart Brand, came to “establish[ed] a relationship between information technology, economic activity, and alternative forms of community that would outlast the counterculture itself and become a key feature of the digital world” (2005, p.488). A full circle was turned: technology came to underpin and facilitate a community turning away from a politics that had spawned such affordances from the “large scale weapons technologies of the cold war” (p.488), yet ironically the community ultimately failed to “escape the pull of America’s technological and economic centers of gravity” (p.512).

Turner relates how technology was co-constitutive alongside political, economic and social elements, of a new sociability upholding alternative values in a digital age. By following his exposition, I was able to gain more perspective on how technology interrelates with particular people in particular places for particular purposes at particular times (students, online, learning, now) and how these interrelations become cultures in the sense described by Hand (2008, p.18),

“There are new forms of circulation emerging which override or replace older modern structures, where culture has in a sense replaced the social …”

(Article saved in Dropbox)

Half-listening to the radio in the night, I tuned into a BBC World Service broadcast which, coincidentally, described another digital culture full circle (saved on Pinterest). This one concerned the rise of fake news accounts on the internet and the creation of “click-worthy” stories, especially prevalent during the US Presidential campaign, which gained traction and prominence on Google and Facebook and made millions through advertising. One way Facebook is attempting to combat the proliferation of false news (according to the broadcast), is to develop algorithms to identify recently-created news sites and demote them in the rankings of social media feeds. The tech giants’ algorithms promoted these news accounts and now the companies must marshal new code to help quash them.

Hand, M. (2008). Hardware to everywhere: narratives of promise and threat, chapter 1 of Making digital cultures: access, interactivity and authenticity. Aldershot: Ashgate. pp 15-42.

Turner, F. (2005). The WELL and the Origins of Virtual Community. Technology and Culture, 46, pp 485-512. DOI: 0040-165X/05/4603-0001$8.00