About wrightcron

PhD student in Rhetoric and Writin

Homegrown Organic Digital Media and Such

My spouse, Andy, used to always have a lot of old music-oriented magazines lying around, because he worked for Guitar Center back in Ohio. The magazines were primarily focused on recording, live audio, djing, and the like. Most of them didn’t make the move to Virginia, but a few weeks ago I picked up one that did, an issue of UK-based Computer Music from last April (2012), and read “Get Real!”, an article about “programming your own totally convincing ‘live’ drum tracks.” The article includes screen shots of midi controls and descriptions of the drum fundamentals as played by a human drummer, suggestions for how to make the drum tracks sound realistically dynamic, etc. The article ends with step-by-step instructions for six different “drum rudiments.”

Pull-out quote from the article: “No drummer can hit more than two drums with their sticks at any one time.” [sic? Is that "their" okay in British English? Personally, I don't mind it--English is a ridiculously clunky language when it comes to grammar.]

So, I’ve been thinking about this article lately when I hear electronic (dance) music, and I’ve realized that organic or realistic sounding drum tracks are part of what I hear in music that I tend to think is good. It was a bit of a revelation, because I have trouble explaining sometimes specifically how I discern what I think is good EDM from crap. I am trying to decide now if that’s always the case for me, or if I do like some music that isn’t realistic.

This raises a question and one more comment.

First, is it problematic to expect a digital medium to represent or emulate an organic one? Does this desire extend to other technologies?

Second, I’m interested in learning how to create music; I’ve been learning how to edit music and do a little bit of remixing for the last couple of years, which I mentioned in a previous post about my workflow. Ultimately, I’m realizing, my most sincere interests in the digital lie in the realm of multimedia–I want to design, create, record, & edit audio, visual, and multimodal work–music, podcast, video.

I started a project the other day with one tiny piece, using the most basic technologies at my disposal: after using PhotoBooth on my MacBook (really basic, I know) to film myself messing around with a song at the very beginning stages of choreographing it, before I have even decided how to edit the song. I was wearing headphones, so the video has no sound. I used iMovie to edit a short video of my favorite part, attempting to sync up the audio to my dancing. It’s a very early part of a work-in-progress. And the sound isn’t really synced. I even see my body in the video at an early stage in a work-in-progress. I wanted to have a continuing record of my progress. The composing process.

Comments on Introduction to The Virtual Community

A few weeks ago, I read the introduction to Howard Rheingold’s The Virtual Community and compiled some interesting quotes in a draft blog. Today, I revisit those quotes and comment on them.

“The odds are always good that big power and big money will find a way to control access to virtual communities; big power and big money always found ways to control new communications media when they emerged in the past. The Net is still out of control in fundamental ways, but it might not stay that way for long.”

So true. These days, it is clear that “big power and big money” are trying to cease control of something that they cannot understand, and have been doing so since Rheingold first experimented with WELL. In particular, attempts to control how ideas are shared online seem desperate and impotent. As Mr. Universe says, “You can’t stop the signal.” As much of a technophobe as I seem to be, I am in the camp of folks who think that technologies grow and change organically through use (hey, like genres and other tools, right?).

“Although spatial imagery and a sense of place help convey the experience of dwelling in a virtual community, biological imagery is often more appropriate to describe the way cyberculture changes. In terms of the way the whole system is propagating and evolving, think of cyberspace as a social petri dish, the Net as the agar medium, and virtual communities, in all their diversity, as the colonies of microorganisms that grow in petri dishes. Each of the small colonies of microorganisms–the communities on the Net–is a social experiment that nobody planned but that is happening nevertheless.”

Hey, didn’t I just say something about “growing and changing organically”?

“Panopticon was the name for an ultimately effective prison, seriously proposed in eighteenth-century Britain by Jeremy Bentham. A combination of architecture and optics makes it possible in Bentham’s scheme for a single guard to see every prisoner, and for no prisoner to see anything else; the effect is that all prisoners act as if they were under surveillance at all times. Contemporary social critic Michel Foucault, in Discipline and Punish, claimed that the machinery of the worldwide communications network constitutes a kind of camouflaged Panopticon; citizens of the world brought into their homes, along with each other, the prying ears of the state. The cables that bring information into our homes today are technically capable of bringing information out of our homes, instantly transmitted to interested others. Tomorrow’s version of Panoptic machinery could make very effective use of the same communications infrastructure that enables one-room schoolhouses in Montana to communicate with MIT professors, and enables citizens to disseminate news and organize resistance to totalitarian rule. With so much of our intimate data and more and more of our private behavior moving into cyberspace, the potential for totalitarian abuse of that information web is significant and the cautions of the critics are worth a careful hearing.”

