Reading Joyce’s Dubliners With Imaginary Friends

Joyce in English and ItalianDear Readers

As you know, I am curious and entranced with electronically mediated communications, relationships, work and learning. You may NOT know that I’ve never read James Joyce beyond snippets. So when the always amazing Barbara Ganley suggested I join in this February project reading Joyce’s Dubliners with a group of people – some of whom I know, some of whom I’ve met and some of whom are total mysteries to me, I said, sure, why not!

Chris Lott is our distributed from the side ring leader, helping us stake out our loosely defined territory. Reading Joyce’s Dubliners … Join In the Fun! – Ye Olde Motley Readers

The tag is #motleyread

If you want to listen instead of read, check this out.

There are plans afoot to use some postcard art, paper and snail mail. That inspired me to stop at a used book stall here in Rome, where I am working for the week, and find a copy of Joyce’s Dubliners in Italian. Which of course, I can’t read Italian. I was going to cut it up and make post cards for each chapter, but now I’m having pangs about cutting up a book.

I am two short stories in, still chewing. I won’t be posting my reading log here on the blog, but instead either in fragments, tagged out in cyberspace, on paper (to be scanned when I get home) or just in my mind. But if you want to read along, join us!

Why Networks Matter (emergency or not)

Watch this video from John Engle, someone I know peripherally from the Open Space facilitators network, about the work he is doing in Haiti, post earthquake. John’s organization, Haiti Partners, is not a relief organization. They work long term on education. Hear how they are reframing their work, tapping their networks and learning what to do in a difficult, emergent situation. Learning. Connecting. Shifting. Adapting.

If you need a place to donate, consider organizations like Haiti Partners – not just today, but in the coming months and years. Invest in a child’s education.

2 Weeks After Earthquake «

Watch the other videos from the past two weeks. Let’s learn together.

Facilitation Card Decks

Edit: February, 2014. If you are interested in facilitation decks, see also these posts:

Edit: January 6, 2012 – Just out, this great deck on process patterns. – I’ll be blogging about them soon, but want to attach this URL to this blog post as it seems to get a lot of hits!

I love things you can touch and play with when facilitating face to face. This is probably why I was so attracted to the “drawing on walls” involved in graphic facilitation, kinesthetic modeling and just plain PLAY as a way to work together.

I have a stack of different card decks that have been created for various purposes that I use. I wanted to share some of them, and find out what you use and how. First a disclaimer. I know many of the people who produced these sets. They have not paid me to talk about them. I disclose below which sets I got for free.


IDEO Method Cards
I’ve been using these cards for years and in almost every way except as design method cards. I use the front side with the images to get people talking to each other or jumpstart brainstorming or stalled conversations. For introductions and starters, I spread the cards on the table(s) and ask people to pick a card that they are attracted to. I don’t tell them why. Then we do introductions with the cards. Sometimes I simply ask people to introduce themselves by saying why they were attracted to the card. To  tie to the theme of the meeting, I’ll ask them to  say something about the topic using the image. This requires more creativity and often more laughter – so if you need to break the “formality” barrier, the laughter is helpful.

When I need to help a group jump out of a rut or jumpstart thinking, we pull out the images and do word association just to get the mental juices going. Again, fun, funny and it works.

The cards themselves are expensive ($49 USD). You used to be able find them online to download and print. The old download on the Stanford site doesn’t seem to work. Boo hoo! Or get creative and make your own out of magazine pictures, Flickr creative commons images or your own pictures. Method Cards – Case Studies – IDEO , some ideas on Slideshare, and Boing Boing review of the cards.

KM Method Cards
Patrick Lambe and the folks at Straitsknowledge created a deck of cards to introduce people to knowledge management and knowledge sharing methods. the frotn of the card has a little drawing, and the backs give an overview of either a method, approach or tool. I have not used them many times yet, but we’ve used them similar to the Social Media card game (which itself is a great free resource) or as a rotating conversation starter on KS methods.  Key terms are highlighted on the cards and you can tell I’m an online gal. I keep wanting to click on them to a hyperlink! They have a tips and user community site at

What’s Your Story
These larger format, beautiful cards by Corban & Blair are very simple. They have story starter questions on each card designed to help people enter into conversations with each other.  Pretty.  Straightforward.

