blurring the work/play boundaries

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A few months ago, I was at a cub scout meeting with my kids, sitting in the back of the room reading Emergence. The mother next to me, who had failed to bring entertainment of her own, asked me if I was reading the book "for work, or for fun?"

For a moment, I honestly couldn't answer. And in that moment, I realized how very lucky I was. That it is so difficult for me to differentiate between things done "for work" and things done "for fun" is a pretty amazing gift.

It's been more and more true lately. I'm beginning to feel a sense of being "in the groove" that I can't remember having felt in a long time. The various threads of my interests, experience, knowledge, and professional responsibilities are converging into something that seems to really matter. I'm not sure if I have a name yet for that "something." Some people are calling it "social software," which comes pretty close.

Last night, I gave a talk to our IT student organization entitled "Social Software, XML, and the Semantic Web." I talked about the relationship among those concepts, and the fact that we're still really in "primordial ooze" mode with the tools. We're in the middle of this bubbling sea of technology and communication, watching as things like weblogs and wikis and MMORPGs and emergent democracy emerge from the mix.

I looked at the room full of students I was talking to, and realized--they are the future. They are the toolmakers that we need to make the amorphous ideas real and solid. They know how to use the job isn't to teach them to code, it's to teach them why to code, to point them to the problems that need to be solved, to make sure they understand the social context in which they are working.

Over the past few days, I've been caught up in home and office responsibilities, and haven't been blogging--or reading the blogs that I usually follow. And I realized today how much I miss it. Every day my ideas and thinking are informed and enriched by the things I read online. Reading blogs isn't a luxury for me any's a necessity. It's where these ideas are emerging, where they're being shaped and discussed.

And if it also happens to be something that delights me...well, every now and then I guess the stars do align properly.

Apparently the talk was a hit with at least one student...

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Work and play from Imaginary magnitude on April 5, 2003 6:23 AM

"For a moment, I honestly couldn?t answer. And in that moment, I realized how very lucky I was. That it Read More




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This page contains a single entry by Liz Lawley published on April 3, 2003 3:47 PM.

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