Jun 26 2008

A super-tweet: autoethnography at work

Published by at 10:35 am under Books,Consulting,Stories,Technology

Woke up thinking about all that could be done — and that had to be done today.

Before walking the dog, at 6:15 am, I went through the previous night’s email on Outlook, looked at my schedule and made some plans:

  • A workshop payment mix-up (money going to a personal Paypal account rather than the CPsquare account) has been fixed. Still 2 transactions to resolve.
  • Got the draft of a contract with a government agency. Need to print and send back.
  • Ward agreed to write a blurb for the book! Yay! Sent him the 4 MB file right away.
  • Got the glossary edits from Peter + Trudy — they look great! Need to respond to their extensive annotations.
  • Got plenty of SPAM.
  • Jotted a short-to-do list on my composition notebook: send “thank-yous” to the several people who helped during the talk I gave last night at ODN, post the slides on slideshare.

After walking the dog, got to my office around 7:45 am.

  • The alert that daughter Liza had logged on to Yahoo IM shows up. I didn’t ping her because I was so busy. When she was with Peace Brigades International in Colombia I always tried to wave, but now that she’s back in the US I don’t bother her as much.
  • Had a Skype call with Patricia and Beverly who are spending the day together in Hamburg! At the last minute, we use a Skype chat to move our meeting time forward an hour. Because they were in the same room, we met with Skype Video and took a few snapshots for fun. We talked shop, about books we’re reading, strategies for marketing and survival. We eventually get focused on writing and the deadline. We decide that in alignment with the autoethnographic approach in our paper, the literature review should also be “personal,” focusing on our experience of the literature rather than arguing that we’ve read everything that’s relevant. We decided that June 12 was the “snapshot day” for our autoethnographic vignettes. (Hence, this post, a departure from my habit of reticence.) After the call I find that we had two chat windows going (one with Patricia alone which had most of our notes and another with both Patricia and Beverly, which had some notes from early on) so I pasted them together, interleaving lines using the time stamps. I got the chat transcript in the mail by mid-afternoon.
  • Got a phone call from Doug. Thanked him for taking care of the dog while I gave the talk at ODN last night. We talked about sending an email messages to the Portland Shambhala sangha about the building purchase. He needed a phone number, so I mailed him an out-of-date phone list for the community.
  • Had a scheduled half hour phone meeting with Rebecka. Send text. Worked on the 2nd draft in Writeboard of a 3-day session for next fall.
  • Got an email anticipating Trudy’s surgery.
  • Scanned the emails about an effort by the Yi-Tan Guild to document our own teleconference set-up, facilitation, and follow-up procedures. We’ve been using Iotum’s Calliflower tool on Facebook, but it still needs a wiki page to remind ourselves how to do things.
  • Exchanged several emails with Naava’s assistant to schedule a meeting with Naava the next day.
  • Exchanged IMs with Lauren re: lost password on CPsquare that I’d forgotten to send her, method for avoiding a lost password, scheduling a conference call with 3 community leaders from her company about scope and leadership strategies.
  • IMs with wife Nancy who was bragging about her new 22″ monintor. Compared lunch plans, discussed the after-work schedule, grocery pick-up items, and a little blister on her foot. Finished just in time for my noon meeting.
  • Had an hour-long teleconference with Debra and four others on her staff (who were together on a speakerphone) about the evaluation report we had just written on the experience of community members in a face-to-face meeting they’d organized. They asked for an overview of the report, although I’d sent it to them a week before. I talked at length — ended up giving a mini-lecture! Recorded it for Louis (partner for this project in DC), but forgot to turn the recording off, so will have to edit!
  • At lunch I continue reading Grant McCracken’s “Transformations: Identity Construction in Contemporary Culture” on the kitchen counter over some warmed-up leftovers. The book has a lot to do with culture and identity construction. I wonder, am I in the business of helping people create new homes for new identities? Today’s snippet gave me some insight into sports and American males that I’d never quite understood (having grown up in Puerto Rico) on p 283:

    “As overmighty subjects, they have their own performative powers. A preteen on a basketball court takes possession of the voice-over that belongs to the sports announcer and the color commentator. He uses this to take possession of the pretext, the script, the accomplishment, and the admiration that belong to a celebrity athlete. This is what, in basketball, they call a steal. The preteen has intercepted powers that belong to the meaning makers. It is endemic hubris, a matter-of-fact appropriation of superordinate powers by a subordinate party. The twelve-year-old makes Larry Bird a god and himself Larry Bird. Such subjects are overmighty and increasingly common.”

  • Retrieved and formatted the chat transcript for yesterday’s Winter 2008 workshop group “reunion” meeting from Web Crossing. Retrieved the audio recording from the phone bridge, saved it, and put a link to it together with the chat room notes in an email to the whole group.
  • The postman dropped off a copy of Groundswell, a book that Shirley read and recommended and that has an amazing publicity machine behind it.
  • Finally made some progress with my idea of using screen captures to create a diagram about platform integration and compatibility for our book on Technology Stewardship for Communities. Put five different screen-shots into one diagram with enough room for a lot of annotations and sent it to Etienne. This has been the most troubling diagram in the book.
  • Ended the day editing a summary of Marc’s book. His ideas are great and now are starting to emerge from a murky translation.


Notice that RescueTime misses the hour-long conversation with Debra et al.

3 responses so far

3 Responses to “A super-tweet: autoethnography at work”

  1. Now, after all this wonderful accounting of your day, where will you post the autoethnographic study of it, what it reveals about you, what you can (and did?) learn from it, and where to go next with it?

  2. smithjd says:

    I’m writing a paper with Patricia Arnold and Beverly Trayner for for the AoIR conference in the Fall: http://conferences.aoir.org/ I think the plan is that we read our vignettes together, look for intersections, and write about the sense of place & community. You just reminded me to tag it: http://del.icio.us/tag/cop_place .

  3. Anecdote says:

    Vital behaviours for communities of practice…

    Over at the Influencer blog David Maxfield has written a four post series on improving teamwork based on one of the key insights from his co-authored book, also called Influencer, which is simply changing a few behaviours can drive a……

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