Today I worked on a presentation title and blurb for a presentation at the Assessment, Teaching, & Learning Conference. My co-presenter and I have already generated 10 pages of text and we haven’t even started talking about what we are actually going to do.
Right now, it’s all about the title and blurbage due date for the marketing materials. Here’s our process. Follow along, and I’ll get to why it’s no small exaggeration when I say that The Smallest Federated Wiki-Happening is changing how I think about writing and collaboration.
We started by email. There were four emails total in the thread. It was driving me nuts figuring who said what, so I copy said email thread into a Google Doc.
Here’s a fuzzy clip:
Jenn, in her awesomeness, sent us questions about our draft of the blurb, so I copied them into the G. Doc.
In the example below, she’s purple, I’m red. The black is the original draft.
Then I share the document with Jenn. Which means I have to go back into the work email that I am trying to avoid.
Then I comment on what Tom wrote in his comment a few days. Basically stating, “Yes, I love this. Can I give give you a big hug because you two are so smart?”
I enter her email into the share function. I explain what I did while encouraging her to go full-on open learning, baby! That’s right, do whatever you like with my words. Take it. Make it better. And then for some reason, I think about a commercial I haven’t seen in 25 years.
Remember the commercial for Shake & Bake? “Shake & Bake, and I helped!”
There’s no way, by the way, that people liked that mix better than the original. It was most likely a marketing ploy to women her mother’s age who would have purchased the mix, but I digress.
Here’s the share. Have I exhausted you yet? Still with me?
Then I hang up the work-related research and log-in to the Mike Caulfield’s Smallest Federated Wiki Happening. I’m feeling pretty brave at this point because I watched Ward Cunningham’s face while Mike was getting all sweet-teacher-praise-like on me during our Google Hangout, and Ward didn’t flinch. He nodded and smiled. My inner-nerd glowed. (Shake & Bake, and I helped! I do a mean US southern accent, btw.)
So I click on the new Conversation Club feature. So cool! Now I see what Mike and others much more wiki-saavy than me were seeing all along. And now they created it for dim bulbs like me.
I can see there’s a [[Club in my Neighborhood]], and what do I do? I click on something with the word “Crack” in the title. (Lookout neighbors, somebody’s kinda sketchy).
Here’s the first version, and I don’t recognize the square nor do I know the neighbor’s name. But I don’t care.
I get all editor-like and notice a hilarious typo. It says “feed connected” but wait, is that something I’ve never heard of, asks inner critic? No, says logical reader, that’s a typo.
And here’s the thing.
I was following the Idea Mining advice, and went with it. In the Google Doc., this would have been a tedious side comment. I might have just fixed it and moved on.
In the SFWH, this typo becomes something interesting. Full of potential. Kinda cool. Really silly-liberated writing that is somehow feeling productive. Like the work I want to be doing but don’t always get to because, well, I work.
Then I remember the young adult fiction book Feed by M.T. Anderson. Some adults–especially ones who do not have children like me–find reading YA a waste of time. It’s not brainy. There are more important things to read. Leave the creative world of the young to the young, and grow up. So it goes. And I accept that perspective, but that’s not what I’m into. When I hear those rants, I start thinking about my grocery list, but I nod like I’m listening.
I like to know what the kiddies are reading, and if I was 13 year girl, I’d have such a crush on Titus. I’d imagine I was Violet. I have a such soft spot for YA love stories.
Then I remembered The Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor is another YA beauty. I can’t wait to read the rest of the series, and it was recommended to me by a male. He actually has a teenage daughter, and doesn’t plays it off like it’s an excuse to read YA–he digs those books too. What a cool, Dad!
I bet he’d write a YA book I’d read. He gets bogged down by the work thing, too. Just sayin.
Okay, back to SFWH. This is what I created. In six to seven clicks all in the same place, I took somebody’s else words and improved them, IMHO. Without permission. Without opening my email. Without a care that what I was doing was correct. The creator may not dig it, but somebody else might. Either way I completed my assignment today, and I wanted to share with my neighbors what happened.
The truth will be told in the forking. (If that doesn’t make sense you, I’ll explain it later).
I do a lot of collaboration by email and G. Doc., so I see the potential in this type of writing. I was super duper skeptical that I could make the SFWH work for me. Honestly, I wanted to explore it as potential for teachers and students because that’s what my new gig asks of me. I had no idea how much this type of writing would appeal to me.
That’s right, friends and neighbors. Look close.
See my Kool-Aid mustache?
Joyous holidays to you, readers!
Now I’m going to binge watch The X Files.