What does this Lifestream say about my digital activities? Certainly that I’m word-orientated, and that I read the Guardian: also, that my digital activities augment (or are augmented by? – the directionality is an unstable question) my paper-based activities.
Before EDC, I’d have said I was a cautious and restrained user of digital resources. As part of the learning process, some of the brakes have come off.
After 112 email visitations from the firstname.lastname@example.org, I’m gradually becoming acclimatised to daily encounters with Pinterest. But it’s the connections I’m drawing (e.g. some images of Roman ships on Pinterest thrown up by a Google search for cybernauts this week) and uses I can see (e.g. images for my final assignment, and other such future works) which are sparking my (p)interest.
Is Pinbot thus missing the mark with me? No, I’ve come to see complex networks within which I’m embedded and living. This has been especially so in EDC’s Algorithmic Cultures block. My eyes have been opened (and widened) to the everyday nature of algorithms, and their relative ubiquity, especially where I can’t immediately see them. That has both fed and loosened my caution and constraint as a digital user – and as one used by digital cultures.
EDC has made me use some digital modalities I wouldn’t have touched before – Adobe Spark and Thinglink, especially, have surprised me as being ‘things I can do’, with the kinds of spin-offs into other uses I’ve mentioned with Pinterest. Other digital modalities are becoming more embedded – blogging, Tweeting and ‘hanging out’. These are likely to become digital norms for me, with resultant changes in my digital practices and identity. I’m also freely exploring previously unknown things, such as Jing, with an eye to how I can use it in my teaching. These feel like major steps-forward for me.
There are Community Cultures effects, too. Just as I hit a blank prior to starting this paragraph, I flicked over to Tweetdeck, and saw three people ‘liked’ my final Tweet. A little burst of encouragement, as I turn into this paragraph – strangely, the kind of encouragement I would have questioned and distanced myself from, prior to the course. But now, things are a little different, a little more entangled. I don’t anticipate becoming Big on Pinterest, or any other social media, but who knows? And, just yesterday, I saw this blog post on Tweetdeck, and immediately thought ‘there are a couple of apps I’ll try’, and clipped it into Evernote. Bread-and-butter steps for some, perhaps, but significant shifts for me, and my digital activities.
Have I become a cyborg? I don’t think so. More of that in my final assignment. But more entangled, for sure. But that’s life, more widely. It’s when you stop being entangled that you die, or start to die. That day will come, but ahead of then, it’s entangling forwards.
In my last week’s Lifestream, I’ve tried to look forward. I think it’s a complex, conflicted and confined future, humanly speaking, in the medium term. But I’m thankful for a saviour, and a professional and personal context in which to teach of him, and I’ll press on with that. Thank you, James and Jeremy, for EDC along that road.