Right, so this is one of my other concerns about big power and big money: this Orwellian sense that we’re all being convinced to watch each other and suspect each other, monitoring, not for our own safety, but truly on behalf of something big and sinister. (My tendencies toward reading conspiracy theory through the believing lens showing much here?)

“We can’t do this solely as dispassionate observers, although there is certainly a strong need for the detached assessment of social science. Community is a matter of emotions as well as a thing of reason and data. Some of the most important learning will always have to be done by jumping into one corner or another of cyberspace, living there, and getting up to your elbows in the problems that virtual communities face.”

That’s interesting–although I would lean toward learning about virtual communities through ethnographic research rather than research that looks like social psychology. I’m just not sold on the idea that we learn so much through numbers and “detached assessment.” (Sorry.)

“Technical bridges are connecting the grassroots part of the network with the military-industrial parts of the network. The programmers who built the Net in the first place, the scholars who have been using it to exchange knowledge, the scientists who have been using it for research, are being joined by all those hobbyists with their bedroom and garage BBSs.”

It’s really interesting to see the ways in which these sometimes conflicting efforts are reflected in the Internet we know today.

“Why Rhetoric? Why a Comic Book?”: Geeked on Understanding Rhetoric

Yesterday at the Conference on College Composition and Communication, I picked up my signed copy of Understanding Rhetoric: A Graphic Guide to Writing by Elizabeth Losh, Jonathan Alexander, Kevin Cannon, and Zander Cannon. Today I woke up at 7 a.m., put on my bathing suit, grabbed some fruit and coffee, and headed down to the pool at my hotel, and read the whole thing.

Did I mention that I’m on spring break, in Las Vegas? (Let’s be honest. If you’re reading this, you probably already know both of these things).

I was too too excited to read this textbook, in part because my friend Molly has been getting me psyched about it for months.

Understanding Rhetoric is, as its title suggests, a rhetoric intended for freshman composition or similar courses that takes the form of a comic book. Well, actually, each chapter is presented as a separate issue, bound together into one book. The book presents many of the topics and issues covered in (I would assume; I don’t have the data here) most first year college writing courses in the U.S. (and perhaps Canada?) in a savvy, engaging, and rigorous fashion.

The main characters in the comic are the academic authors, Liz and Jonathan, speak directly to their student audience on rhetorical matters, covering a great deal of territory. There are three student characters, Luis and Cindy, plus Cindy’s mom, Carol, who appear throughout the chapters and in response sections at the end of each chapter called “Reframes.” Kevin and Zander (they’re not related), the author illustrators (these are my own contrived identifications; they’re all listed as co-authors) also appear as characters and help out with explanations of concepts like visual rhetoric and plagiarism.

The plagiarism section is an excellent example of the kind of thought, humor, and attention to detail that went into this project. There, Losh and Alexander suddenly find their characters have been replaced by similar characters co-opted from another comic, because Cannon and Cannon, looking haggard and harried, have run out of time to meet a deadline. As Molly pointed out to me when we were geeking out over the book at breakfast, this juxtaposition shows how obvious cut and pasted language in student work appears to the writing instructor. And yet, Losh and Alexander empathize with the illustrators (and, by extension, the student writer) when explaining: Alexander asks Zander, “And what about your credibility as an artist? You don’t want people to think you don’t have a style of your own . . . ” and Liz says in the next panel, “You should talk to us if you’re having trouble handling a project” (204-205, original emphasis). The dealings with other rhetorical and composing topics are sensitive, nuanced, and funny.

