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Notes Towards Day 9: A Conversation with "Serendip"

Anne Dalke's picture

Summaries by jrlewis and sweetp

Talking with Paul Grobstein

To Blog or Not To?

I. Coursekeeping
today's notetakers jrlewis & sweetpea

first paper due on-line Sunday @ 5 p.m.:
instructions for submitting your papers are @ top of course page
most important:

  • Go to "create content," and select "blog entry."
  • Title your paper (what would make others want to read it?)
    and select "Genres Paper 1" from categories of student webpapers
  • Copy a text only version of your paper on your computer; preview; save.
  • Don't neglect possibilities for making your papers more inviting for the web
    (images; quotes; formatting; spacing; citations as active links)

Don't neglect, also, the opportunity to read and comment on
your classmates' work, my comments on your classmates'
(and your own!) work...let's try out something different!

Those of you thinking about copywright and plagiarism would do
well to go ahead an read The Digital Humanities Manifesto 2.0
(assigned reading for next Thursday): out-there declaration
of what difference going digital will make in academic work...

Also: Tim Burke is scheduled (again!) to come next Tuesday,
so you have more time to finish reading (and responding to)
Easily Distracted: Culture, Politics, Academic and Other Shiny Objects
(and other Specific Reading Suggestions from Tim)

II. Keynote on our Course Blog last two days was "productivity":
sgb's summary: At the end of the discussion, Professor Dalke brought up an interesting point that was raised in Geeky Mom's blog--that of the productivism mentality. How valuable is it to be constantly producing? I thought it was a somewhat ironic question given the context (a small liberal arts college where it seems all we do is produce ideas and thought, then only to go on producing in careers, to keep producing in what end? I spent way too long producing this summary, perhaps as long as I spent experiencing the class. There's definitely absurdity in that.)

xhan's summary: We ended the class with the question of whether productivity is a measure of what we do. As with everything else, I think beginning to answer this question has to do with defining what productivity means, and as with many definitions, this can mean different things to different people. Just because we don't meet someone else's requirement of being "productive" does not necessarily mean that we're being unproductive. 

aseidman on interactivity: How do you guys feel about interactive blogs? I mean, blogs which set of daily tasks for the readers to do, or regular questions for the readers to answer? How about blogs where the writer learns a song, or a recipe, or a game, and encourages the reader to use her post as a guide to learn the same song, or recipe, or game? Does that kind of thing appeal to the class, or would it scare us a way and make us feel unproductive or pressured?

rachelr: Should productivity or accuracy be favored?....
The word 'category' stems from katēgorein to accuse, affirm....


Having read the blogs of travelers Hannah Mueller and Anne Dalke,
"food columnist" Kate Thomas,
"social networker" Laura Blankenship, 
 and "citizen intellectual" Tim Burke,
we now welcome Paul Grobstein: "story sharer and reviser."

some conversation already on-line w/ aybala50 & rachelr 
on learning from/about categories as
"describing differences, not deficiencies from the norm"

rachelr: What is a blog?
It is interesting that no one in class mentioned Serendip.

your comments/questions for Paul:

teal: can we ever truly get away from categories?
 Molly: Grobstein, it seems, self-edits wisely-not to ... a fault, but also not so little that he says whatever comes into his mind and may regret what he says in the future.

Shayna: The style that Paul Grobstein writes in ... seems to be off-putting when taken in any other setting. His subjects and style appeal solely to an academic crowd. This, of course, is probably why he inserted that ... plea of "if you don't like it, I'm not responsible. I am not my readers' keeper." Is this the way Serendip should be? In a style that appeals only to the educated elite? ... I will not be using Paul Grobstein's format as a model for my paper.
Anne's notes from our reading
Getting Acquainted:
"I do a lot of my most current thinking in response to things that others have posted on Serendip."

To Blog...Or Not to Blog:
"Yeah, I have reservations about 'blogs' as they are currently understood...Without a shared commitment to continual revision based on the sharing of diverse perspectives, the potential inherent in giving everyone a voice in the public arena can't be realized....The potential for return makes it different from a journal...its an invitation to exchange...That one might get a the whole point of writing....what others don't find interesting...can be enjoyed as a celebration of individual differences."

The "How" of Story-Sharing I:
"the most important the documentation of the reality that different people think differently....there isn't anything wrong with a little 'enlightened form of socializing'...One SHOULD drop by, overhear a bit of conversation, tell a little story...encourage a few additional friends to stop by as well...each of us is the center for ourselves and none of us the center for what we make together...."

The "How" of Story-Sharing II:
"the social context should be one that invites ALL stories...independent of how the story fits into conversations...this maximizes the diversity of stories....there is not hidden motive in the story sharing...other than the 'rubbing against' which is its fundamental dynamic....story-sharing is NOT an effort to get to a place of 'consensus'....There's no rush to closure...."

Serendip's Evolving Web Principles:
"The disorder of the Web is one of its greatest virtues...
The interactivity of the Web is perhaps its most important characteristics..."

From our talking, April 24, 2008
About Open-Ended Public Conversation
...aka "Lazy Democracy"?

"I am not a blogger"

"the web really potentially changes the world in subtle ways"

"Serendip promotes the idea that everybody is involved in interactively creating intellectual exchange"

"student papers are in a niche 'beween fluff and technical'"

"commentary is not dialogue"

"Serendip needs a better notification system"

"it is not a simple information resource, but away to find
things to further one's own inquiries and those of others"

"Serendip is primarily not reports on empirical findings, but openings into conversation"

"if the goal is interactivity, there is a problem of readership relative to commentary"

"for Serendip to be non-authoritarian and not persuasive,
it is useful to have multiple voices speaking on multiple topics,
in terms significant for a variety of other interests,
in widely accessible language, seeking to learn from responses,
promoting further conversations rather than ending them"

"students need to believe in their own capability to bring useful perspectives to the table;

it's an ongoing process-->have patience!"

"these are challenges to overcome/directions in which to go, both for creators and readers"

"Serendip is an emergent story"

"rather than focusing on idiosyncratic,individual stories,
it looks for those that are collectively significant;
this is work that the writer has to do"

"there is an absence of commitment to the 'completed written word'"

(which, per Derrida, is distinctly derivative, 2nd best, even dangerous)"

"Serendip works in accord with Derrida's critique of writing as the highest virtue:
written words acquire foundational meaning which can stop a conversation"

"here, conversation is more meaningful than publication"

"written conversation is closer to the ideal"

"the Web creates a new kind of literature, perhaps a
return to a previous, more oral form of communication"

"The goal here is NOT to build community;
it is NOT intended that writers will recognize one another;

the intention is to promote conversation"

'"we are mutually constructing an on-line reservoir of ways of looking @ things"

"it's a compendium, like the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"

"the aim is not to get people to be loyal, or to do everything on Serendip;
perhaps we seed conversations that take place elsewhere?"

Summaries by jrlewis and sweetp