The Organizational Zoo Character Cards
The cards and the book from Arthur Shelley us animals as as a way to metaphorically look at roles and behaviors in the workplace. These involve humor and a little bit of risk – which makes them interesting. I have only played with them in  small, informal groups and have not used them with clients. I need to find an opportunity. This one again has a user community, known as the Zoo Ambassadors. (I was given a set as a trade for Digital Habitats from Arthur!)

Free the Genie
Colorful and related to the IDEO cards, these from IdeaChampions all have the same front – so no visual stimulation beyond the bright colors. The back of each card has an element or idea relating to “attend,” “intend,” suspend,”extend” and “connect. At the bottom there is a provocative quote. Again, I’ve just played with these, but I can imagine their use in strategic planning, review and brainstorming. The questions could be used as jumpstarters or ice breakers. The quotes are what I think make them unique.

The Mingle
New on the scene for me are these card sets from Parallax Consulting. (I was given two sets, one to look at and one to give away, which I shall do next week in Rome!) These are conceptually similar to the cards that stimulate stories and conversations, but they have a particular structure to use with circulating groups of up to 20 where people ask each other the question and record the answer. Later the answers are used as a way to introduce each other. The card sets are much less costly ($12.00 USD/set) which is a good thing because you write on them and would need a new set each time. The nice thing about this is that people can take their card away with them to remember the activity.  From a visual standpoint they are not about the visuals and all about the text. There are five different thematic sets, plus ideas for different applications. Again, I haven’t used these yet and hope to do so soon.

There are also thematic sets, like the clever US centric Media Heroes from Seattle’s Reclaim the Media project (though I struggle to read the tiny text!)

Do you use similar cards decks? Which ones? How do you use them?

Edit: March 10/14

Belated Reflections from “Journalism that Matters” PNW

Earlier this month  I attended  the Journalism that Matters Pacific Northwest gathering here in Seattle. With the theme “Re-Imagining News and Community in the Northwest,” I was given the chance to stop, listen and reflect on journalism, my community and me. A chance to look at the news ecology.

I am not a journalist. At most, this blog is simply a reporting of my thinking, my being, working and learning in the world. However, from 1981 – 1989 I worked for a news organization in a variety of roles, close to, but never as a journalist. That foray taught me a lot about broadcast journalism, both the highs and the lows. I started when broadcast journalism was still playing a central role in local civic participation. I left when it was plunging towards “news as a commodity to sell advertising.” From true dedication of broadcast time and resources to community issues, to selling public service announcements essentially as advertising with advertisers’ needs driving the decision making. It was bleak.  At that moment, my disillusionment was profound. I think in many ways I turned my back on journalism because the “business” had, in my estimation, burned both me and my community. My eyes could not see the journalism in broadcast journalism. I returned to only reading the newspaper.

At the gathering, I had the chance to turn back again and face journalism, but with a different constellation of people who are part of and interested in journalism. This was the 14th Journalism that Matters gathering, an ongoing series of conversations that grapple with journalism in an entirely changed context than I knew it in the 1980’s. Best of all, they are filled with people who remind me of the best of what I saw early in my career.

The Open Space notes from the sessions can speak best to the range and outcomes of the conversations. They ranged from free thinking brainstorming to concrete action and next steps. I’m perhaps rather distant from the journalistic steps, but I can offer my reflections. So with that long preamble, here I go.

Bev Trayner, Josien Kapma and David Wilcox, people from my network, tweeted a question to me right at the start of the conference, asking about the role of social reporting in journalism. That elicited some Tweet based questions of “what is social reporting.” So already the meaning making had begun. For those who still want to know, according to David Wilcox, social reporting is “an emerging role, set of skills and philosophy around how to mix journalism, facilitation and social media to help people develop conversations and stories for collaboration.” (See the social reporting wiki for more.)

