Image: Fun with Focus by MizterForbz https://flic.kr/p/og4o9
The word intentional has been popping up in a lot of conversations I’ve been having lately about device use, digital pedagogy, instructional design, civic duty, and activism. When something is intentional, you know you are doing it, you have hopefully thought about it in some way and made a decision. The lack of intentionality is also something to notice. I point this out not to introduce this as a binary, but rather that neither intentionality nor lack of intentionality is inherently good or bad. At the moment, I am finding it a useful lens.
This post is about my intentional practices to have a digital presence. I’m going to start off with a reflection of where I am at right now, how I got here, and how I would like to continue. My latest #vandr map (done a couple weeks ago) shows where I live online, and more specifically the places where I mainly signal and cultivate a presence: Twitter and WordPress (this blog). (More about #vandr mapping here).
Where I started:
I joined Twitter in October 2008. I did not really use Twitter until 2014. I started to dabble then and it wasn’t until 2015-2016 that I had a purpose and reason to tweet more and others started to see me. I found ways to participate in conversations. I made connections from Sundi to @sundilu that people could see if they looked. However it was my blog/website that was essential to feeling like I was a person online. It is where if someone looks for me, they will find a collection of things that signal some of what makes me.
My first blog was not really a blog at all. It was a blog used to document my wedding in 2005 and share it with others. Oh the look of blogspot really does date it. It is still there, and every once in awhile I’ll point someone I have newly met to it if for some reason they are interested. The first real blog with continued posts was a joint blog with my lovely life partner Daniel Lynds when we were living in Oman, which we started to share our adventures with those back home (mostly Daniel’s mother Mamie). It ran from 2008-2009 and my voice was quiet. My first WordPress blog was in 2012. It was a teaching blog for when I was teaching English at United Arab Emirates University the year they adopted iPads across the English Language Program. I then also started a personal blog which was very short lived. I would say most of these petered out when I didn’t directly need them for their specific purpose. They did not morph or change into anything, they simply stopped and live as they are. There are a few other sites floating around out there that I created for different purposes. It wasn’t until I heard about Domain of One’s Own that I intentionally decided to put things in one place, a place that I had some control over.
So here I am, at a point where I need new intentionality. My activity surges and wanes, which is fine, except that I don’t want it to. There is always more to learn and I have to get up from this comfortable bench with a great view in the middle of a hike, and continue walking. My work with Domain of One’s Own challenges me to consistently revisit and be aware of my digital self. It doesn’t happen naturally, it takes time and intention. My plan here is to come up with an intentional plan for the next month that nudges where Twitter and my blog sit on my map, both towards what I would consider fully resident and a little up into the personal which I see others do and am envious. The question is how?
The next month intentional plan:
~ Twitter Lists. I’ve gotten to the point where I’m following enough active folks that I need to break up my home feed. I’ve done this with hashtags, but following @autumm‘s advice, I’m going to try lists. This might help me follow accounts related to my interests outside of education. I might not like it, but I’m going to try it.
~ #Lowered Bookclub, Stanford MOOC – The Active Citizen in a Digital Age, and June #Digciz chats (soon to be announced) are three things happening in the next month that are opportunities for discussion, interaction, and writing. I’m going to make sure they are a part of my day.
~ I’m going to take at least one day a week totally off from following/participating in said happenings.
~ I’m going to run more. Yup, that is part of my intentional practice. The idea for this post came to me while on my Sunday jog. Running for me is a time when I listen to music and think. It is essential and I think it is closely connected to my digital practices. I’ll check back in next month and see how my intentionality is working out.
When are you intentional?