When it comes to chaos and order, I find it fascinating how often ideas of each can be swapped to mean the reverse. For example, some people, like Howard Rheingold, dislike order because it places you in a routine, tells you where to sit and when to stand. It makes decisions for you.
But, there are many people out there, like one person in the studio visit with Howard Rheingold this past week, who see structuring forces as necessary–especially in formative years–and ultimately beneficial. They prefer having parameters. Makes them comfortable, not stifled.
And, when it comes to chaos, there are more divergent feelings towards similar concepts. Some see non-organization and a lack of structure and oversight as inherently incapable of producing anything meaningful or worth nurturing. More, they see it as scary or, as Howard said, risky. Chaos is uncontrollable, unmanageable and so cannot be allowed free rein.
Others, of course, find freedom in the chaos. Find space to explore something deeper and decidedly more ineffable when unfettered by the tenets of order. To them, non-organization is not scary. It is thrilling–exhilarating because there are no rules. You cannot be wrong in chaos. You just be.
Isn’t it fascinating? How easily what you take pride in, what fills you with fear can be quite the opposite to someone else? Kind of makes you wonder if there is any meaning at all here in order and chaos–if their meanings can vary so drastically. How can any sense be made–even if that sense is nonsense? Don’t know? Me either.
Sense or nonsense, let’s see what we can find.
It’s more than a little mind-boggling just how much content is out there on the internet. Perhaps even more mind-boggling is just how little we absorb from all of wanderings on the web. There are so many voices and stories out there and yet, how many do I appreciate? How many do you?
Not nearly enough.
I believe the reason why my online experience and yours probably is shallow is because, despite how much connection the internet seemingly fosters, we are all disconnected in our own little niches. Far removed from reality because we don’t perceive the internet as being as real. There’s a disconnect between me and you, online, in large part because of our ideas of what the internet is–commonly, an escape, a dream space, a confessional that ceases to exist when the screen goes dark.
Though, I do think those ideas are changing these days. Still, you have the chaos/order problem–different perceptions towards the same phenomena. It not only disconnects/ distances us from each other by convincing us we’ll never understand each other, it discourages us from even trying.
But, is there anything being done about this?
Yes. Network Effect is a project meant to help others understand the underlying humanity of us all in the internet age. The simulation is meant to imitate the flux and overwhelming-ness that is the online space but in such a way that you realize how similar we all are in our complexities. How human we all are behind those dark screens. The internet is infinite but so are we.
Through incorporating outlets like news headlines and Twitter mentions, I think this project was able to inject that personal element online spaces seem to lack in their vastness. I loved the Twitter commentary and then the collections of words most commonly associated with the verbs you could explore the site through. I found that an interesting way to order the chaos–through us, usually such tiny blips.
I don’t recall feeling frustrated by the time-limit imposed upon my exploration of the site. Many things in my own life right now are running on schedules I only have minimal control over. So, I’m unfortunately used to it.
Not to sound too sentimental, but I think the time limit made me treasure what I discovered more. Like, I appreciated what I was able to get out of the experience–that greater sense of personal connectedness because there was only so much time to explore and so much content to sift through.
Definitely recommend checking out.
Honestly, I don’t even know what to say about last week’s studio visit. Howard and Mamie were just full of so much insight that provided such a wealth of rich, meaningful discussion.
Particularly, I guess, I enjoyed what Howard had to say about the public sphere–how it can affect public policy and create change because it is the voice of the people. That story he told about the woman who didn’t give up on searching the polling booth’s codes until she cracked it and then how it spread online was just amazing. To me, it was such a great example of the potential the public sphere has now that it can operate in an online space.
Check it out! (I will get to Vialogues hopefully soon. It was Shadow Girl’s birthday weekend this past one. I was a little busy. Sorry)
(Really, when will Death come??)
Speaking of the public sphere, working with gifs and memes this week helped me come to this realization that memes and gifs are expressions of this/our public voice. Referring especially to the more well-known ones, they have this ability to say something we can immediately understand and connect with. Like it or not, there are lots of gifs and memes out there that are meaningful to the public audience.
We relate to them! They make us laugh! Provide an outlet to express frustrations or to reveal absurdity. (Read more about that here.)
Honestly, there is a kind of reveling in the chaos that memes and gifs engage in. But, also, a kind of ordering of it–putting it into a context with certain connotations. At least, I felt like that was the case while I was creating my memes and gifs this week.
This week, the third installment in my Living Dead Girl series–inspired by this tweet— went up. It’s about Necromancers, Reapers, and death Ghosts and mythos and magic abound. So, totally feel free to check it out and let me know how you’re feeling it.
My other stories so far include:
Hopefully one more by tonight….~~~
(All can be found under the Killing It tag–and you can find a list of frequently used tags in the navigation bar at the bottom of this page. Just click the little “Up” arrow in the right-hand corner.)
All loosely networked narratives, I know, but lots of fun I think
This week, I think I received some valuable insight on how to navigate online spaces more meaningfully. To navigate the chaos. To see chaos as something that can be cherished instead of spurned. Hopefully, I can keep that in mind when I go wandering on the web. The internet could definitely use more acceptance. More appreciative practice all around. The public sphere certainly needs a constant influx of new voices in order to remain healthy and effectively functional.
As for sense vs. nonsense, does it matter? Think the answer to that question says more about you and your context than it does about either of those notions.
Video I find compelling when it comes to thinking about truth, the public sphere, and online spaces
Catch you on the flip side!
Tagged: digital storytelling, gifs, howard rheingold, Mamie rheingold, netnarr, network effect, Networked Narratives, personal, studio visit, thinking out loud, weeklies