The New Rules

I should be focusing on finishing the presentation I will be delivering four days from now, but some ideas are nagging me to be expressed and I'm not that good at arguing my brain out of such notions.

Several recent memes are influencing the way I conceptualize my website and my professional direction.

The notion of object orientation has me pondering what size unit is appropriate for my newly designed website. Also, the separation of form and substance, thanks to stylesheets, is liberating. And using a search engine instead of a hierarchy or indexes adds flexibility, too. The title of David Weinberger's book about the web, Small Pieces, Loosely Joined, describes the blueprint for the new internettime.com. In tmie, half the site will be Easter eggs one trips over accidentally.

Nothing is ever finished. I used to complete a page or a white paper or a chapter and figure that is was "done." No longer. There's always a new perspective. And, since everything seems to be connected to everything else, things are always in flux. This is just as well, since people (including your author) engage with unfinished works but are bored when everything is over. Hell, they may have something to add; hence the need for two-way authoring. I like the way Movable Type encourages me to come back to add on to items I'd posted a while back.

Time is accelerating and is more important than it used to be. When I mentioned this to a management consultant friend, he asked, "Do you have any proof of that?" My response was, "Can't you feel it?" For the last dozen years, I've been drawn to the study of time, without explanation, like the moth to the flame. (I can identify with the Richard Dreyfus character in Close Encounters of the Third Kind who was obsessed with Devil's Tower.)

This notion that relentless time is moving ahead is goading me to shift over to the new internettime.com before I normally would have. It is not finished. It's half-baked. But then, it never will be finished. And I have experiments I want to conduct on the web and cannot afford the time to keep two sites up to date.

Finally, I'm reconceptualizing the role of the site itself. At first, we positioned ourselves as an authority on eLearning. When we'd figure something out, we'd clean it up and present it on the site. The new role is inquirer. We invite people to look over our shoulder as we explore how the world works and how to make it better. The inquiry leads outside of our familiar domains but we have the courage (or is it chutzpah?) to boldly go out on that thin ice. Psychology? Cog-sci? Design? Socio-biology? The new science? Entropy? Chaos? No problem.


Posted by Jay Cross at September 19, 2002 02:46 PM | TrackBack
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