Sunday, June 18, 2017

For giving.

Whose territory?

Whose conversation?

What story?

"I don't really understand your blog posts."

I have had to come to terms with the apparent inhospitability of much of my writing here.

I am not expecting others to do so.

Touches of my meaning making in space.

It is an inhospitable space.


If I do this openly, in a blog, it is for giving to those who might find something.

If I do this in a blog, it is a sort of ritual, it is for giving of myself openly.

I am searching.

I am reassured if there are those who find something meaningful to hang onto in this wilderness.

I wouldn't want to feel less free here.

I am already not so free here.

We are not so free here.

I find much to hang onto here, strangely.

It's easier for me because I can interpret what I write from my own context at a particular moment in time.

I am sure that is the same for all of us.

We feel moments of conviviality, moments of connection, moments of communion.

Then we are alone.


I have been lurking in the margins of a #digciz conversation which brings together a few (self-) select(ed) people to discuss issues connected to digital communication, amongst them: digital citizenship, data privacy, belonging and hospitability.

The hashtag has already marginalised many potential participants who have no idea what a/this hashtag indicates, neither what Twitter is, nor what anything in English means.

I could make it worse and speak about Mastodon or APIs (don't ask, I don't know).

I apologise for the obscurity of digciz, for its inherent inhospitability.

Actually, I don't.

Others don't either.

Despite my better sense, it has become a part of my life here.

Lurking in the margins, has sparked a couple of blog posts, a fair degree of frustration and a few memes.

It's not very much, I grant you, when faced with the bigger picture of things.

Somehow, I feel I would be better off slinking silently away.

I feel a fraud spending time on games of intellectual tennis when faced with so many pressing needs.

Just turn away from their lives and tweet.

I feel irrelevant.

Some people are gifted at spinning conversation endlessly.

I get bored after a while.


I want to know what we are doing here.

I feel that we can spend hours inhospitably talking about hospitality in inhospitable spaces.

We pat each other on the back, while spinning off into the ether.

I feel this is irrelevant to many people's lives.

I am still thinking of how I couldn't help a family of Romanian "migrants".

I should have found time to give them more time.

I couldn't.

Those moments of hospitality, when they were so happy to be part of the family left a bitter taste.

I find it hard to get upset with intellectual banter.

There are more pressing issues.

I have been betrayed,  insulted, abused, I still need to find a way to forgive.

Feeling offended is a privilege I can't afford.

Pride has no value but a very high cost.

I feel a strong desire and need to remain grounded.

I feel that rather than talk about stuff I need to do stuff, despite or by using these hostile hybrid spaces.

I would rather spend a few moments with a student that I have never spoken with, a man on a train who is a complete stranger, a homeless person on the street who I can be human with than worry too much about online hospitality and hashtags.


I may be considered a resident on Twitter or in certain online circles.

I am not at home there, anymore than I am at home here.

I use these tools because they enrich my learning, my possibilities to connect.

This is not my home.

And yet, it is where I have found myself.

Like other marginal people the internet has enables us to find and develop tribes.

Having sent myself into space, I have worked on developing physical connections around me here.

This is what worries me with online communities - the fear that they exist as a form of escapism.

I was trying to think of analogies.

I remember seeing groups of fantasy games players meeting in pubs.

I remember the warmth of applause from a group of friends invited to performances of plays.

Everything in the world appeared as irrelevant for a moment, when for those in the audience we were awesome.



What is the difference between some academic groups and the World of Warcraft?

There it is my sealing my exclusion, my excommunication, yet again.

Why oh why can't I pretend?


This is an awesome post.


OK you are.

This post is crap.



I have spent a good deal of time attempting to forgive what I couldn't forget.

I suppose forgiving myself at the same time.

I was unable to understand how people could be so aggressive with me.

I was unable to understand how threatening I can be to some people.

I was unable to forget the hurt that they caused me.

Sometimes only time will give us the strength to forgive and attempt to accept our differences.

Aikido taught me to say thank you to those who shared conflict with me.

Yes there were rules to avoid as much as possible lasting injury.

