Don’t Just Derive | Engender and Thrive

Just finished reading Tania Sheko’s blog post about Pinterest as well as viewed her SlideShare presentation below. Go ahead and check it. I’ll wait.

You can tell she has thought about Pinterest and its thoughtful uses for quite awhile.  Sometimes you just know someone else has paid her dues just in the self-assuredness that shines through.  Tania is self-assured in her Pinterest practice and knows what it affords.

I commented on her post because I have been thinking about my own tool use of late, and about how I have lost  one of my favorites–Zeega. I feel its loss so keenly because it helped me create.  I got the dopamine rush when I used it and now its gone. I have looked far afield to find something to give me the same feeling, but no joy suffices so far.  This has made me think about how I need to embrace the undifferentiated creative life, the one that cleaves close to the heartwood and releases the Muse there.  Tania’s post made me write the comment below:

Love the uses for Pinterest. Wondering what other wild uses might be made of it not intended by its creators, what re-purposes? Could we make a paper-style Pinterests for the classroom? in the hallway? for parents to create, too. Could Pinterest be like a seed packet? How about a mystery gift used one time and then discarded? Could we collect badges together? or pictures of weeds and wildflowers which we assign ours and others’ names to?

I find myself looking at your blog’s background photo and thinking to myself, “That is a much more authentic Pinterest board than Pinterest could ever muster. So why can’t Pinterest be more like it?”

Back to your post, I find all of these “annotation/curation” tools to be great for helping me to process the world, but I also ask myself, “Why?” You answer so ably here and I want to go …differently,too. I am not saying better, just saying further. There is a natural progression from collecting without comment to curating to creating. I think that creating is where I want to be. I want what Pinterest is and what Pinterest does to serve the Muse. That is what my paragraph above dithers about. Just thinking about how so much of what I do is secondary, indirect and adaptive. I get this powerful voice inside me that says, “Don’t just derive, make and thrive.” Of course, the irony is that I am replicating what you have started. For that I thank you, Tania.

I am struck by this progression and would add a bit more by using a Pinterest template from Canva (is that hopelessly derivative or what?)

lurk (1)


Now the final reveal.  I derived these thoughts from the very interesting ideas here.  Sigh.  Is it habitually derivative all the way down?  Commenters are invited to help me out of this quicksand.




  1. // Reply

    Hi Terry, I love the diagram with cur8 4 sełf then others then cr8 but i think that:
    A. It is not a linear progression; it’s messier isn’t it? Sometimes we create for ourselves before curating for others; sometimes our creations themselves are curations for others (so we skip a step we by writing a blogpost that links to others’ ideas but never actually sharing our bookmarks in some other fashion)

    B. the process of curation occurs naturally, doesn’t it? Even if just in our own minds as we absorb ideas from around us. But there is value, of course, in finding ways of keeping it available in more sustainable ways for ourselves and for others

    C. Everything is original and it isn’t… As in, everything we create builds on some other thing, and is unique in some ways but also derivative in others?

    1. // Reply

      Sorry for taking so long to get back to this.

      A. All maps are hyperbolic, aren’t they. They scratch the illegible out, leaving only the trail that has been blazed. Understanding is made not found. In other words the poster is just a checklist, a guideline and not a holy writ. The meaning comes in making our own way. And we are all of the identities you suggest. In fact you assumed that the largest type is the most important. I suggest it, but I am hoping that my assumptions can be consumed by yours. In other words, use it as you will. Thanks for reminding us all that in the end we are each responsible for how ideas are used.

      B. Natural to share? Yes. Natural to add value? Yes. But the greater extent of sharing and value-adding that I envision? No. I think we must attend to and be conscious of the skimming/glossing tendency that seems built into the net. Humans are good at creating noise and superior in inhibiting it in our own minds, but are we good at generating a clear signal, pre-filtered and ready to broadcast. Not really. Language in all its forms is such a slippery customer that it seems easily duped into the noise side of the equation.

      C. If we consider everything outside ourselves as “not ourselves”, if we think of all signals as ‘owned by others and not me’, then nothing is original. I think that understanding is for the most part made, not discovered. Knowledge is uncovered, knowing is made. Constructivist to the core. The uniqueness comes when we do more than internalize what others have said. It comes when we go beyond that to making connections further on in our own big brains AND in the big brains of others AND in the ecobrain that we call nature. Everything has an origin outside of ourselves, but it also can spring anew within from our own unique selves.

      Thanks for the insights and questions. Our mileage may vary, but if it is our mileage honestly gotten at, then I think it is curation.

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