Yesterday I posted about the idea that we can get hemmed in by structures. We can work within a structure to replicate things, and do it really well, but that’s not the same as making our own rules.
One of the things that I really find inspiring about Twitter is just what frustrated me about it when I first joined Twitter (in February 2007, according to this website). I didn’t know what to do with it. I’m not sure how I heard about it. And I joined because I find the best way of learning about something is to get on board and start from the inside.
I couldn’t see what Twitter was for. And then, I started to see tweets from Chris Brogan. Rather than statements like “This soup at restaurant X is AMAZING”, he was throwing out questions on Twitter that seemed like Zen koans. They seemed designed to provoke you to think. And I liked that. That was enough to engage me with the idea of Twitter. (Ironically enough, as I was writing this post, Brogan was writing about a sort of “Twitter fast” he did.)
But what frustrated me about Twitter was that my thought processes were based on the blogging model, which was based on the radio and magazine model that I was familiar with from decades of doing it. I was forced to move away from a format I was comfortable in. I needed to make new understandings for that new format. And that was good for me. I found value in Twitter.
When I tried Empire Avenue, I found a highly mechanized system that seemed to be the social media version of Farmville or Mafia Wars. While some people seem absolutely focused on maximizing their “share value” on that platform, I found zero reason to devote time or energy to it. (To the point that I don’t want to even give it the linklove.)
Here’s another example, and yes, it’s about Lego. When I was teaching this winter, a student told me about her son’s use of Lego. Remember those kits that I criticized last time? Well, this kid was taking his Lego kits and making stop-motion animation with them. Turns out, there’s tons of this stuff online. Some of it’s hilarious!
Consciously or unconsciously, he took a construction toy which went together one way, and used it to create something much more random and anarchic. He escaped the tyranny of the app.
Escaping the “app” is not getting rid of your smartphone. It’s about resisting the tendency to follow patterns.
- Don’t let your tools define how you use them.
- Re-examine your routines.
- Best practices are one thing. But don’t fall victim to being limited by them.
- Here’s one I have trouble with: recognize that you WILL fall back into the comfortable patterns, that routine will take over. Acknowledge that an attempt to change something has broken down… then do something about it.
Creativity is a joy and a treasure. Use it. Don’t let the routines govern you.