The preface argues that the book “reflects the latest research in composition . . . is an effective classroom text that is thoroughly grounded in scholarship” and that “by emphasizing multimodal approaches to composing, we would engage student writers . . . [and] make rhetoric interesting and maybe even enjoyable” (v). For the dubious, this book does it all, and does it really well. The use of the comic book genre is authentic, imaginative, and effective. The approach to rhetoric and the assignment suggestions in the “Drawing Conclusions” sections at the end of each chapter are savvy, interesting, and intellectually engaging. I’m not assigned to teach first year writing for a while, but this book makes me want to. I’d love to take the time to figure out if this book and its approach would work in the classic rhetoric/reader combo in concert with my other favorite, Elizabeth Wardle and Doug Downs’ Writing About Writing: A College Reader (I swear, I’m not trying to get on somebody’s good side @ Bedford St. Martin’s, although they do throw a mean party).

I’ll get back to you on where I think the book may be lacking. I definitely read with my “believing” lens (thanks, Peter Elbow). Totally geeked.


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Why Brand a Commodified Self?

For the undergraduate business communication course I taught last spring, I required my students to do “THE job correspondence project,” which, from what I have seen, is a standard: find a job posting (I strongly encouraged them to apply for jobs or internships that they really needed); revise the cover letter and resume and tailor them to the job; write a short rhetorical analysis of their documents in light of their audience.

I threw a couple of wrenches into the works, though: We read and discussed scholarly articles on resume rhetoric (I found these two, by Randall L. Popken, of particular interest), and I required a trip to Career Services for conferences. Each student wrote a short report on the visit, in which s/he observed and analyzed the discourse used to talk about the resume and cover letter. In their reports, of course, the students noted the going metaphor from these conversations, which identified them as commodities: “sell yourself,” “marketable skills,” etc. By extension, many of the folks my students met with advised that they control their online identities or “brands.”

Many (most) of my students did not find this language problematic. While I agree that it might not be in one’s best interest to allow one’s online identity to run free and willy-nilly, especially while “on the market” (there’s another one), I do find the commodity/brand trope itself uncomfortable, even offensive.

I recently read an old class blog post by a professor at St. Edward’s University who agrees with me (or, at least she did then). Here’s an excerpt:

I argue that being too concerned with branding restricts the self. Just take a look at U.S. leaders who conflate themselves to the ideology of the party even when it’s clear their own beliefs are far more diverse and subtle. This has lead us to distrust elected officials as we see them as merely parroting talking points. Now compare that to a person like Steve Jobs. Jobs refused to be branded. He was not Apple. He was not Next, or Pixar. He was a unique self, full of contradictions and that’s what humanized him. That’s why we saw the outpouring of support when news of his death spread across the Internet. (Corrinne Weisgerber, from “Negotiating Multiple Identities on the Social Web”, Nov. 16, 2011)

I appreciate, and agree with, Weisgerber’s assessment of the concept of self-branding. I like that she uses Steve Jobs as an example. I particularly like that, shortly after the paragraph I quote above, she uses the Heisenberg principle and the idea of multiverses to explain her thoughts, too. (I’ve snagged her links. Really, if you’re reading this post, and you’re not someone who already read hers, you should go read it.)

In her own, broader context, Weisgerber is focused on the multiple identities that we perform both away from the screen and online. What should be clear from the passage I have quoted is that these identities are different aspects of the same complex person (that’s where particles and verses come in). The concept of branding reduces us to one “sellable” identity. As I’ve noted, the commodification aspect presents a problem to me that is layered onto the problem of dimension discussed by Weisgerber.

Interestingly, one concern my students raised was with how Naomi Klein describes (corporate) branding. They were surprised at the research that goes into branding for specific “types” of people, and even found it creepy that their behaviors were aggregated to identify them as likely to consume specific beverages, wear specific brands, etc. . . .

I am starting to wonder if developing a personal online brand simply makes one easier to identify as a consistent “type” receptive to other(s’) branding practices by aggregators of the data from all of our online identities and their practices. If that’s the case, I feel even more convinced to remain a human and avoid being a branded commodity.

The New Old Model of Work

On my way home today, I heard this story on NPR, about the CEO of Yahoo reinstating a no-working-from-home policy. In the audio version, which is not available online as of my posting, since All Things Considered hasn’t aired across the country yet, Elise Hu noted the Marissa Mayer, the CEO in question, left Google for Yahoo a short time ago.

I recall that Yahoo has had several CEO changes in the recent past (I found this interesting post on ReadWrite claiming that it was the machinations of an “activist investor” that *really* led to Scott Thompson being sacked), and Hu (or one of her interviewees) noted that Mayer is likely reacting to pressure from investors to turn the company around.

