Blog post writing in my house is a study in contrasts. I will pace around the house, pick up my guitar for ten minutes, read an article, and then write a 1000 word blog post in 20 minutes. After this, I am useless for about an hour (or longer, depending on who you ask). Bonnie (@bonstewart) will sit, still, in the corner of the couch for as many hours as we can scrape out of a life where a 6 and almost 9 year old flit in and out of the room. That flitting comes from their father. It’s how i work. Bonnie is a crafter. Every sentence, every turn of phrase is measured against her sensibility and her intellect. I write a blog post, read it over once and hit publish.
Bonnie sees all possibility, and narrows from there. I, for reasons that people may intuit, will tend to focus obsessively on one idea for short periods of time. Bonnie’s approach produces better writing, mine is faster :). That difference at the middle of my practice as a thinker has got me to thinking about all the potentially different approaches out there that people are going to have when they look at #rhizo15. What we’ve had going so far is going to suit some people’s approaches more than others.
The first 4 days of #rhizo15 have been pretty intense. We’ve had over 2500 tweets, lots of activity on the facebook page and a very interesting set of blog posts from around the world. There are new ideas, new people and, clearly, people who already know each other and are sharing ideas they’ve been working on for a while. I’ve been watching the tagboard, and been very much enjoying the bursts of creativity that I’m seeing everywhere… but i’ve been worrying about what people may think their participation SHOULD be.
there is no WAY to participate
I believe that people come to every situation with a map of where they’ve been and how they’ve known things. While it’s possible to graph a predetermined structure of knowledge onto that map, I tend to think of it as always alien. Like adding a prefab shed to the side of a house. There is a chance that the shed is the same style as the house, but it isn’t terribly likely. It will always be ‘shed’ and won’t be ‘house’. If we can build more organically to our knowledge map, if we approach these situations from where WE are, then there’s a better chance that the learning process is a growth process, a natural extension to what you’ve already known. Our warren just gets new rooms 🙂
The reason that participation instructions for rhizo are so vague is not that I don’t have feeling about it, it’s that I think deep learning has to be deeply personal. I’m hoping to allow folks a chance to participate in spaces that are comfortable for them. One of the central guiding principles in my design of this course is that I need to be constantly creating space. Space for different ideas, space for people to think new things. It is a course about me always saying less. This, hopefully, will give permission for everyone else to say more. The more you guys say about this topic, the more I learn. A side effect of this, I’m starting to think, is that it makes it harder to encourage new people to participate.
One potential approach
If you have been looking at rhizo so far and thinking that it doesn’t quite suit your way of working, I offer one potential approach for giving it a try.
- This is a list of week 1 blog posts
- Pick one that resonates.
- Leave a comment
- Approach mirror, give the person in the mirror a high five
- return contentedly to previous activity
Once you have made one comment, you’ll have contributed to the course. After that, how far you take it is up to you. If that’s what participation looks like for you, that’s all it ever needs to be.
If you’ve never blogged before, and think you might want to give it a try…
You may only post once in your life, or you may find that it becomes a place from which you communicate with others who are interested in what you are interested in.
At every moment of dissonance there is a chance to learn. I am always hoping that we will have participation from someone who does not think ‘they belong’. The more different kinds of input, the more perspectives that engage, the more fun this process is for everyone. If you have thoughts, convergent or divergent, find a way to share them. If you aren’t sure how, message me. Whatever your background or interest, consider this an invitation for you to participate in ways that work for you.