Thursday, October 13, 2005

Definition of 'cyborgenetic'

In writing my dissertation, I needed a new adj form of cyborg for discussing the background philosophies leading to ObjectRhetoric. I googled 'cyborgenetic' (the logical choice of a compound word) and found 30 uses but no definitions. Uses seem similar to mine, so here is the first official definition:

cyborgenetic (adj) si'bor'ja'net'ik

1. originating from a blending together of the organic and mechanical

Conflation of cyborg + genetic in order to get an adjective form for use in my dissertation.

Isn't it strange how the definition should not be "organic and mechanic"? But "mechanic" refers to a thing (n) and "mechanical" is the proper adj form. I guess English is not ideally suited to additive composition of words.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Communication Nation: Use your blog as a management tool

Communication Nation: Use your blog as a management tool: "How do you think of your blog? Do you use it as a management tool? If so please share your thoughts."

I'm posting here my response from there...

But my (metaphoric) Moleskine need not be linear, see the 43Folders web site where practitioners of the GTD method have some hacks and more hacks that allow different uses and entry points. Personally, I see my Moleskines as an external thinking aid, a place to store important pieces of information I don't use enough to remember and a designated locus for temporary storage of index cards containing lists, coupons, sticky notes with reminders, and other things I want to tell myself at a later time. This way, it's continuously visible until I get it done or realize I didn't need to do it anyway and can "forget it."

Personally, I see blogs as one part of that potential, contextualized information space I posted on the other day. Another key for me is the idea of negotiated understanding, or in a more traditionalist view, the Socratic dialogue, in which people with different experiences can contribute to making sense of complex problems. Yet another key is how such dialogue opens up the normally private thoughts of an individual so that the individual can mediate first impressions or thoughts on a topic with the experience of communicating this nascent knowledge in order to refine thought and consciously choose how the individual presents himself or herself to the public. This gets back to Foucault's technologies of the self and self writing, both of which offer potential constraints and liberations, new spaces to affect and construct the self.

Bringing these observations together, I'm currently pondering the multiplying and constructing of self in terms of becoming a cyborg (hybrid of technology and organism)...but this almost takes me off topic...so to the point of this posting, I also see blogs as a tool for projecting oneself into the virtual online community...one that does not depend on a 1:1 relationship with a body, so that it could be 1:many where I potentially have a blog for my personal ideas, one for enhancing my career path by showing collaboration and scholarship, one for marketing my product, one for effecting social change by putting out new memes, one for entertainment or sharing interests and hobbies, and the list could go on to include any reason we as humans communicate.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Communication Nation: Information overload in the office

Communication Nation: Information overload in the office brings to mind some thoughts about problem analysis and solution design. I've recently been reading through Ed Yourdon's Just Enough Structured Analysis, specifically the section on why some systems should not be automated. Given this background and a caption writing contest and a situation to comment on with an all too familiar pile of documents estranged from any kind of context, I'm reminded about the rush to implementing some system, any system with a potential for making things better instead of a solution with a chance of working. Why, for example, store documents in individual files with access limited to the author and a selected group of specificially intended recipients and then present them as unitary objects of information rather than creating a genuine information space or information world in which these can have a natural contextual connection to the environment of which they form a part? Wiki's provide a great start (and yes, Virginia, some bits of information can be protected from writing and viewing), but commercial vendors and open-source projects alike miss out on creating information environments capable of utilizing innate human capabilities for immersion and adaptation. Where is the SubEthaEdit of the office world, not just for text files but for meetings, documents, consensus building, presentations, workflow design, and any other potentially tool-mediated activity? And, most important, what would such a thing be able to do better than a big table, white board, and stack of index cards?

Friday, September 30, 2005

ObjectRhetoric and cleanliness of spirit

For my inaugural post, I'd like to say how liberating and (unfortunately) paralyzing it is to begin a new thoughtspace. Sure, I think about how it can be deleted or changed or fade into nothing and really not mean anything, but it is a commitment I'm not sure I want to begin. It's like buying that new Moleskine notebook and lovingly hand numbering every page then sitting down to write and discovering nothing seems worthy of this fetishized object. Perhaps the problem is that like J. K. Rowling's character Lord Voldemort, in doing so we somehow break off a piece of our soul, something that is no longer in us...now outside, and imbue some inconsequential material object with such precious value that it is not really the thoughts that are unworthy, but that the container may be unworthy of us. Such thoughts remember echoes of Foucault's self-writing, the practice of creating self through the manipulation of language and symbols intended to expose the self to public view, the unitary view of the panopticon. It creates a new self clean and unwritten.

So why ObjectRhetoric? This has more to do with my time investments than anything else. I am finishing a dissertation centering on rhetoric and technical communication, the ways in which the two intertwine with technology, theory of mind, object-orientation, and activity theory in order to produce a new rhetoric (as in a singular from the plural rhetorics) germane to a world of blogging, microcontent, single sourcing, and multiplying selves through cyborgization. ObjectRhetoric is the name I give for this rhetoric.