Re: ponder this ye lurkers

From: Michael JOHNSON (
Date: Thu Apr 07 2005 - 01:37:36 PDT

Hi Mike and friends,

I cant really comment on Mike's reply as by the time I have anything to add things will have moved on. I do want to make a link with the stuff on lurking, particularly Heather's insightful comments:
> > I think of the XMCA list as sort of like a family reunion.
> > When a family gets together, there are all different kinds
> > of networks and relationships that become relevant as people
> > interact with one another. Cousins and "play cousins"
> > interact with each other, Aunts and Uncles, Uncles and
> > nephews, etc. The family reu ion metaphor also throws a
> > dimension of temporality/spatiality in there that I think is
> > important. There are different generations present, and
> > people "living" in different places who come together at the
> > reunion.
> >
> > Many times, I envision myself as one of the "youngins"
> > listening to the words and stories and ideas of the four or
> > five or ten old folks (I mean that in the most respectful
> > and caring way) who I consider to be both more
> > knowledgeable.
> >
> > But...while I'm in the circle of people listening to these
> > conversations, I'm also doing many other things that young
> > folks do, and I don't want to be disrespectful to other
> > people who are more thoroughly engaged in the
> > conversation/literature. And I don't want to appear foolish.
> > In "real" family reunions, there are ways to cover up what
> > might be construed as comments that are not quite at the
> > same level as that of the grown folks, but email/threaded
> > communication has a kind o linearity and reflective delay
> > embedded in it that doesn't allow for that.
> >
> > So, that's my reason for not contributing more.
> >
> > Take Care,
> >
> > Heather

A reply from Michael Cole to a posting from little me has an impact that I can only describe as seismic.

The dissonance one experiences whilst dipping (I mean thinking about writing, watching other more/less insightful comments arrive, wondering whether its really worth it, sweating over every word, using brackets too much, eventually deciding to press the big red send button, wondering about what folks will construe about the message, choose from: "that was homely/reminded me of when I was 3/WOW - cool!/who let him in here then?" - usually about an hours worth) in to a community like xmca where you KNOW there are minds enormously more scholarly/erudite/insightful than your own is really sweat inducing - but it is worth it. This nervous energy alone is a sign, to me, of high-end cognitive activity. I cant put a price on that.

Michael Cole's gentle reply demonstrates what I am trying to communicate. It lifts the bar. It shows me a trajectory of progress along the apprenticeship from where I am to where he is - even though I can never arrive. What is my reaction? Frustration/IshudNeverHaveBothered - turninginto - [pause] I could learn something here and now here I am back 12 hours later having woken up thinking about it and spending the most precious part of my day (the first hour) framing this reply in the hope that I wont spend the rest of the week being distracted from actually doing some 'work'.

Another part of that I also find discomfiting is the speed with which the senior members of such communities can post messages that demonstrate elegance I would never think of in a lifetime - let alone in an hour.

Exposing oneself in the way I did costs - time and stress, perhaps minutes off my lifespan! I suppose some of this comes down to character traits. I have never minded speaking out electronically if I think I have something to say. When I do so, the cost is worth it because learning is worth it and as long as the community is kind enough to humour/tolerate/encourage us young-uns we may just stick around... may dip in occasionally...

- only forgive me if, as mum said, I wait until I'm spoken to before I speak.

Mike J--

phew - nearly forgot the spellchuck!

>>> 06/04/2005 17:41:14 >>>
Mike J--

Notice that in projecting the convergence of individual oriented consumerism
a la Amazon-Google preference structures and news, the film interjects
Winston Smith as a typical consumer, making a direct connection to the
course I start with 1984. That is certainly one not-entirely-unplausible

On Apr 6, 2005 9:30 AM, Michael JOHNSON <> wrote:
> if at first... (thanks Bruce - you're one wonderful listadmin!)
> >>> Michael JOHNSON 04/04/2005 10:50:36 >>>
> a couple of thoughts then, as you have successfully lifted me above wading
> through post-vacation email...
> 'the more things change...' - I felt that the piece over-eggs the
> techno-rhetoric - particularly after attending a seminar by Lucy Suchman
> recently (Recurring Rhetorics of Technological Innovation). 10 years has
> been a magic figure - just near enough to the present, just long enough into
> the future to speak beyond our ability to realistically predict what may or
> may not happen. I was people-watching yesterday morning (lazy Sunday style)
> and noticed a neighbour drive off and return with the huge wad that has
> become our Sunday newspapers. I believe that 'reading the paper' (and all
> that this entails) as a leisure activity will take more than 10 years to
> kill off - that is, until electronic paper replaces newsprint...
> Best wishes,
> mike
> (hope that wasnt too prosaic! at least here's one lurker to the surface
> ;o)
> >>> 03/04/2005 18:52:24 >>>
> Thanks for posting that media history piece, Linda. I am teaching the
> introduction to Communication this quarter, starting with 1984 and ending
> with ,.,..;. well, 2014 would do as a date. If others are interested, I am
> sure happy to discuss. We have a lot on the table/sreen, but people appear
> distracted by more important, local matters.
> Noting a glitch on xmca's way of listing members (the real members are not
> on the members page which is mostly a relic of the past, strewn with dead
> links, while the real membership is visible by cliking on the blinking
> sign
> on button), I was struck by how many people were signed up for xmca from
> whom we never hear. Since the web discussion is available in a
> treadeddiscussion archive and is so convenient that way, I am puzzled why
> people would want to be receiving xmca mail they have no intention of
> responding to mixed in with their daily spam. Maybe xmca is spam
> garnishing?
> What do you think, as Eugene was want to say in an earlier life?
> mike
> PS-- I hope it was clear that it was Ana who wrote the butterfly poem. I
> may
> have inadvertantly mis-posted. Only the butterfly stragglers inhabit our
> garden today.
> On Apr 3, 2005 9:11 AM, Polin, Linda <> wrote:
> >
> > Here's a 'paper' worth discussing, or at least viewing:
> >
> >
> >
> >

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