I have been running this site for a year now. Closing a circle is always a good opportunity to reflect on what’s happened and where one is going. So here I offer a few reflections on my last year online and speculate on what is in store for the next.
It’s been quite a steep learning curve and a continual battle between ambition, time constraints and ability. I was pleasantly surprised how easy it was to set up this site – buying the domain name and storage space was just down to money and, having bought a Mac right at the beginning of my PhD one year ago, I found it easy to get going using iWeb. The difficult thing was not so much doing it as it was finding the time and patience to do it.
My first realisation was how time consuming it is to produce new content. Most new content on this site has mainly been through the blog – which hasn’t even been updated very frequently. I guess it could even be counted as ‘dead’ at times (going with a statement I heard that three months inactivity equals blog death). Having set up the skeleton for the website, I quickly realised that the ideas I had for this website were simply too big.
I had dreams of expanding the ‘Library’ and sharing all the stuff I come across on its shelves but this dream was simply too big. I never found time to do this. I was hoping readers would want to take part of this site and share their own thoughts and dreams, but this was probably just too idealistic (how would anyone find time to produce content and acquire the skills if I was struggling myself?). I thought linking people up through the ‘friends’ page could stimulate new virtual friendships and be a source of inspiration.
So I ran into obstacles that couldn’t be overcome without taking something like a week off and putting some serious effort into developing the site. Whatever people say about doing a PhD, I’ve had an extremely busy year and it doesn’t seem to quiet down in the coming year. I’ve been away for extended periods and had my weekends swallowed up by work, friends and all my other projects. So, it seems that the best idea is to change tack, scale down ambitions and start using this space differently.
I’m becoming increasingly annoyed and disillusioned with Facebook. It is basically not adding more to my life than it is subtracting. I’m no good at using Twitter either (I’ve tried). Basically, I’m just not very good at being online. However, I do really like the sharing that social networking facilitates. Obviously. So, I’m going to shift some of that sharing to the blog. Which means that I’ll put up more short posts/reflections, and collect cool videos and music here. Like this one.
And I still really want to share all the good things that you all share with me. I realise that it may not be easy to become an active part of PatternWhichConnects because it requires time and skill to create your own page here. But I just get too many great things coming my way not to share them. So, with permission, I will just put that up here too. What triggered this realisation was an email I got from one of my best friends, Nicolo, the traveller and reveller:
Ohoi brother YobYob of the Yellow Monsters,
Last night I watched the Heart of the World. What a beautiful film! It completely brought me back to that magical place I once encountered as an young and ignorant traveller. The trip up to the Lost City with Oliver remains fixed in my memory as one of the most incredible adventures although my flash encounter with the guardian Koguis was fleeting to say the least. On this epic 5 day trek up the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, with some scarce provisions and an overburdened backpack, we were warned by our entrusted guide Wilson, that these were a very secretive people who did not like to meet outsiders. On arriving in a Kogui village on the way up to the Ciudad Perdida I remember Wilson casually nodding in the direction of the dense jungle that surrounded our mountain path. Sure enough there, standing motionless like spectres in the undergrowth, were a group of Kogui men holding their gourds and staring right back at us. In the village we managed to meet a few through Wilson who lives in the Sierra and knows some of the elders. It was there that I took the picture I am sending you. Their story of creation, the 9 worlds, the Great Mother and the spiritual world of Aluna as described in the film is quite awe inspiring and while I remember finding very little to read about them during or after my Colombia trip my one memory of the Kogi’s remains deeply entwined with that magical landscape, the jungle, the Sierra Nevada and the Lost City.
Anyway, just a little memory I wanted to share with my gratitude for bringing me back to the Heart of the World. The next is a memory perhaps more recent of a new hurdle-flop event I heard they were introducing to the Olympics in London next year. You will recall the intensive practice on Primrose Hill. Anyway, feel free to post it on fb or whatever, I got some pretty crap connections here in Zim.
I mean, how could I not share that? (You can watch the documentary here.) So, prepare to get asked if I can re-connect(tweet) your brilliance here.
There are also another couple of things that I need to do which will change the face of PatternWhichConnects in the coming months. First of all, I need to sort through and share all the pictures from our trip to Greenland this summer. Here’s a taster.
Secondly, I am preparing a new page to do with my research on grassroots innovations. This will be a place to share what I am reading and encountering in the world of the grassroots and sustainability. I’m really excited about this part, because I am coming across so many good things and they just keep coming. I will put up bits of my academic writing, other reflections and of course lots of links to projects and other people in this line of business.
The dream still stands. PatterWhichConnects is building its own connections although slower than I would wish. And I do really want to you be part of it. So keep sending me comments and ideas. I’ve been really happy and excited that you’ve taken interest. The offer to create your own page here still stands. I have unlimited storage space and am happy to maintain your page if you just want to send me the stuff you want to put out into the world wide web.
Thanks to everyone who has taken part over this first year, whether just by stopping by the site every now and then, commenting or sending me some of the interesting pieces of life in the 21st century you are experiencing. Stay connected.