It's a Bag of Coal
by: cogdog

I cannot say this has a whole lot of meaning– it more or less came out of just thinking about the rallying call from Gardner Campbell’s No Digital Facelift presentation we use to start ds106.

So maybe if people do not see the value of the Bag of Gold, perhaps another precious natural resource. I visited Gardner a little over a week ago, and we did some lamenting how much people tend to gravitate, or not want to move away from the status quo.

Maybe gold is not enough of an inducement. Maybe it is a bag of? Doritos? a bah of crude oil? a bag of lobbyists? I don’t know.

All kidding aside, how do we stir up more excitement about the potential of the internet versus the fear and loathing that keeps people from embracing?

Like my other colleagues close to this, the answer seems to always end up at… ds106, the answer to everything. It’s not just us boasting, it is that sea of creativity that, to me, shows the potential for things we do not expect, the adjacent possibilities.


I did this as a small sample of the web storytelling assignment for ds106 to use one of the 50+ Web 2.0 Ways to Tell a Story tools to say something about web storytelling. I always thought xtranormal was one of the most original tools— “If you can type into a box you can make a movie”. I was disappointed that they made the free options so slim, but I had some credits when I last used it for another video project.

It’s easy to slip into the silly mode for this tool, but really, it can be used quite easily to block out scenes, or play the part of a film director. It remains one of my favorite tools.

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Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at 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.


  1. It’s like pissin’ in the wind, Alan. Either people seem to have time for bags of gold, or they don’t. It has less to do with technology/the internet/ etc., than it does about a personal sense of how much time you have. Colleagues are always saying how busy they are and have time for nothing…but it’s a matter of consciousness of time…scarcity vs plenty.

    I, for one, always have time for bags of gold (or coal–also interesting!). I have recruits to my cause, but it tends to be a matter of like-minded people finding each other, are we are people who like to play and dance through life, creating as we go.

    Just be the irresistible force that you are and don’t worry about the immoveable mountain!

  2. I’m not sure it’s fear and loathing so much as apathy. Some people who fear and loathe actually know something about what it is they fear and loathe – I find them easier to talk with because they’re being critical rather than just reactive.

    Other people want things to stay the same because they’re already committed to those things. Maybe (gasp) some folks just don’t care to learn, really.

    I think it’s best just to keep ordinary-izing it — make the creativity so common it’s just a given, just what we do.

    And yeah, time. They think it’s something you find but it’s something you make, of course. If it’s important to you, you make time. Do we need people for whom creativity is unimportant to join?

  3. I know you have a coal train worth of experience here, Lisa. I agree about fear, but there is also the fear of change, of leaving terra firma for unknown lands. Is fear of change apathy? Maybe.

    I never buy into those cop out statements of “I’m not creative” Probe farther and you will always find something creative everyone does.

    1. You’re right, of course. Everyone is creative, but that doesn’t mean that creativity is important to them, or that they are willing to translate/use/showcase/interpret it into an open/web-based/electronic environment.

      I worry about the overuse of the word “fear”. The attitude I’m calling “apathetic” seems quite set in people’s minds, and although it may be based on fear, I’m not sure that indicating that to them is helpful. What we can do is showcase the possibilities of exploration.

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