In the spirit of open and shared inquiry, I am starting to move toward keeping more of my educational inquiry in a public forum. The start of this is below as embedded blog posts, while I work on creating a more useful format.
My point is that there is something liberating about being able to forget the past and reinvent yourself in the present. Much of growing up, I would argue, is about reinventing yourself multiple times, and that requires being able to forget who you were six months ago, three years ago, 10 years ago.
I can envision a social media world where you can choose to wipe clean your slate at points of life transition, removing the media and the social connections that tie you to that old you.
Or even one where you can engage in role segmentation more effectively, having a work role, a close friends role, a club member role, an online forum role, all at the same time. This would be different from keeping a centralized profile and hiding parts or posts from different sub-groups in that it would be showing different groups different additive information. In today’s world, person is multiple selves all before lunch.
The challenge is in social media typically generating income by shaving off the corners of self to put people into specific and perhaps unchanging boxes for viewing ads. The motivation isn’t there for enabling self-exploration as an ongoing and ephemeral excursion.
Because technology is by its nature abstract, the way that we think about these abstractions has a direct impact on how it is created and implemented. I created this video to walk through how metaphors impact technology on the levels of students, teachers, and in the big picture. Hopefully, this will provide some food for thought for those creating and using technology, both inside and outside the classroom.
Rachel Sugar over at Vox argues that lifehacks represent the sinister push toward greater efficiency. While I agree that often they can be symptomatic of the Western push toward doing more in less time, lifehacks are not inherently so. The lens by which we approach our actions matters. Lifehacks can also be a form of mindfulness, wherein we are present in our actions, paying close attention to the here and now.
Putting together a short annotated bibliography on metaphors about technology and finding that the articles range from “the metaphors we use shape our conceptions of inventing and implementing technology” to “sometimes we think computers are like people and get irritated that they are so withholding” to “existing in the global cognisphere means that we have given up our agency as individual entities”. There seems to be some healthy disagreement on this topic.