Random Thoughts

What Does It Mean To Disconnect?

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I have been pondering this question for some time now. What does it mean to disconnect? We all say we need to. We all believe it’s healthy for us (any research out there?). What does it truly mean to disconnect.

Here are some scenarios I have been playing through my head:

  • I frequently go for runs with my wife. I have my phone strapped to my arm and it tracks my run via GPS and posts it for me and others in my running social-network to view and encourage me. Am I disconnected?
  • I went for a drive today listened to the radio, Sirius Satellite, and used the cars built-in GPS Navigation system to get to where I was going with live weather and traffic updates. Am I disconnected?
  • I worked out for an hour today with my phone strapped to my arm and the video of my workout pumping through my ear-buds. Am I disconnected?
  • If you listen to music while you run are you disconnected?
  • If you watch TV while you workout (drove pass a gym today that had them connected to the treadmill) are you disconnected?
  • I’m sitting here in my very quiet house eating dinner, no TV, no radio, just me my cat and this blog post. Am I disconnected?

I don’t know the answer to these but I am becoming increasingly frustrated with people saying we need to disconnect and then they turn around and use their built in GPS to navigate home. I know, I know…that’s different! Or is it?

The problem no longer has to do with disconnecting or the amount of screen time one gets. What the conversation I think needs to turn to is a simple one really.

Are you consuming, using or creating with technology?

What we really mean when we say “Kids need to have balance” or “I need to disconnect” isn’t really about disconnecting, I would argue, but rather about being less of a consumer.

TV and radio started it…so really it’s their fault (if you want someone to blame!). All you could do with that mass communication was consume. It turned us all into a bunch of consumers. Sitting around our radios and our television sets consuming information, relaxing, and just being. As far back as I can remember in my schooling years there were calls for a limit on the amount of TV we were suppose to watch…all of which is consuming.

So I want to have a different conversation. Sure we still need to disconnect in that out in nature, reflective zen sort of way. Totally for that.

But I also want to have the conversation that we start looking how we interact with technology.

How much time do I spend consuming vs creating?

To me this starts to get to the root of really what we are talking about.

1% Internet Rule

The 1% rule states that the number of people who create content on the Internet represents approximately 1% (or less) of the people actually viewing that content. For example, for every person who posts on a forum, generally about 99 other people are viewing that forum but not posting.

Let’s start with this. That approximately only 1% of people are actively creating content on the web today. In 2012 the BBC released a report saying the 1% Rule was no longer the case but I can not find anywhere in their report where they talk about the 1% creators. They talk about Lurkers becoming Contributors which basically means “Liking” a post or commenting on an update in Facebook, A Tweet or a ReTweet, or even a +1 on Google+. The article talks about participation not creation.

I have started asking this question when I present to the educators in the room. It’s a simple question really.

“How many of you take things from the web to use in your lessons and classroom?” Almost always 100%

“How many of you take the things you have created and share them on the web for others to use?” Almost always roughly 10%. Which falls short of the 80/20 Rule:

This can be compared with the similar rules known to information science, such as the 80/20 rule known as the Pareto principle, that 20 percent of a group will produce 80 percent of the activity, however the activity may be defined.

That saddens me really…..and then I think back to how much time we spend with technology simply consuming…we have created a technology consuming culture.

So what if we took a step back and we started evaluating the time we spend with technology on a consuming vs creating scale? Creation is the top of Bloom’s Taxonomy, creating is an active mind at work, creators/innovators/problem-solvers are what this world needs. If we look at our interactions with technology through this lens we see something different.

  • A student building a world in Mindcraft?
  • A student playing Fruit Ninja?
  • A student blogging?
  • A student reading Facebook updates?
  • A student spending hours programing a robot?
  • A student spending hours playing Madden Football?

Let’s take a step back and look at what we ask students to do in our classrooms. How much time in a given day do students create/innovate/problem-solve vs how much time do they consume?

What if we changed this?

What if we created….creators?

What if we allowed students to create things……anything really?

What if we quit blaming technology for “being connected all the time” and started to define the time as consuming vs creating?

My problem might be that I am a 1%er. I should track it but I probably end up with a reverse 80/20 rule. Where I create 80% of the time and consume 20% of the time.

Take some time to look at your own habits and those of the people around you and see if you notice the same thing. Spending time with technology is not a bad thing…it is how you spend that time that counts. Spend it wisely and it can be just as good as doing anything else.

Photo Credit: photosteve101 via Compfight cc

I started blogging in 2005 and found it such a powerful way to reflect and share my thinking about technology, this generation, and how we prepare students for their future not our past.


  1. To me, disconnection has nothing to do with technology it has to do with solitude. In an over stimulated world, we need to be quiet and experience solitude, being alone with our thoughts. That might mean music as conduit, maybe it’s silence but I don’t know if that’s a requirement. I think it’s the ability for us to regroup, gather ourselves to be able to return to a world that demands our attention. We can all do that in different ways. Perhaps writing a blog post is a form of disconnection and solitude. I like your question, but I’d hate to think there’s a definitive answer other than the idea of being reflective.

    • Jeff Utecht Reply

      I like the idea of solitude and maybe that’s what I’m trying to say?

      I run with no music for the solitude of running. When I first started running I ran with music…because that’s what you’re suppose to do. But my wife, who is so good with being with her own thoughts, never did. So I stopped and a whole world opened up. I solve more problems, I’m more reflective, I’m more grounded in that moment of solitude….but I’m still connected.

      In the car when my wife is driving we don’t listen to the radio….solitude….but I’m still connected

      I wonder if you can have solitude with music or while doing something else. Do you really need to be along to have solitude?

      I bet you find solitude on the golf course.

      I have no problem with solitude and I do think we need to find time for it. I wonder where it is in our schools? Do we give students time just to be?

      There is this connection debate though that is still nagging me. If we use that time connected to be productive (solitude being part of that), then does that change our view of the connection?

  2. I was thinking of “disconnect” more as disconnecting from the network that always keeps us connected with our friends, colleagues, acquaintances, etc. That network that says, “Well, you’re online (or have your phone on, or…) so you must read this (hear me) NOW! To me, “disconnected” is that feeling of actually being inaccessible in a world that now almost (at least it seems so) makes that obsolete, even if that inaccessibility is only for a week, a day, an hour…

  3. I hadn’t thought of all those connections. There are so many… When I think of being “over-connected” I am recalling a time not long ago when I felt stress arriving in Melbourne and only being able to sms with my phone with its Indonesian sim card. And I recall a couple of days later thinking how good it actually felt not being reliant on fb, twitter, emails… It wasn’t like I had nobody to connect with. After all there were people around to talk to face to face.

    I don’t think we can blame technology for “being connected all the time” any more than we can blame sugar, butter and chocolate, etc for being overweight. It’s the priority that we put on the time sitting at the computer or on the phone as opposed to – in my case – the time I could be spending, painting, sewing, gardening, exploring, playing cards, grooming the cat ….

    But your blog post has given me much to ponder on.

  4. It’s possible that our brains have become attuned to consuming due the emphasis of a consumer-driven society. I tend to think that consumption is the norm. Do we now have an expectation that we have a right to consume without responsibility to create and give back in return?
    Great post that has certainly provoked some interesting reflection…

  5. Jeff, great post. What hit home with me was your mention of consuming vs. creating – because I thought about how it applied to kids in school.

    I see kids having less time every day to create in school. They are not even consuming very much, really – not anything close to what your chart indicates for the general public

    I would love to see another chart indicating computer usage for children in school. It would include your categories, plus a couple more, like high stakes testing and program prep for high stakes testing – which I believe would dominate the chart. I wonder if “creating content” would even equal 1% these days.

  6. Hi Jeff,

    Thanks for writing the post. It has certainly given me some ideas as I try to move our school forward into allowing more connection as opposed to disconnecting. I think I need to work the ‘creation’ idea into more of my conversations with teachers.

    This quote from your post really caused me to pause and reflect – “Let’s take a step back and look at what we ask students to do in our classrooms. How much time in a given day do students create/innovate/problem-solve vs how much time do they consume?” My answer, nowhere near enough!!

    Dean, your comment about solitude is very true. I think it is very difficult for people to achieve true solitude because of all the connections that Jeff mentioned in his post. Maybe we need to work harder for it. I think I get solitude when it is me and nature – skiing, swimming, hiking.

    Thanks Jeff and Dean for making me think.

    • Jeff Utecht Reply

      Appreciate your reflection and feedback. I agree that being in nature no matter what the activity brings about solitude.

  7. onepercentyellow Reply

    Great post! I have been pondering this of late as I deleted my facebook account (to the horror of my mother). I destroyed this digital space because the connection I felt there no longer seemed authentic. I took a moment to consider the ways I was consuming/creating and what result I thought I was achieving. Did I really feel more connected with my sister because I knew she and the kids had been skiing all weekend? Perhaps, but when I thought about the last time I had been a member of the direct audience instead of the general audience I realized that I had not spoken to/emailed/direct messaged her in more than a month. I didn’t need to. I knew what was going on.

    Consuming the lives of my friends is very different from sharing their lives. My general posts on my FB wall, even if they mention people by name, summoning them to my wall to approve a post, is not the same as sitting down to make a skype call or write an email. While the web is a place where conversations can happen. it’s also a place of tiny broadcast stations where I’m constructing Channel onepercentyellow… tune in next week for the latest adventures!

    I think that you’ve really got something with this consume/create split, but I think the disconnect comes when we are consuming our relationships rather than (co)creating them.

    • Jeff Utecht Reply

      I like that idea of co-creating relationships…..something for me to chew on today. Thanks!

    • “Consuming the lives of my friends is very different from sharing their lives”. Well said.

  8. Being new to this world of blogging (as a contributor and creator of it, that is), I thank you for this post and the replies. I immediately thought of this when I was reading your post, Jeff: the argument that people make for the “need to disconnect” seems to be not for solitude as Dean mentions but more for the need to have human relationships as Wendy begins to mention. I recall reading an article by Garrison Keillor years back when cell phones were just getting to be the big thing and his subtle ironic tone of people’s never having to feel alone even if they’re on a plane flying away because the phone is in their hand, texting someone else, with the undertone that they’re missing out on experiencing the people who are actually there right next to them. So, I wonder if the concern, particularly for our younger generation, is on their lack of social skills – human-to-human interaction – without the barrier (safety?) of the electronic device.

    As I mentioned, I’m new to this blogging world and categorize myself as a lurker; however, that’s not for an unwillingness to contribute nor a challenge in creativity. It’s simply the fear of the unknown and the unfamiliar: ignorance can really weigh heavily on a newbie at anything. What I mean is, as we think about our students, perhaps it’s not that we’re not giving them enough time to create but that we ourselves are quite unsure how to have them be innovators in this growing world of cyberspace. As I’m being challenged to familiarize myself with something foreign, something that makes me feel vulnerable (as you mention in your Introduction of Reach, Jeff, in recalling your first blogging experience with the creation of the Thinking Stick), I can’t help but believe that the 1% will see an increase, as you – the 1%ers – continue to pave the way for people to be brave enough to learn how to contribute indeed. It’s the tree falling in the forest argument, isn’t it: are people being creative if they don’t share? I’d still like to have faith that people are creating even if not publicly.

    Last wondering: do the kids (or we adults) have to depend on technology to be creative? I do wonder.

    Thank you for sharing, and for givng me a new challenge in my thinking (and doing).

  9. For me “disconnect” is related to work and life balance. It’s not so much disconnecting from technology that’s an issue, it’s more the disconnection from the demands of work. Sometimes the technology is the “interrupting connection” that keeps my life “out-of-balance”. At least one full week a year I find myself off the grid for the purpose of rest and relaxation. Not so much disconnection on purpose, but my preferred travel destinations have incredibly high connection costs (international roaming!). For 7-8 days a year I’m figuratively disconnected from technology. I don’t miss the phone, iPad, Chromebook, etc….Because I work in a technology rich environment, virtual disconnection is really a way for me to add some balance to my life. Now the real challenge for me is to do so on a daily basis. Separation of my “connected” work life from my “connected” personal life is my goal. I’ll let you know if I figure it out!

  10. Jeff, these are truly wonderful thoughts and you have really hit on something I have been working on myself. How do we get more producers? How do we go about getting more people to share? I recently joined #etmooc and I do think the MOOC environment helps as you feel more comfortable sharing. I find, I spend more time in a day “commenting” and will only allow one blog post for myself. Wierd, I hope not, I’m trying to learn and I’m sick of being a lurker. So if I read your whole post, I will comment, even if I place your tweet, google + post or your blog post in diigo. I will comment and take time to decide what to say. Today I learned that the definition of being “disconnected” really is too broad. Escpecially in today’s society where even in my own home, my husband is on his smart phone, my daughter on her kindle and me on my laptop, we find this actually “connected” for us as well are all in the same room! I guess it’s all prespective. I really appreciated the visual and it makes me sad that I spent years in the lurker category. I can honestly say, that to “create” to express and then to share” is what I am coming to find to be the essence of education not only for my students, but myself as well. Thanks as I think/ I know your post will keep me reflecting and working on producing and sharing more. Oh, and “Thank you”!!!! You are in the 1% and I can not thank you for all that you share as I have been learning from you for years.

  11. The question “What does it truly mean to disconnect.” is ambiguous (intentionally so?) without stating who the connected parties are. In the responses so far there are at least four possibilities:
    A – person to the internet as an information, or entertainment source. for purposes of discussion gps counts because in consumer devices that requires a net connection;
    B – person to other people via the internet, or other networking system;
    C – person to other people, unmediated by electronics;
    D – person to the natural world.

    As a first approximation, I’d say as we become more dependent on A our connection D becomes weaker. Notice though, that even if one is “truly disconnected” via A, that does not automatically induce a greater connection in any of the other three types. Connection requires a deliberate choice resulting in some kind of action. That deliberate, intentional, action is what makes it valuable. This is why when someone persists in paying attention what is going on in their hand rather than what is going on with the person next to them, it feels so insulting. The unmediated interaction (connection) with the person is less valued than the mediated ephemeral connection. To add to the insult, the mediated interaction is usually asynchronous, and so could easily wait.

    I think “consuming” is a wrong metaphor. After something has been consumed, it is gone. I can consume all the articles, blog posts, games and videos I want. When I’m done, they are still there–they haven’t been consumed at all. What *has* been consumed is my time. The time I spent is gone. There’s no getting it back.

    So I propose a different question: What is worth consuming your time? Implicit in the article is the idea that contributing something for others to use (not consume) is of some worth. Anything else?

  12. I liked this blog Jeff as it sparked off lots of useful connections for me. The name of my COETAIL blog is Connections, so it seems appropriate that my first blog reply is on the topic of connecting and disconnecting.

    There was an episode of the “Twilight Zone” in the remake of the series that had a story about a man in the future who disconnected from the entire socio/techno network as an act of rebellion. He seemed to be seeking the solitude that Dean Shareski was referring to in the even more over stimulating world of the future. I could relate to that and cheered him on.

    The Walden schools movement in America seeks to develop “unplugged schools” that focus on hands on activities without technology. I get that too, but I certainly value the energy, the collaboration, the stimulation of social media connections and would hate to give that up in the school environment I work in.

    The Connections Project I am working on at SAS is attempting to transform the library into an innovation center where tech, literacy and other coaches work with students and teachers. The focus of libraries is moving from simply accessing information to creating information.

    I agree with Mark Ahlness that the key point you seem to drive home well is the issue of consuming vs. creating. We spend far too much time in our schools teaching kids to be consumers and not nearly enough time teaching them how to be innovators and creators. From what I can tell so far, the chief aim of 21st Century Learning is not the adoption of technology per se, but instead the adoption of problem solving and creation. Inevitably, in order to create, we have to make connections, from our neural network to the world outside of our bodies. Connections with the internet and technology simply serve as tools along the way.

  13. I think disconnecting is to do more with human-to-human direct interaction vs human-to-human via device interaction. I think there are certain activities that you can engage in (even without the use of technology) that by their very nature, mean that you are “disconnected”.

    I also think that it is the incorrect term. We want students to be balanced. To have connected time and disconnected time. But what we really care about is not whether they are connected or disconnected electronically. What we care about is whether they are interacting with other human beings with whom they share a physical space.

    When I go for a run, it doesn’t matter whether I’m listening to music via my iPod or not, I’m not going to be communicating with anyone else because I’m physically incapable of doing so! I could be connected or disconnected electronically but I am always disconnected in terms of personal relationships in my physical sphere.

    I think it is also possible to remain connected when using technology. Surely watching the latest episode of The Walking Dead with friends or playing a computer game together with other people who are physically in the room with you, means that although you are connected to technology you are still connected with those people who no doubt you are interacting with in real time and in a shared physical space. [That may be the longest sentence ever.]

    Your post raised the issues of consuming vs creating. I’m not sure this is linked to the idea of balance and connectivity. But then again, may be it is just semantics!

    • Dean Sharski Reply

      I actually disagree about this being device related. I think it can, but not exclusively. If we think of connecting, as being aware and involved with many ideas and people, it isn’t about devices at all.

      I think the fallacy of digital dualism is still an issue in this conversation. It’s a concept I’ve been grabbing with lately.


      I’d encourage exploring this idea in the context of connecting and disconnecting. In essence, digital dualism suggests that online and offline are different but this idea is being challenged.

  14. Pingback: Setting My COETAIL Goals | On The Edge

  15. Jeff, what a brilliant piece – and what an important point.

    And, I would argue, needs to be made not only in the realm of technology but in all areas of education. Are we educating students to be creators of literature? Creators of mathematics? Creators of science? Or are we just raising them to be consumers of such areas?

    I think it’s also worth emphasizing a point you make early in the piece: what if we as teachers ask ourselves how much create & contribute? What if we made some effort to move ourselves closer to the 1%?

    Imagine if every teacher in the world created just ONE great activity, project, learning tool, etc. each month ..how much richer the learning opportunities would be for all our students.

    …hmmm, I guess I’ve got my new year’s resolution all worked out!

    • Well said; ‘if every teacher in the world created just ONE great activity, project, learning tool, etc. each month ..how much richer the learning opportunities would be for all our students’

  16. The first thought that comes to mind when hearing the word “disconnecting” would definitley be the act of physically turning off my phone, ipod, computer, etc. and going outside to a park or beach to take time to clear my head and get away from technology. However, being a college student with mulitiple online classes and assingments, it seems impossible to truly disconnect from technology and the world of global connections it has created. I would have to agree that society should begin to change their mindset of limiting/eliminating time spent using technology to your view of “creating” and contributing to society through technology. Great post that has me questioning my contributions, or lack thereof, to society.

  17. Hey Jeff thanks so much for this post and thanks for sparking so many great comments as well. This is something I’ve really been tossing around for a long time now. Consume vs. Create; and particularly with technology since that’s always been my focus. I recently blogged again along similar lines, because while I’m all for getting students (and adults) to create more (then hopefully share), I’m now thinking about another “C” word and that’s contribute.

    We all have such power to create things of tremendous impact; whether that be for a colleague that really needs some help or the students sitting in front of us in a classroom. Our power is so much more broad than that now. It’s almost overwhelming yet at the same time I feel it’s a responsibility I want to tackle full force.

    Here’s the link to my post: http://goo.gl/vhSXT

  18. Margriet Faber Reply

    Hi Jeff,
    My first reaction to the title of your post was “…living in Angola”. I am often disconnected but only sometimes out of choice. My internet is slow and often down, we have blackouts, the pay-as-you-go phone cards run out too quickly with WIFI enabled and my classroom’s WIFI is hampered by the metal walls and roof. (Very handy for sticking things on the wall with magnets though!)

    Apart from sharing unit planners and movies, I belong to the consumers when it comes to the internet. So only 1% of users are creators, isn’t that just as well? As I’m trying to create systems to make sense of the amount of info zooming past I can’t image what it would be like if 100% of the consumers were also creators. I don’t think this necessarily means there is a lack of innovators and creators, or a lack of people using higher order thinking skills. I like to think that people everywhere create, innovate and share. They are just not doing it online (yet).

    • Jeff Utecht Reply

      Sure there are all types of ways to be a creator….and I think we need more of them everywhere…online and offline. I just often hear people say they need to disconnect for awhile when really what they mean is stop consuming. I don’t know if stop consuming is the same as disconnecting…not anymore anyway.

  19. As this dialouge is so easily fragmented when the ‘c’ words are mentioned, the key to disconnecting is connecting with the natural world.
    The resonance created by social media can fill all other voids of connection except the seratonin released by time in nature (be a city park or mountain top) It is that connection that develops our kiddies into whole people.
    Louv has tip top current data in ‘The Nature Principal’

    Great post, bang on!

    Blog post on the issue: http://thefreshclassroom.blogspot.ca/2012/04/in-our-connected-world-what-has.html?m=1

    • Jeff Utecht Reply

      Thanks Paul,

      So if I’m out hiking and use a GPS is that OK?
      What about listening to music?
      What about carrying a cell phone?
      How about a kindle reader?

      If I hiked with these things would I still be disconnected in your eyes?

  20. Hi Jeff,

    I read recently that you and wife are settling well back in Seattle.

    The dichotomy between being a consumer and a creator raises very interesting questions. I agree that creating new content gives you a sense of purpose and fulfillment that is superior to passively consuming information but I never feel like I am wasting time when I am reading a good book, listening to a high quality podcast or watching a great movie.

    That brings me back to thinking about Sherry Turkle’s citation of Shakespeare’s quote that “we are consumed by that which we are nourished by”. If our use of technology to consume or produce enriches our pursuit of goals to have healthy, happy, creative lives within supportive communities as lifelong learners then that’s fantastic. If we find that we do not have the self control to turn off our tethered devices to daydream in solitude for a while then maybe it’s not so healthy. I have often thought it would be a good idea to have some sort of technology sabbath on a weekly basis to make sure I was the master of my gadgets rather than the other way round. I haven’t done this yet!

    Everyone is different. Some people’s passions are to create new music, literature, movies, software, art or ideas so they are going to enjoy creating more than consuming. Let’s not forget about the curators or tastemakers such as the late British DJ John Peel who built his career and reputation on obsessively discovering and championing new bands out of tens of thousands of records, CDs and demo tapes that were sent to him.

    Consuming content with a purpose can become creative especially when it leads to further debate and remixing.

    It’s also worth noting that there is a big push to transform IT education in the UK to include more creative development after Eric Schmidt lamented the lack of coding that was taught in British schools, which was echoed by the games industry. They were worried that UK kids were merely learning how to become passive users of office software. The new draft UK national curriculum wants to change ICT into Computing and has a big emphasis on creating content through coding and remixing.

    Good luck with your life in the US. I’m moving back to my home country this summer after 9 years overseas and look forward to trying out some of your ideas with students in the UK.

    Best wishes,


  21. What an insightful post. And the comments get even better. I agree with Dean – the first poster, though. It’s all about solitude – and turning off your phone.

    I’d love to disconnect. I’ve been looking at cabin retreats that have no electrical outlets. There’s so many out there – just need to find a long weekend!

  22. This post got me thinking about my own habits Jeff- as you mentioned at the end of the post

    What I found myself focusing on was the “in between time”- that time in between lessons, or when students are working on an activity that doesn’t require me to be hovering over them- and that time during my prep and after school- thus the in between times I have to develop during my work day. What i found was- i spend an enormous amount of that time both consuming and creating- or at least “sort of” creating. Two of my favorite technology tools have been diigo and twitter. From your advice back in Learning 2.011- i connect these tools using IFTT and now what ever I tag in diigo shows up in as a twitter post with specific hashtags.

    anyways- every morning I get 5-6 emails from diigo telling me of the links/tags people have made in my various groups. Since I teach a range of topics in 3 diciplines many of the links are cross discipline. Therefore, I like to look at those links and then tag them and add them to other groups for my subject courses (such as taking articles tagged by others for geography and adding them to my group pool for global perspectives)- usually trying to add some comment about how I could use them in a lesson or what connections to topic areas their are within the links. this is then spread (via twitter) to my PLN and those people who follow specific hashtags.

    So my question is- can this be considered creating? or is it something else? Something in the middle of consuming and creating.

    If i use something that I consume as (such as an interesting article) in lesson is that creating? Perhaps that whole lesson would need to be shared on the web to count as creating- or giving back creating??

    I liked this post a lot, not only because it got me thinking about my own habits, but also because it got me thinking about the different ways we create, the different types of creation, and how we (as educators) can help our students become creators..

    Does it have to be something new- or remixing an old- or passing something along?

  23. Jeff-

    I loved your post, and I agree that consuming without creating is an issue. I’m new at blogging, and was given your blog by my college professor. It was very intriguing, and has my mind going about what it means to be ‘disconnected’. I will be much more aware when I’m ‘connected’….am I consuming or creating? Love the 80/20 rule. Thanks for sharing.

  24. Could it possibly be that the 80/20 rule was designed for a time when little screens didn’t divert so much attention? I remember much more interaction between people in years past. You had to beat the concrete to meet anyone, or get anything done. You went to a filing cabinet to retrieve records and probably talked to someone on the way.

    The tasks and the route to complete them has all been retired. Technology has made more lurkers perhaps? It has made people less attentive, no perhaps in turn less attentive to creating. They are watching, watching a video, reading a forum. It’s made us lonelier, and seemingly lonelier even within the existing digital environment. In the future will more or less people be content creators? I don’t know.

    I remember an online game from the 90’s. People, while distracted by the game used to all be present, talking to each other and walking about. Fast forward 15 years and that same game is full of non-attentive people standing around, probably not even looking at the screen. There has been a shift. The 80/20 rule may never exist within digital media again. Hope I’m wrong!

  25. Like someone said it before – “[..] Theese days everything is a copy of a copy of a copy…” 😉 Sad but true..

  26. Michael Vivian Reply

    Not much to add here, just saying thanks to Jeff for the post, and thanks to all the people who took the time to comment. This has been a great read and I don’t think I have fully allowed it all to sink in yet.
    Cheers for all your thoughts.

  27. This post reminded me of my first months in Korea, waiting for the iPhone 5 to be released to get a phone. They said October… it arrived mid December. Being “disconnected” for 4 months made me realize what a luxury it is to be connected all the time.

    Very insightful post. You made some great points about Creating vs. Consuming. We need to teach our students, that to be successful, you must create more and consume less.

    In life, it’s the creators who are successful. Consumers are just that, they are media customers. They pay the creator… with their time or their money.

    Mike Wallace was just paid big bucks by my Miami Dolphins because he can “create” plays on offense. I watched a documentary last night with Jim Carrey, Chris Rock, and Ben Stiller, some of the most “creative” minds in show business.

    COETAIL seems to have created a community of creative people, a new community that needs to be the most “creative” minds in our business… Education.

    Teachers who can create quality lessons, who share their ideas online, are far more successful than those who do not. There lesson is no longer just for 25 kids, it’s being used across the world. They are impacting kids they’ll never meet, never know. That’s success.

  28. Amanda Bond Reply

    Thanks for this post Jeff, very timely in a discussion our PLG is having at school at the moment. I am trying to be in create mode for GAFE course but it isn’t easy. I think I need solitude as you discuss with Dean to be able to create.

  29. Pingback: Confessions of a Lurker – Boramy Sun

  30. Jeff,

    If we are encouraging everyone to go out and participate by saying what they think more regularly, it’s a fair assumption that we lend a useful idea or voice to the conversation, right? A challenge I see is that everyone has got an opinion but it doesn’t mean their ideas are useful or helpful (sounds like democracy in a way: everyone has a voice, but messy as hell). And that brings us to information literacy. How can we identify the good content, the truth, the answer when we need to sort through a sea of content?

    The answer: social media scores just like in Black Mirror. Hear me out, hear me out. Only 4.35-Star users and above can post to Reddit from now on… Just kidding. Or am I #China…

    Thanks for the thought provoking post.


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