Sunday, August 05, 2007

Hit and miss

I have an old wiki up from a class I taught in 2006 on the literature of working women. That semester marked my first stab at using a wiki in class, and I found it only somewhat successful. (I think I've made better use of wikis since that time.) What it features now, basically, are pages about authors or specific works we read. You know, sort of like something maybe wikipedia-ish.

At any rate, now and again I'll get an email from the wiki service, indicating that someone has invited me to join their wiki space. I find it odd, since these aren't requests from folks I know. So tonight a request shows up in my inbox, only it's a request to join my wikispace. And I'm thinking, this has to be spam or something. Because who would want to join an inactive course wiki?

But no. It was a request from one of the authors featured on the wiki. She was curious about the class.

So that was cool. I emailed her.

And I noticed one day that over at the Tree of Rhetoric, there's a link to my blogging course, because I had a link over to something on that site on my syllabus. And I got a number of emails while teaching the blogging course from folks whose blog articles I linked to.

Ah, Web 2.0. Connectivity. Just a little Google search, and you can find out who's talking about you.

I'm not knocking it. I like to know who's talking about me, too. But it does still surprise me, I guess. Suddenly, a sighting. From something awhile ago, something almost forgotten. Brought back into the present. Because the web, it is the eternal present. It's always now.

Which could be scary. Connectivity is a little scary in Shaviro's Connected, or What It Means to Live in the Network Society. (And, by the way, don't you prefer the "or" to the colon? Jameson uses it for Postmodernism, or, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism. I always loved that.) The borg--with their "singular goal, namely the consumption of technology" and "hive mind"--are scary on Star Trek.

But it's a strange fear, isn't it? This fear that connectivity leads to the extinction of individuality. We're nodes, sure. I don't have a problem with that. But all nodes exist at unique points of convergence.

I'm just going with the flow, folks. You know, writing for the sake of writing. And I think that's enough of that for tonight.