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The Good Place: A society to match the scenery (Michael L. Umphrey on gardening, teaching, and neighboring)

Information activist?
   Or just a Hobbit

David Wilcox proposes a term for whatever it is some of us are doing: “Others may call you variously a blogger, online journalist, community manager, information worker, editor, researcher, even hacker. Perhaps we’ll find some shared interests wearing the badge of knowledge activist.”

Knowledge activist? Not me, probably. “Activist” isn’t one of those words that moves me much. My experience with activists is that they tend to see me as something to be improved. They have a plan, and we all need to get involved. Too often, the plan is to get us involved in making a plan. Because, after all, change.

I’m rather fond of doing what I think makes sense and offering invitations to anyone who would like to help, or accepting invitations from people asking for help. Something more neighborly than activism.

But quibbling aside, I think I have some of the same sense he does of old boundaries dissolving. I’ve been a newspaper editor, a teacher, and a school administrator, but most of my work now is done with conceptual and technological tools no one taught at the schools I went to, and my goals have little to do with advancement within the old institutions that dominate the cultural landscape like towers in a Tolkien tale.

Was Frodo an activist? Maybe.

Posted by Michael L Umphrey






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