Apparently, Google encourages people to stay at work by having all kinds of awesome stuff there, like food and recreation and camaraderie. The implication was that Mayer was looking to the example of her previous country, and to data on employee productivity in general, in deciding to make the new rule. It seems to me that “forcing” people to change their work habits in a more restrictive and autocratic manner is not going to change the company culture.

There are a lot of other interesting points in the piece, and I could muse on those, but I want to focus for the moment on the idea of context. Acting on data divorced from context seems unwise to me. I would be willing to bet that when you really get down to it, most people do their jobs better, collaborate better, show more company loyalty, don’t steal from work, yada yada yada, if they feel like they’re part of something bigger than themselves, valued, and respected. What they (typically) don’t want is to be micromanaged, mistrusted, faceless. I can see how either set of feelings could be fostered in a variety of models of employment, including teleworking/commuting.

As the audio piece indicates, sending people to work from home requires support, perhaps even education, in working effectively from home. Working collaboratively requires support and education in working collaboratively. Working with new technologies requires support and education in working with new technologies. Ad nauseum. I would argue that all of this learning and support requires people at every level, from hourly wage workers to the CEO, from to be trusted to do their jobs and to trust each other in kind.



Digital Interactions and (Shared) Identity

This blog is very self-absorbed so far, and this post is no exception. My apologies. I’m in a moment of questioning and investigating, in great part inspired by the challenges presented by The Digital Self.

In Personal Connections in the Digital Age, Nancy K. Baym argues that online interactions form (speech) communities, inasmuch as groups have a shared “sense of space, shared practice, shared resources and support, shared identities, and interpersonal relationships” (75). She highlights a few types support systems established by members of online groups, those that provide “emotional,” “esteem,” and “informational”  support (85-86). Members’ sense of community, support, and general in-group-ness, from Baym’s research, range with their level of activity in the group. Lurkers, as we might suspect, tend to derive the least from their (lack of) interactions online.

So, my resistance to online interactions would seem to be self-perpetuating. Of course, it makes sense, and it’s really pretty obvious. By resisting participation in online groups, I miss out on opportunities to find others in my field, as well as others who share my hobbies and interests, with whom I can establish meaningful relationships through writing. Even if I’m “there,” in that space, I’m not a presence, because I haven’t participated in the discourse of the groups, or contributed in any way to shaping the genres or agenda of the groups.

Take, for example, my membership to a professional listserv. Like the lurkers in Preece, Nonnecke and Andrews’ 2004 study, cited by Baym (87), on a per-situation basis, I feel like I get the information I need from the WPA listserv by lurking, I feel shy about contributing to conversations, and/or feel like I contribute by remaining silent. However, I frequently share the conversations and links with colleagues and friends off-list (many of whom are members of the listserv as well, but have the messages filtered out of their inboxes). So, I was the first to read the ongoing conversations about the 2013 Conference on College Composition and Communication: Bedbugs at the Riviera, Humbugs about Las Vegas in General, Bugs in the Proverbial Ear about What Vegas has to Offer, and I have shared these conversations with my colleagues a both through digital and away from screen interactions.

I think I own my WPA listserv membership more than the typical lurker. But, since I never post or respond, few of the group members know who I am or what I have to offer. And that’s pretty typical of me. And, honestly, it is a little bit lonely. And it worries me that somehow I need to be a presence in this and more online spaces by three years from now, when I’m on the job market.

I’m just not into the idea of strategizing my identity and network, though. I like to say that I like relationships to develop organically. So when I feel like I have something to say, I’ll say it. But, if Baym’s observations and resulting assertions are spot on, I’m never going to feel safe, a member of the group, until I put myself out there and say it.

The Other Side of the Coin

It occurred to me through a recent conversation that we humans, through our media and in reference to our publics (I’m messing with, and possibly messing up, this idea thanks to–only, so far, the introduction to–Michael Warner‘s Publics and Counterpublics, an assigned reading) at any rate, that we simultaneously hold up as praiseworthy and deride as reprehensible the same quality in the same person.

Wow. That was quite a sentence. I’m leaving it.

Take, for example, Prince Harry. I don’t know why, but let’s just go with this example. On some of the same media platforms, he was an exemplar of bravery and patriotism for going to fight on the front lines in Afghanistan, and then a total jackass for his hotel exploits in Las Vegas. I would argue that he earned these contrasting assessments for behaviors resulting from the same personal qualities. I think we see this one a lot with athletes and military “types,” as a matter of fact, and I think there’s something worth exploring here.

