Tools for Conviviality: #DigCiz Now More than Ever

Ivan Illich writing in the early 70’s foresaw the online education boom…and as you can read above, he feared it.  He called it ‘insidious’ and ‘destructive’ and described it as a seductive way to condition workers.  He said it was worse than industrial, compulsory schooling. Nailed it.

Would he have called social media out as well? Undoubtedly. They would have both been  characterized as inhospitable and incongenial.

Efforts like #digciz take on a much larger role given this proven milieu.  Whether you use the word ‘hospitality’ in this extended sense, as in struggling against the forces of distraction and splintering and for those of connection and conviviality, or not, we are clearly in a pitched battle that many of us aren’t even aware is going on around us.

The stakes are high.  Clearly.

Translation:  Some folks have asked for an elaboration of what I wrote above.

First text-image:  Illich was a remarkably prescient social observer.  This quote is taken from 1970 and reflects progressive educational critiques of American compulsory education.  Illich also presages the world of technology solutionism so prevalent in Silicon Valley corporations today.  He saw the Panopticon coming.  He also saw this as much worse than the status quo.  The word “insidious” evokes perfectly how, for example, social media has become ubiquitous and central to every aspect of our lives as well as to the purposes of the surveillance state.

Second text-image:  Illich argues further that we are creating what I called and inhospitable political state.  This gets to the idea that we are considering this week in #DigCiz, the centrality of hospitality as a countervailing force to the splintering and isolation created in the post-modern anti-convivial state.

I was trying to justify the serious effort by #DigCiz to amplify the importance of understanding and practicing digital citizenship.  This week that was represented as digital hospitality.

Last text-image:  The real stakes and the optimistic view that we can create a convivial state.


What Is #DigCiz Trying to Do Versus What Am I Trying to Get from It?

As I read my #DigCiz column in Tweetdeck, I find it to be a teflon mess.  What is #DigCiz trying to do?  Is this theoretical work on the nature of digital citizenship or practice in the discipline of digital hospitality? Both? Neither? Signal? Noise?

“DigCiz is a conversation centered around questions of persons, environments, and shared experience as they relate to ideas of Digital Citizenship.”

  • “practices of digital belonging and digital kinship.”
  • “hidden immigrants”
  • “telling stories”
  • “conversation”

I guess I wanted something very different. I wanted more deliberate practice.  Conversation is not leading to me practicing digital hospitality.  I have done a lot of facilitating online and that is one form of hospitality, but I am not seeing much on how to practice digital hospitality.  The discussion so far has been pretty theoretically top-heavy with lots of folks blasting out lots of signals to the point where it just becomes noise–to me.

So that those involved don’t consider this a condemnation and get defensive, I admit I misunderstood what #DigCiz was mostly about. That’s my problem.  I came to it with an expectation that it might be more than a ‘conversation’.  I should have come to it with a better filter, a filter that was looking for practice and deliberate practice about, for example, digital hospitality. My mistake.

My next step is to re-engage with the ‘noise’ so as to tease out the signal of deliberate practice.  I am not very heartened so far. Who knew hospitality was so fraught with academic guild chatter and anger?  My first stop will be to find the concierges and see what they have to say.

I will also try to practice my core commitment to honoring those who invited me and those who are sharing.