I suspect citizen journalism is a form of social reporting. For me the question is about transparency and how one chooses to be a social reporter. Is it as someone trying to objectively cover an event? Editorialize? Synthesize? Focus on particular outputs? Some of these transgress traditional journalist  practices and perhaps even ethics. My conclusion is that social reporting sits on the continuum that includes journalism, but often moves outside of its bounds and becomes more subjective than objective. If that is what is needed, that’s useful. Ethically it suggests we should disclose our intentions and agendas as social reporters!

When I did not have enough background or experience to actively participate in conversations, I focused on …guess what… some social reporting, picking up comments that resonated for me and sent them out over Twitter. I think I disclosed that these were just snippets I appreciated. Hm, I had better go back and check! I blogged a couple of times (here and here), but I kept finding myself drawn back to the overall event Twitter stream and to the interactions to my Tweets both from my network and people outside of that network.

I wondered what a summary of those Tweets would reveal. I have captured my tweets and, more interesting to me, the responses and retweets (RTs) from others. You can find them here –> JTMTwitterSummary if you are interested in look at them. I wish I had the time and attention to analyze them, but I don’t. My quick take aways are:

  • surprise at how many people found the snippets interesting enough to respond or retweet
  • the large number of new followers I gained over that weekend — and I still wonder why they  chose to follow me instead of simply following the #jtmpnw tag. I’ll leave that musing for others.
  • My favorite tweet did get retweeted: RT @NancyWhite: Journalism can convene the conversations that help make meaning across the network. It doesn’t have to DEFINE them. #jtmpnw

Themes and Streams
Finally, there were a few themes that I connected with in the Sunday Open Space sessions around the role of games and fun in journalism, “slow news” and journalism and global health. From my perspective, both of these show us that journalism can play a very important role in a networked world that is, in many ways, different from an earlier hub and spoke role predicated on broadcasting and printing.

Games, Fun and Journalism
journalism mattersAka, “Spinach and Ice Cream,” this conversation started with some reflections about our beliefs about what news people “should” be consuming and what they “like” to consume. Wary of stereotypes, and wondering who makes these judgments, I kept quiet for a while. But I was deeply amused by the “spinach/ice cream dichotomy” offered. Hey, I like ’em both.

More seriously, it is interesting to think about game theory and the aspects of games that engage us.  Can they foster community engagement about “what matters?” There were some great tweets and the start of a conversation about this, but attention is fractured and scarce. The themes slip through my mind and my fingers and I let them go.  But there is something here…

Slow News
Michele Ferriere caught many people’s imagination with the comparison of slow news to slow food. The localness. The savoring. This one comes down to a line from the Chinook Observer’s Cate Gable: “Slow news is like slow food — it takes a community.” I wonder if networks are more likely containers for fast news, and communities for slow. I have no idea. Something to chew on….

Global Health
Sanjay Bhatt, the session convenor, asked “how do we leverage Seattle know-how for entrepreneurial solutions to global basic needs?” My response was that journalism can help us convene the conversations that help make meaning across the network. It doesn’t have to DEFINE them. So the next step might be to visualize the network of people interested in global health news and began weaving the network by raising issues, convening conversations and reporting those conversations. I tweeted out many resource URLs from this session if you are interested.

Journalism and Networks
From these musings, my key take away was that journalism has a role in network weaving. So many of the networks emerge, they aren’t built per se. They are powerful if we are aware of them and use them. We can notice them. Amplify thing in them that have value. Dampen the things that don’t work.

In community activism, issues need both internal (private) facing spaces and external facing spaces. Journalism can weave across those external faces to see patterns of civic engagement and make them visible.

Monday Video: Taylor Mali on Teaching

Taylor Mali: What teachers make | Video on