But I’m actually going to turn to an example closer to home. I also want to note that I recently formulated the following, in the course of another conversation with another colleague: that we in the field(s) of rhetoric are inclined to be sensitive to language and the ways other people make meaning. And we are interested in practicing and honing it and developing it as a strength that’s foundational to our methods. That’s not the interesting formulation, but I think this is: we can be inclined to think of this sensitivity as a weakness, too, especially in ourselves–when we read into, and spend time analyzing, other people’s words and behaviors, creating personal and emotional distress.

Sometimes we’re inclined to tell ourselves and others to write it off, or to stop being sensitive, reinforcing that the sensitivity is weakness. In a moment of yoga-inspired wisdom, though, I’d like to suggest that we/I can accept it as the other side of the coin–not as a weakness, but as a different expression of the same trait, if you will. Accept it and continue.

So there’s that.


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How I Work: The Setup

Blogpost title and interview prompts are “courtesy of” lifehacker.com and usethis.com and are remixed by yours truly.

Who are you, and what do you do?

Location: Blacksburg, VA (well, I live in Christiansburg, but spend most of my waking hours on Virginia Tech Campus).

Current gig(s): Let’s see, PhD student in Rhetoric and Writing, GTA for Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) / Engineering Science and Mechanics (ESM) Engineering Communications Program (ECP; is that enough acronyms for ya?), Assistant editor for Review of Middle East Studies (RoMES; there’s one more for good measure). Belly dancer.

One word that best describes how you work: Conversation.

For a class, “The Digital Self,” we drew out our workflow for research (our personal  “memex“–thanks, Quinn Warnick, for the PDF of Vannevar Bush’s 1945 Atlantic article, “As We May Think”). Mine included a number of stick figures conversing–in a classroom, in a lecture, in front of the TV, over a beer–that’s me and a variety of people who hash things out with me, and whose brains now (hopefully) contain bookmarks to some of my better ideas. Conversation leads to everything else I do, I think.

What hardware do you use?

Current mobile device: Samsung Galaxy S. Nothing special, but a smart phone that I use for internet searches, email, checking facebook messages, and a few apps.

Current computer: An older MacBook with OS 10.6.8 update, which I love. I didn’t have my own computer at all until a few years ago, and this one was a gift from my spouse, Andy. I need to fix the DVD drive, though. Andy’s home office/studio houses his Mac Pro (outfitted with dual 27″ screens, mixing board, and a variety of other sound recording hardware and software, much of which I can’t name) is where we edit and remix much of the music I dance to. Because of Quinn’s class, I’m a proud, if temporary, owner of an iPad updated to iOS 6.1. Similarly, I also have an HP laptop for my GTA position (I absolutely hate using it, but it’s convenient to leave it in that office) and an HP desktop in the journal office, which I like a bit better, primarily for its huge screen and the fact that I keep a decent set of speakers hooked up to it.

Besides your phone and your computer, what gadget can’t you live without? I have such a non-techy life compared to many. I need my DVD player and TV for my yoga videos, and some source of decent sound for listening (and dancing) to music. 

And what software?

What apps/software/tools you can’t live without? Sadly, I’m pretty dependent on Office 2011 for Mac for my teaching, writing, and other work. The journal operates a clunky old Access database that I’m looking for the funding to work full time this summer and learn to completely overhaul; I compose teaching handouts, my own papers and some journal correspondence in Word; I use PowerPoint for organizing a variety of media for classroom teaching. I love Google’s products, including my phone’s android platform, and have been one of the few people, apparently, to be thrilled when my previous and current university switched from awful old Lotus to Gmail. Andy and I use Logic Pro 9 to edit music, but I really need a lot of help from him to be at the wheel rather than just navigating. For The Digital Self, I’ve been using Twitter and WordPress, along with a few other applications, for the past couple of weeks. Yesterday, the Kindle app for the iPad saved my tuchas when I forgot my paperback copy Foucault’s Discipline and Punish for a class, although I also own both that and the Kindle version now, and who needs that?

Do phone apps count? College Football Scoreboard, MyFitnessPal, and DailyHoroscope are favorites, along with Shazam and Pandora.

