Digital Suicide

ONL221 is an online course on open networked learning. These reflections are part of the course assignment. This one is on topic one – online participation and digital literacy.

Suggested themes for reflection

– who are you as an individual in the digital age, and what characterizes your journey so far

“Yes, we were all wondering, what had happened and where you were?” Alastair remembers, when chatting after an ONL webinar lately. I had committed digital suicide, meaning I deleted all my social media accounts sometime early 2016. Why? Well, I had been enthusiastically online since 1994 as a teacher and learning designer and almost entirely in virtual meetings from 2009 on. I considered myself to be one of those early adopters and quite good at predicting the next big thing out there. So I had my online and offline identity built around some virtual spider man idea, or so. Countless the number of facebook friends and linkedIn and other bodiless connections that made up my personal and professional learning network. Digital resident and literate and whatever concepts that are presented here – didn’t help – I digidied – death by stroke of keyboard!

And yes, there were some problems in the physical world as well … but eventually they disappeared.

Online Zombiehood

This is not an advanced AI program writing. It is just my own digital zombie, the digitally living dead me. Dead as in death by mindless clicks and likes and endless flows of subscriptions to every perturbation in the ever expanding infoverse. A reminder of information entropy as a constant lethal risk. Life as the desired state of being, wanting the infoverse to be but another part of a hospitable total ecosystem, keeping us alive. Both the impulses are there all the time and there is work involved and I am not sure if this blogging thing will serve the living path …

ONL and BlogAngst

I attend this course as an institutional learner to experience it and to understand a bit of its dynamics. The ONL model may also serve as a prototype for collaborative learning across higher ed institutions in Sweden which is another motivation for me to attend. Also, I am part of the Art of Hosting (AoH) community, which is a practitioners community interested in hosting and harvesting conversations and work that matter. Since ONL presents itself as “A Course, A community, An Approach” I think it might be interesting to see whether they could complement each other.

Week one and two of the course seem straightforward and in line with what we at Karlstad University recommend our teachers: Create some psychological safety and orientation around the technical and social environment. Is seems important to built this kind of spaces as a precondition for people to open up and trust each other. As part of this endeavor, there is some structure provided concerning both expected outcomes and artifacts like group contract and fish model.

But then this blog requirement enters the scene and I sense an aura of BlogAngst (from german Angst (fear))is almost tangible in the in-between space of the course. All sorts of reasons, why this is something that cannot be done come to my mind. Especially if you aren’t a blogger, like me. Anyway, it seems obvious that this is not only my problem, since an extra session on ‘how to not be stressed about blogging’ is incorporated in the course. I attended it and this leads me to a first recommendation to the course organizers:

Make the John Weston session an early invitation and resource in the course. It was well structured, intended to just take you by the blogging hand and lead you a bit on the way. Psychological safety and caring par excellence. Thanks John.

Of course, if you – like me- cannot write your blog directly after that session then the magic of the John moment may fade away. So another idea then is:

Why not invite to pairblogging? We do it in many other contexts, think-pair-share, 1-2-4-all etc, so it could be a helpful dynamic and safe structure for the blog-averse of us to create momentum.

And also – if it is the wording of ‘blog’ that seems to create this kind of problems it might be worth asking if

simply a written reflection is asked for to be shared with other course participants. 

Thanks for arranging this course!

Digital Suicide & Zombiehood