Filtering Applied to #Unboundeq

I have found it difficult to connect with the the Equity Unbound course.  I have been contributing in a one-way direction.  At least it mostly seems that way.  Whether the failure is my filters or theirs is a big question for me.  I know that my tweets have not been responded to in any way by the principals of the event.  I, too, have been unable to attend the live twitter chats or virtual conversations that have been provided.  Hence my exploration here using a pair of tools (Twitter Lists and Twitter Moments)that I used in my last post, Filtering Original Signal Into New Noise?

Below is an embed of my #unboundeq moment, where my ‘filtering’ question was: does the tweet make me want to move beyond a comfortable conversation and to act?

Here are my responses just as before, but with an emphasis on actionable stuff. (There are, of course, detours and “snookers” down some prairie dog warrens.) This is very much thinking out loud on paper so it probably does not warrant a close read.

Filtering Question: What does this make me want to “do”, to act?

1. Correct dystopia. How can anyone know enough of the future to predict the correct dystopia? This is not an idle question. Persuasion architectures. Is there an apt comparison between impulse buying at the checkout counter and online ads? AI can make the sale much more personalized? Really so? Perhaps we need to think about the source of this information. Is this from Facebook-based and massaged data? Like the ‘discovery’ that FB inflated the average time lengths of video views by 900%? Where does our speaker’s info come from? Big issue: it’s like the sorting hat in Harry Potter, we are being chosen but we don’t know how. Effectively it is magic. She asserts that *no one* knows how they chose. Only the machine consciousness knows. And how do we know that? What if you could target bipolar patients who are at the onset of a manic episode? Well, she says they have. YouTube example: the recommend column. I can say from my experience that it is not a particularly effective algorithm for me. I don’t allow autoplay because the autoplay is…stupid. “You’re never hard core enough for YouTube.” Ahh, a transcript. Handy to read and listen and watch. Nice TED interface for doing this. The issue: YouTube algorithms make all target demographics equal. Need to ‘play’ the algorith overtly? Need to fuck with it? How to do that? Let’s play “Fucking Up YouTube”. Example of demobilizing folks to not vote. The FB tweak that added 340000 voters to the 2010 election–we are relying on FB data. They are known to lie. The whole company’s business model was stolen by Zuckerberg. This is a talk that my friend Jimmy Dore needs to know about. Some platforms, if they have become this powerful, represent an unchecked power in the body politic. They are outside the three parts of government and the fourth estate. They are an unchecked power unto themselves that has no effective countervailing forces to check them. FB doesn’t have to tell anyone what they are doing and if the speaker is to be believed they themselves don’t know. AI as a political force to be reckoned with. “Imagine what a state can do with the immense amount of data it has on its citizens.” We don’t have to imagine. We can see.

“So what can we do? This needs to change. Now, I can’t offer a simple recipe, because we need to restructure the whole way our digital technology operates. Everything from the way technology is developed to the way the incentives, economic and otherwise, are built into the system. We have to face and try to deal with the lack of transparency created by the proprietary algorithms, the structural challenge of machine learning’s opacity, all this indiscriminate data that’s being collected about us. We have a big task in front of us. We have to mobilize our technology, our creativity and yes, our politics so that we can build artificial intelligence that supports us in our human goals but that is also constrained by our human values. And I understand this won’t be easy. We might not even easily agree on what those terms mean. But if we take seriously how these systems that we depend on for so much operate, I don’t see how we can postpone this conversation anymore. These structures are organizing how we function and they’re controlling what we can and we cannot do. And many of these ad-financed platforms, they boast that they’re free. In this context, it means that we are the product that’s being sold. We need a digital economy where our data and our attention is not for sale to the highest-bidding authoritarian or demagogue.”

There are some very interesting comments. I need to read all of them to get balance from the speaker’s POV.

2. Virtual Connection with #OWLTEH18: What is the Disruptive Media Lab of Conventry and what do they do and what something actionable can come from this place? I visited their YouTube channel. Subscribed. The intro video emphasizes ‘action’. OK, what kind: dreaming of 21st century safe learning space, yeah, that would be cool so how could I act that way?
Action: instead of having everyone do a presentation, go larger and just require that everyone share their larger project in some way including presentations
Actions: Tools suggestions sections are always a call to action. I went to the 23 things page in Tools. amazing to see how others are using the tools and connections I used in #clmooc. Makes me want to do more with #clmooc again besides doodles and such.
Issue: only thirty minutes long?

3.Commentary–capitalism is killing you: Awareness (scary stat) Action (check out scary stat) Classic ‘problem-solution’ writing. Action is the solution. Not enough just to become aware. So what can i do? I turn to Diigo, my go to social Swiss Army knife. I highlight everything that implies or suggests action. And some other stuff too. (I created an annotated view on Diigo: ). Action list (pretty generic, like a credo)
a.real work for real living pay
b.autonomy in a job worth doing
d.retirement with dignity
e.rebuilding community
f.supporting public goods like Medicare for all
g.refuse capitalism as we know it.

