cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Alan Levine

They come unexpectedly, unscheduled, unobtrusively. An email from a stranger. A comment on a blog that is shockingly written by a person, not some shoe selling bot. And yesterday, a comment on the flickr photo above.

It’s obviously a screenshot, but I had a hard time remembering the context I had posted a screenshot of a blog for http://lapazfarm.homeschooljournal.net/. My hunch it was for a presentation, but one of the shortcomings of the flickr mobile app is I cannot see the adjacent photos in the stream.

BUt yes, the comment, on a 5 year old posted image:

Hey look, that’s my mom’s blog .-.

Comments to me, at least ones not from spambots, are an opening for a conversation. How enjoyable, meaningful, are conversations where you open with a message to someone, and they never respond?

I reply:

It’s a small Internet world. I can’t recall what this was for, probably a presentation I did on how people documented their interests in blogs.

How was mom’s home schooling for you?

And the writer loops back:

It was great. I’m in college now, doing well in my classes, and definitely wouldn’t be here without her schooling.

And to me, this 3 message conversation reminds me of the Amazingness of what happens when we do connect/share between people. It might not be the kind I would add as an Amazing Story of Open Sharing (although I could instigate something since I plan to be in Fairbanks in October, that’s yet another story).

And that’s the thing, it’s those micro-connections that are maybe more important than the ones that make you say “Woah”, the instances we may overlook, and forget, that I firmly believe hundreds of thousands, if not millions of times a day, almost un-noticed among what “trends” or gets huffposted.

But I was curious about the original context, and now I see it. I used the LaPaz Homeschooling Journal site as an example I did for a 2008 Wordcamp San Francisco talk, where I was asked to do something on WordPress and Education. This became It’s All You Can WordPress at the EduBlog Diner:


cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Alan Levine

I bet I was making a nod to another famous restaurant.

This was 2008, maybe that later Eocene era of the web. But then there was some of the first multiuser sites- UMW Blogs, UBC Blogs, University of Calgary Blogs, Blogs @ Baruch (not surprisingly all involving edtech friends/colleagues); blogs as eportfolios, teachers’ blogs, class blogs, publishing journals via blogs, informational sites, plugins for educational blog sites, and the idea that apps or tools could be built on the WordPress platform.

It’s interesting to look back at the early examples, and see where that trajectory has gone– those 2008 vintage blogs still “look” bloggy, but the ideas there have continued the arc, and … well here I am gushing about WordPress and forgetting the initial story here.

The LaPaz Home School Journal is a stunning resource for not only home schooling parents, but any teacher. They share lesson ideas, materials, strategies, that reach across subjects– history, math, teaching strategies as simple and elegant as bulletin boards (the real kinds with pins and paper), and outlining the thinking for activities for the coming year.

Just wandering around this blog of open sharing, gives me that giddy teetering at the edge of the Grand Canyon feeling of having a wonderful amount of infinity open to me. It’s what gives me hope among the fear and worry and concern.

And all it took was one person, making a tiny connection back to me… that is how the web we care for cares for us. There are the links we make to stuff and things and ideas, and cat videos, but the ones that bring it home are created purposefully, and without provocation/expectation, by someone I do not even know.

Magic may be imaginary, but this is a close enough proximity for me.

Thank you, frainger*

* a new word introduced to me by a ds106 participant, it’s in the dictionary

Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *