Monday, November 30, 2009

Penance for Keynote Influencers


David Jakes, an excellent speaker who I envy his ability to cut through to the heart of a discussion, shares the following:

And have you considered that individuals in the “echo chamber” might just be the people a larger audience needs to hear? That they might be the leaders, might be the people with the next great idea or ideas, the next leader, the next person to light the way…The process that ISTE has undertaken may not work. Then again, it just might.

While you'll have to read his entire blog entry for the context, I love and hate the idea of the echo chamber. The echo chamber has been around for a long time, and I've been a part of it for quite some time...I'm not sure I'm there because I sought it or because I was dragged into it or what. It is the online community that I've become familiar with ever since I started blogging a few years ago--gee, I should add the year to my resume so I can remember when--and it's amazing that the Chamber endures. To review....
Echo chambers...are places where like-minded people talk to one another, nobody ever changes anyone else's mind and true diversity of opinion is exchanged for an infinite plenitude of ideologically identical communities.
Source: The SALON
The echo chamber reminds me of C.S. Lewis' "The Inner Ring" (read it online in this discussion forum). One of the key ideas one's craving to fit in, to join an inner circle of people that is exclusionary of others, making it all the more desirable to join.
One of the most dominant elements is the desire to be inside the local Ring and the terror of being left out side...Exclusion is no accident; it is the essence...As long as you are governed by that desire you will never get what you want. You are trying to peel an onion: if you succeed there will be nothing left. Until you conquer the fear of being an outsider, an outsider you will remain.

The echo chamber is full of wannabees, full of each of us who wish they could impact the conversation. I have to struggle to NOT want to impact the conversation but rather, to find my own voice...simply, I want to be an outsider who isn't caught up in the jockeying for position. Yet, I'm a human being.

When I consider the ISTE keynote, I'm delighted that ISTE had the imagination to embrace the conversation, to focus us all on the discussion. I find Scott's reference to who's in the lead slightly distasteful (and funny enough to tickle my sense of humor), even as I send out an occasional tweet about how great it would be to hear Chris Lehmann present...would it be inappropriate to mention that I have an email from Scott asking for me to support Chris' bid? And, given that I'm interested in no less than influencing the conversation...I have (once).

I'm as guilty as any other in desiring to be part of the "inner ring," to influence the conversation in the echo chamber, to hear my voice come back to me.

Accept this as my act of contrition. . .
I confess to my twitter followers, and to you my fellow bloggers, that I have sinned through my own tweeting and blogging, in what I have done and in what I have failed to do, and I ask all of you to link back to this blog entry so I may expiate my sins through blogged transparency.
Well, it didn't quite work (or did it?).

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1 comment:

Dan McGuire said...

I'll say a prayer to St. Gerald Bracey for your redemption.

Say three Hail Smartinez's and sin no more, my son.

Genuine Leadership #4: Gratitude