Doors into a Participatory Culture: Reading Is Doing

Entry Points in the Interaction Universe

There has not been a whole ton of interacting itself for our slow-read book talk on Participatory Culture in a Networked Era. Folks are still getting the book, or recovering from the holidays, or just plain ol’ busy in their lives.

I was rummaging through Kevin Hodgson’s always interesting blog and was reading an interesting comment by Cindy Minnich about our slow reading of Jenkins/Ito/boyd’s book Participatory Culture.

Cindy Minnich DECEMBER 29, 2015 AT 2:44 PM REPLY

Slow read? Oh boy…I admit, I have been in a virtual hole for the last few months so I missed hearing about this. I’ll have to check it out, but I know I personally need momentum, deadlines, check-ins to keep me on target.That said, the holidays are a tough time to get people to do anything at the same time…other than maybe smooch at midnight on NYE. So the flexibility isn’t necessarily a bad thing.Like you said, it’s worth trying – it’s always worth trying.And thanks for extending the invitation to latecomers. I’ll have to check out what’s going on. (Is there a best place to start?)

Thanks so much, Cindy. Such an honest response to Kevin’s call: I am out of the loop, I need structure, the holidays militate against virtual connection, glad the invite is flexible, where do I start.  Reminds me of the Blues Brothers.  😉

Blues Brothers & Carrie

Luscious Carrie falls for Belushi’s unconquerable charm and heartfelt sincerity. For an exquisitely written account of the making of the Blues Brothers:-


Here was my response.

Terry Elliott (@telliowkuwp) DECEMBER 31, 2015 AT 7:02 AM REPLY    I don’t mean to sound snarky, but I think reading and annotating is the best place to start. Here is a link to Chapter Two. We are using hypothesis as an annotation tool. Here is a tutorial on using it after you sign up at  If you want to see all of the various threads of activity that have happened, check this google doc out

Having said all this, I come back to the simplest act–reading. You don’t have to connect any further than that if you don’t choose to. As far as I am concerned, that will be enough. We will eventually get together in the great Internet by-and-by, right?


Facilitating is a highwire act.  The philosophy behind this book share (insofar as we have even thought it out) is a very simple one: low bar, as you wish, come and go as you please.  I am sure Kevin would agree here because we developed it with many others working over the last three summers facilitating for the National Writing Project’s CLMOOC. But put bluntly:  these simple rules drive some folks crazy.

Why?  On the positive side a potential participant might argue that life is short, what do you want me to learn here, how do I go about that?  It is an efficiency argument, an argument made by every learning institution ever devised.  It is a management model that says we need to strip all learning down to a series of steps to be taken. So tell me what they are already!

On the other side I argued back to Cindy that the decision as to what to learn and how is for the most part one you need to make for yourself only governed by time and inclination.  At a bare minimum, I suggested to Cindy that she read the book and create her own meaning from it.  If our book share does this, I think it is a success.  But it could be so much more.  In the end I think that this is the ultimate in agency and  efficiency. You get to decide for yourself how much or how little you want to get from the community.

This is just another way of looking at the world of learning.  It is not a better way, just one that has not been “valorized” very much in our institutional structures, but one which we must begin to practice more if we are to lead our learners into the new participatory culture that more and more characterizes the networked world we work and play within.

Luckily for us, this book is an exploration of this theme and you can practice it within a participatory culture.





  1. // Reply

    Yet another wonderful set of insights and pathways for us to follow, Terry. Taking the time to read comments on another blog, and then write a response, and provide the links for Cindy and any others (and reminding her and us that the act of reading, solo, is worth in and of itself) is an act of generosity always worth celebrating.
    Peace and happy new year, my friend.

    1. // Reply

      As always, backatcha bro. Thanks for taking the time to visit. Small acts of reciprocation and all that. Happpppppiest ever New Year to you and your family. We are all lucky to know you.

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