What’s your workplace setup look like? Which one? My workplace setup is almost entirely nomadic. I spent most of a summer working on my MA thesis at the picnic table in my backyard, surrounded by huge stacks of articles and interview transcriptions, transitioning from coffee to iced tea or lemonade to beer. I usually have a desktop or laptop in front of me and beverage(s), snacks, notebooks, books, etc. spread around me. I like a view, but not necessarily one I’ve created.

What’s your best time-saving shortcut/life hack? I worked in the service industry for many years, and I had a hotel banquet manager who’d always say “never go anywhere empty-handed.” I carry that maxim with me and try to run several errands at once, carry something downstairs if I need to grab something, etc. It can backfire sometimes.

What’s your favorite to-do list manager? Pen and paper or some similar technology, for sure. I use Stickies on my desktop sometimes.

What would be your dream setup?

My dream setup would be fluid, spacious, even invisible. I really want a gigantic whiteboard. Also, I would already know how to use the hard- and software in my dream setup without getting frustrated to the point of near-tears. Audio and video recording and editing software would be high on the list of items I’d want.

What do you listen to while you work?

Most of the time, nothing. Music is a huge distraction for me, so I’ll listen while I walk from one place on campus to another, stop between tasks to throw on my headphones and dance around for a few minutes if the office is empty, etc. When I’m working on the journal after campus sort of shuts down around 5 p.m., I’ll put on Pandora and listen to one of my own stations (a sampling of past starting points: Fleet Foxes, “Electric Feel,” Avicii, Guided by Voices, The Last Waltz, Hossam Ramzy, or one of several hip hop stations for different moods–from Atmosphere to Dr. Dre to Jay-Z).

What’s your sleep routine like? Not great. Typically 12:30 to 8:30 or so. I am working (Still!) on going to bed and waking up earlier. With Virginia Tech being such a 9-5 campus, it’s pretty necessary.

What everyday thing are you better at than everyone else? I am a really good cook.

Are you more of an introvert or an extrovert? Mostly, an extrovert. I like to feel out unfamiliar situations before sticking a toe in the water, though, especially around really “cool” and/or really smart people.

Is there anyone you’d kill to see answer these same questions? The wording of this question makes it sound like I’m going to torture someone to get their answers. Actually, I’m acquaintances with another PhD student (geology at Purdue, if I remember correctly) and really talented, unique, belly dancer and costume designer, Bastet. I’d like to see how she manages things. Joss Whedon or Kevin Smith would be really cool.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? One of the best pieces of advice I’ve received was just yesterday, from my advisor. It goes something like, “Don’t let other people serve you their shit.” My best friend brought a different version back from a leadership conference once: “That monkey on your back? That’s not my monkey.”

Is there anything you’d like to add that might be of interest to others? I’m not sure that what I have written would be of interest to others, so, no.


Why Am I Here?

Not “Why Am I Here?” in the huge, existential sense, but it is certainly connected to that question. Rather, why am I here, on a blog. Why must this be part of our existence? I’ll return to that in just a second.

But first, funny(ish) story: I’m getting a PhD in Rhetoric and Writing, but I have come to dread writing. I have an awful visceral reaction as I attempt to type out something that I can save to the screen. I feel the way I know my undergraduate students often feel, like I have to put something out there, because it’s for a class, and/but therefore, I have nothing to say.

Why do we participate in social media? According to the authors of Networked: The New Social Operating System, due to a variety of conditions in contemporary society, we (in North America, at least) exist neither as individuals nor groups, but as “networked individuals.” Of course, social media are part of the trend, but being networked individuals in the physical world is another aspect of the same phenomenon.

Speaking of which, it took me several tries to decide on the term “physical world,” and I’m not convinced that it’s the right one, or even that there is a way to describe the world excluding digital media. The analog world?

Concepts I already dig, discourse community and activity system, remind me of this idea of networked individuals. Even if activity systems sort of have boundaries (where networks don’t), I think in practice it’s pretty hard to identify them. These concepts might also be useful for me to pose some ideas about how our networks work for us (and we for them):

  • We all exist in multiple networks, with stronger ties to (individuals in) some and weaker ties to others.
  • We share common language(s) with the other individuals in our networks.
  • We’re influenced to think and act in certain ways by our networks, and we can influence the other individuals in our networks, too.

There’s more to this, I think . . .