Saturday, September 27, 2014

Needle in a Haystack

Posts inspired by posts inspired by posts....

People inspired by people inspired by people....

What does it mean to be inspired? Word origins fascinate me.

Inspiration (n.) c. 1300 "immediate influence of God or a god." From Old French inspiracion, "inhaling, breathing in." From Late Latin inspirationem, "inspire, inflame." Literal sense "act of inhaling," attested in English from 1560s. Meaning "one who inspires others" is attested by 1867.

Act of inhaling. That IS sometimes what it feels like to be inspired.  

Also - immediate influence of God or a god.

Yes, at the risk of sounding like an insane person  misunderstood hyperbole, in a sense, yes.  Simon Ensor has "touched" upon the fact that something bigger than "us" is at play here: here and here and here and (you get the idea).

Mimi Ito wrote a freakin brilliant an incisive, incredible post that has many of us still thinking, annotating, and reflecting.

Maha Bali was inspired to reflect on the aspect of Mimi's post that discussed preferring to read blogs to reading recommended books. Mimi's post was added to the Diigo group so we could all jump in and annotate.

So many things in Mimi's post resonated with me - and made me laugh.  Was +Alan Levine @cogdog more than one person, an amalgamation?  And was +Kevin Hodgson @dogtrax also more than one person?  They are able to make so many connections that they seem superhuman.  They've assured us they are each one person and also two different people.  

What inspired me to create what I think of as the Twitter Haystack image, though, was what she said about @howardrheingold and anxiety:  [he] wakes up in the morning worried that a co-pilot has fallen asleep at the wheel or that the delicate social machinery we've stitched together is going to fall apart." Mimi then goes on to say that in her opinion, "We may not be too big to fail, but [she] would like to believe that we are too diverse to fail and distributed to fail."

My image is meant to reinforce that idea - we are too happily enmeshed to fail.  Just like my summer #clmooc that never ended, this construct has a life of its own.  We are all needles in haystacks that managed to find each other.  The massiveness of a MOOC is not just about numbers, but about depth and intricacy.

Thanks, all. Nice haystack.
attribution for picture:


  1. Thanks I needed that. It's sort of reassuring being different together :-) Being out on the edge is at times wearying :-)

    1. This is not hyperbole or illumination it is just observation, we are one among many in multiplely connected universes.

      For me the madness is to try and believe it comes from us and that we are unitary individuals who 'achieve' failure/greatness as some demi-god. Oh Superman...don't be daft get back in the phone box.

    2. Simon, you are welcome, as always. It is reassuring. You have all given me faith there are quite a few of us out on the edge.

      I don't know if we achieve failure or greatness, but we certainly achieve a valuable connection. It comes from us, but what it becomes may be difficult to define.

    3. Definitely feels reassuring! The image that popped into my head after reading this is a puppy pile. That's a lot better than a co-piloted plane with delicate machinery!

    4. Mimi I love the puppy pile!!!! It's perfect for this.

  2. 'Too diverse and distributed to fail' - thanks for highlighting this. So success or continued existence might be supported by the chaos of our diverse worlds. Common glue = our thirst to learn in a connected way. Great post, thanks.

  3. Annnotations here:
    Posting here:
    Thanking here.
    Thanks so much.

  4. Susan, thanks for the brilliant post. I was most impressed near the end when you wrote, "The massiveness of a MOOC is not just about numbers, but about depth and intricacy." I think the numbers impressed all of us at first (we humans can be so easily impressed), but I sense that most are becoming more impressed with the intricacy and depth of the relations that we cultivate in our online communities. I'm pleased that Sensor linked me to you. He's like that: a prepositional angel.