Rules are never absolute.

We live and learn and hurt.

It is easy to dismiss those who are hurtful.

It is easier to be dismissive online.

It is reassuring to have a supporting chorus...



I feel that we need to deepen our relationships with people.

I feel that we need to go beyond conflict, to discover the stories, the wider contexts of other people.

I feel that the nature of social media encourages superficial binge socialising in echo chambers.

I feel that we need to go beyond our marginal safe spaces to engage with people who have no care for concepts of digital citizenship, have no idea if they be natives, residents, guests.

I am not interested in fantasy worlds, manifestos of cyberspace.

Some people are only looking for a smile, a bit of respect.

They are not sure if they are residents, natives, guests, visitors, immigrants, trash.

Do we give up parts of ourselves to make sure others feel welcome?

I found this tweet and it sparked this post.

I am giving up parts of myself here.

I am not giving up who I am.

I am not being someone I am not.

I am being myself - however inhospitable, however offensive to you that may be.


I respect myself and you too much to imagine engaging in polite niceties.

OK some people will not accept those who are different to them.


I have great difficulties with this idea of "welcome" of "hospitality".

We need to meet people in places where power doesn't come into it.

Not my home.

Not your home.

Not publicly.

We have to meet alone, unaccompanied by our choral supporters, who undermine our courage.


We have to spend the time really to BE with the other.

We have to accept that we may never understand each other.

We have to accept that time may never bring us together.

We have to give ourselves a chance.

We have to be ready accept to lose something of what we thought was ourselves in meeting the other.

We have to be ready and to accept to gain, to learn something we never imagined in contact, in conflict perhaps with the other.

We have to be ready to accept our potential for transformation.

We have, above all, be ready for giving, for forgiving.


  1. I hurt. I scream. While this ping pong game of what the fuck is digital citizenship has been going on people have died. Citizens, disenfranchised citizens with the wrong colour skin, but still citizens.

    Fuck this privileged conversation (not you, never you - you open a window that I can use).

    Fuck hospitality. Show me how I can stop these atrocities happening.

    1. Now I know I'm not alone.

      Thank you for this window. It's taken a lot of wind out of my sails but I'm still mad and madly writing (on the other screen), in notepad, not brave enough to blog.

    2. So much going on in the world that requires attention on any given day.

      In the flow of internet chatter I find myself, and others, who attempt to draw people from the stream into sub conversations that focus on some of these issues. Without the flow that might not be possible.

  2. Well, now ... this is how I think about the conversations ... I teach adolescents. Some come from secure and loving homes. Some do not. Many of my students won't hear their parents talk about how to be positive forces in the world with their technology, how they can connect and make change for the greater good (I won't even think about coming together for greater evil ... perhaps my head is in the sand. Call me an optimist in the face of negativity).
    While the conversation you write about skirts along "privileged" ideas, the discussion can't be ignored. We can't expect young people to know how to act with digital devices and social media. We can't yell at them, either. Packaged programs are a waste. Bringing in the law enforcement folks (which many schools do under the guide of "digital citizenship") is a scare tactic.
    We need to help guide young people, and for that, we (teachers) need to know what the hell we are talking about. How we act. How we connect. Not rules. Understanding.
    I'm still trying to figure all that out, and you know as well as anyone that I try my hand at it quite a bit in a lot of different ways.
    But I do appreciate conversations, even when they get bogged down in academia and slippery language at times. And even when the conversations question the conversation in the first place. I'm open to learning from it all, so I can help my students -- real people in the real world being shaped by digital and social media.
    You got me thinking ... no surprise there.
    Your friend,

  3. Thanks Kevin - that is where I would like to take such conversations to the kids from whom we learn. Of course, I share your position as to the importance of being able to use what we learn to help kids.

  4. Hello, I wrote a long comment but I think the Internet whisked it away.

    So this is the shorter thought: is it the word "hospitality"? Does it come with something? Or is it the problem of conversation itself, in this world?

    I'm really troubled by the idea that dialogue is the opposite of action.

    (Have read your blog many times, thank you for writing it)