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Networked Thoughts

Networked Thoughts

I am experiencing a network overdose. I mean, I am writing about a topic and suddenly a seemingly unrelated post or image I saw yesterday or this morning comes to force itself into my post.

I guess you call that intuition, some kind of knowledge or certainty that the nodes in my thought actually belong to the trail that will lead me to a conclusion. Or at least, a mind plateau: a somewhat balanced new state of affairs that satisfies me and leaves me with a sense of accomplished task so that I can press publish and continue with my RL (real life).

I am always fascinated at this mashup way of framing knowledge roads in my mind. I think it has always been a mashup, even before the word or the meaning we attach to it existed. Years ago, while reading Virginia Woolf and a bit of T.S Eliot, I thought the term stream of consciousness best described it.
Now I think my mind is a folksonomy invaded by RSS, technically speaking. I am thinking about what other nodes in my del.icio.us network have tagged as 'valuable' (which is in itself a form of mind frame or identity ) and, suddenly, the mental RSS notification refreshes and I know it is time to stop and go to a classroom.

This is a picture of my mind now
(Spoiler warning: read at your own risk)
-Students's wiki homepage updated
-How technology is changing, not the changes, but the direction
-What is the direction of schools, traditional, taxonomic? Can they change with Web2.0
-What is the change agent? Where can we start to change?
-How assessment methods (mainly summative) lock us into School 1.0 (to be encouraging... maybe we should say School alpha)
-How to speak to a small crowd of people who will be listening to me presenting my thesis (not soon, mind you, but anyway in my thoughts right now) and really make sense of it all in a few minutes.
-The images from a slideshare I've just seen about business implications of social software is looming in front of me...
-Which programs makes those cool graphs?
Ctrl + K and I am at Google but...
-Time! Just enough time to eat and then a string of lessons this afternoon.
OK. Try to post about it this evening.

Thoughts over. You get the picture? I am RSS-ed!!

Because time is like a notification. It stops the mind from focusing and flowing into thoughts.

I know, not promising.
How to get somewhere with a swinging mind like that. The hopeful note is I do not think I am on the verge of madness. I am quite sure this happens to all of us -or does it?

On a quantitative basis, let me sum it up like this:
221 people in my del.icio.us network
524 feeds in my RSS

No wonder.

On a qualitative front, how much reading am I actually doing?
This is the question
I think I read quite a lot. But so differently. What I have stopped doing is following single nodes in the network for a long time (except perhaps the commenters in this blog, I'll tell you why, just read on)
As my focus shifts from one topic to another I need to find again the relevant person, mind, converser to learn from them.
Then I am surprised. I wonder why I do not always check first something like: what do Will, Stephen or Jay say about this? Well, that is the frame of mind that changes with the Web2.0. The attitude. Even though they are the great bloggers, if I did that, I think I would be adopting the top-down model of thinking and organising info they always blog against.
But perhaps they read each other first before posting. Right. Because they also comment on each other first.
You go in circles from the latest published to the core. You check the topic of conversation, then the conversation, then the people. And last -how could it be least?- you do check the big names. But not out of a need to read the "right" or "best" opinion, or the punch line, authoritative, expert view on the issue. Nope. It's just that you cannot start talking about something as if it were new when they have published it and everybody has been informed. That would not being there in the conversation. Again it's not looking for authoritative views but the people in their network. They have so many readers: it is their readers I want to know about.

And how does all this relate to my networked thoughts? Well, because if I do not write about what I read, if I do not filter it from myself I can get intoxicated with an RSS overdose. I would conclude that my RSS reading skills improve only if I write. And writing provokes research, i.e. a web search (let me explain: not in Google. Ah sorry, you already know, no need to explain) and then a process, and then you publish it.

Hopefully you survive my networked thoughts. Have you? Phew!

Now, right now, we are talking. What do you say?

Related Post: RSS Digestion: Too Much to Read?

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Dear Claudia,
I remember when you talked about your blog very enthusiastically.You were kind of experimenting and learning at that time. But, that was a year ago. Now, you have became an expert on the subject!!

So will you Rosa -I hope. One thing I have learnt is that you need not be an expert yourself before you share. The daily experiences we have in our classrooms can be worth a post and food for thought for the "experts". That's how we get into their conversation.

If they decide to leave a comment and let you know about their thoughts after reading you... well, that's great!

Thank you for your words.

Time is like a notification, I liked that. It reminded me of Quentin (The Time and the Fury). Even though he destroys his watch in a desperate attempt to get rid of time, it's the awareness of time that stops his continuous flow of thoughts (his southern mashup); the bells striking, the shadow of his body revealing midday.

Back to real life, I'm certain the picture of your mind is not a map of imminent madness. If it was, it would be true for me, too. And I declare myself sane.

What I don't understand (and I really admire) is how you manage to write something that makes sense. Today I was talking about these topics with a co worker at school, and all of a sudden I stopped and told him, "What I'm saying is so disorganized."

Perhaps the answer, as you once told me, is to write your thoughts down.

(Claudia, I hate the word verification stuff)

Very good. Let us be sane by decree. Period.

Now the idea of getting rid of time... if only we could! You remind me that I have stopped wearing watches. Anyway, time is so pervasive.

(I know, I know. Going through the captcha takes away a bit of the pleasure of commenting. But spammers like my blog... oh my!)

Thank you ladies, your company in these comments reassures me I am -after all- making some kind of sense out of this.

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