4.B.F. Skinner, a history: clicking of mice=the pecking of pidgeons. Bar none the worst analogy ever. And almost nothing actionable.

5. Kevin’s gathering of videos and discussing “that person in the room.”I stopped here at the #unboundeq video when the speaker began speaking about “weaponizing white dudes”.  I tried to go on, to understand how I could act on this phrase, to allow myself to be weaponized.  All I wanted to do was to act against that metaphor.  Instead of weaponizing me, instead of manipulating me, instead of making me part of a not-so-hidden agenda, why not ask me to help.

I oftentimes do lend help to people who have less power than I do just as I ask for help from those who can help me.  For example, the other day I leant my public support to a colleague applying for a job advancement.  She didn’t have to ask.  I did it in solidarity and as an act of empathy for all the help she has given me over the years.  If she had tried to weaponize me in service to her cause, I would have remained silent in the face of such a shaming tactic.

So…Kevin’s article did provoke my outrage.  I DM’d him on Twitter to thank him for his post and to explain my position and that led me to be more public here.  Filtering lesson learned: be open to being angered and outraged.

6.Mike Caulfield’s Tribalisma:  Caulfield lays out the problem for students in the modern classroom as outlined in a Knight Foundation survey.  What can I do?  Get skilled with fact-checking and truth-sussing; then help others do the same thing. And make it into a habit in class. Practice until it is a second nature action. AND go to Caulfield’s “Four Moves Blog”

7.The Nine Ways:  Clickbait or actionable? The big idea is to get people (particularly students) to believe in their own voices.  This is big lift–create confidence.  I have never seen this listed as a bullshit learning outcome. Hard to measure. Hard to conjure.

But…action is possible.

1.I could learn and share a new tool: MediaBreaker / Studios

2.Oh, look, I found Popcornmaker’s new home on  I didn’t know that this was more than an archive.  Immediately went there to create something for my friend Kevin.

3.Visited and signed up for Soapbox Nation although it says 5th-12th only.  I teach at-risk first year students so maybe they can push the envelop along with me if I can use their curriculum.

I wondered if this was sustainable.  Probably not on a daily basis, but on a once a week publishing schedule. Yes.  Might it fit into my newsletter? Yes, again once a week.  Mostly what I discovered is how central the ‘filtering question’is and how I need to get better at asking better questions. This question acts as a compass for the community you have brought together.  The filtering question helps you make sense of the pile of stuff you have gathered.  And that is a big deal.

Here is the action list that I have gleaned from my filter. 

Action Items from #Unboundeq Filter

More than a doc, Dropbox Paper is a flexible workspace that brings people and ideas together.

Next, I will create a new Twitter List about #el30 visiting guests for Stephen Downes’ E-Learning 3.0 Distributed Learning Technology MOOC.

Here are the names I will place in my Twitter List:

Confirmed guests for E-Learning 3.0 #el30 include the following:
– George Siemens
– Shelly Blake-Plock
– Tony Hirst
– Ben Werdmuller
– Maha Bali
– Sukaina Walji
– Viplav Baxi
– Amy Burvall
– Silvia Margarita Baldiris Navarro
– Jutta Treviranus

From each of those filtered sources I will be looking for interesting tweets that I can ask the question: how does this tweet help me connect meaningfully across the network?

Why this question?  It seems to be the central one as voiced in the course outline.


2 Replies to “Filtering Applied to #Unboundeq”

  1. I’m spilling out my words into your blog comment bin …

    “All I wanted to do was to act against that metaphor. ” — You

    I am working to be reflective, following your reaction. Sharing comes with a responsibility (which is why the ease of retweet or plus-one can be frustrating).

    In sharing those videos in a post, I was more focused on understanding how to find voice against the grain, how to support other voices, other margins of the page. How to ensure we can stand up with others, for others, together. To notice my own privilege. Strange that that phrase, which stopped you and frustrated you, did not settle too deeply with me at the time. Huh. I don’t know why not.

    Many of the projects I engage with from the outsider status — the open participant — often feels like I am writing off the side most of the time. You might argue, why bother? Why write into the quiet? Still, I do it in order to learn more from others. Sometimes, it works. Sometimes, not. Sometimes, it’s me. Sometimes, it’s the way the project is set up.

    I always enter, hopeful.

    Being open means being open to pushback, too. Your filtering activity here in this post helped me think through some things, too. I am, as always, appreciative.


  2. I was glad to see both vids there no matter how negatiuvely I might have reacted. The one bad reaction overawed all the good that was in it for me. Living and working in the margins is truly hard. Both of us are working in very conventional hierarchic institutions where we often have to lay down parallel tracks for our students to succeed.
    I think the quiet and writing into it are both part of a necessary identity, a learning identity and I am so glad you do it and are it.
    I have learned that outrage is flag that there is something to be learned. I have much to learn about these words “weaponized white dudes” and my own visceral reaction to it. Much. UYour hopefulness is contagious. So many thanks.

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