Jan 03 2008

I’m not a whale

Published by at 7:29 am under online interaction,social media

phytoplanktonI pretty much ignored work, blogs, and Twitter over the holidays to be more present with my family and to give my brain a break from thinking about work all the time. (By-product of a work-a-holic practice.) I did go through my Twitter contacts and accept all the requests to follow. Then I made my feed public. It was the “Return of the Plankton.” The convergence of those two things put me over the edge. The flow from Twitter was more than I could digest. I lost the feeling of intimacy of connecting with friends and friendly strangers.

Then I read Jim Benson’s recent post on Twitter, Seeds of a Meme. And I started nodding.

Twitter has been called a conversation ecosystem. It is actually part of a larger conversation ecosystem that includes .. well .. everything. Blogging, Facebook, email, chats at a coffee shop, daydreams.I see Twitter as a plankton layer-level of the ecosystem. Every animal on earth does not need to eat plankton, but without plankton we’d all be in a world of hurt. “Everyone twittering” seems like an absolute nightmare.

Everyone will not be twittering.  Everyone will not be blogging.

But conversations will start in one medium and move to another and then another.  From Twitter to blogs to mainstream media to public discourse.  Twitter and its successors will seed the conversations of the future.

White filter feeding anemone

Spot on, Jim.

From a practice perspective, I have to trim back down the number of people who follow me. I’m not sure I care if my feed is public or not, but it does act as a filter on requests to follow and discovery of new people. It’s not that I’m against discovery, I just can’t handle the volume.

I am not a whale, a filter feeding white anemone, damselfish, nor a basking shark. I do not eat plankton as my primary diet. My form does not have enough of those feathery things, with large surface areas to filter in all the phytoplankton. For my phytoplankton (Twitter) is seasoning to the rest.

5 responses so far

5 Responses to “I’m not a whale”

  1. Jim Bensonon 03 Jan 2008 at 2:18 pm

    What if it’s chocolate plankton?

  2. Nancy Whiteon 03 Jan 2008 at 2:41 pm

    Well if it is chocolate plankton, then we have to reexamine everything!

  3. John F. Williamson 04 Jan 2008 at 1:16 am

    Like the sun coming up, our western culture is slowly awakening to the notion that “ecosystem” is a more useful description of our relationships than the one-way Aristotelian classification schemes that have dominated the last few dozen centuries. Science trades “food web” for “food chain” and people publish as well as consume. Maybe we can care for each other and for our environment better when we trade the system of subclasses for more egalitarian networks. Which is more important? Plankton or rocks? What a silly question!

    Reexamine everything! What a great idea!

  4. Nancy Whiteon 04 Jan 2008 at 6:52 am

    John! The guy who made the Phytoplankton movie! Very cool that the link brought you here. I had to smile because my training in University was in Phycology and I do have a love for all things algae (despite my protestations of not being a filter feeder!)

    Despite living in the Pacific NW for over 25 years, I’ve never dived here. The clip of your show was enticing…

  5. John F. Williamson 05 Jan 2008 at 12:32 pm

    The internet is an amazing ecosystem in itself. It lets me know when someone publicly mentions “Return of the Plankton” courtesy of google alerts. I’m glad you enjoyed what you saw. I also produce a TV series about what’s underwater in the PNW, “SEA-Inside: Pacific Northwest.” Check it out if you have cable. See: http://SEA-Inside.org for more info, where it’s playing, etc.

    I’m just beginning to discover some of the bazillions of blogs out there. Overwhelming. It was fun to discover your surreal skipping over the tops of the trees of reality.

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States.
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