Professional consumption vs. creation

Jim Cash
Jim Cash
May 6, 2018 · 3 min read

(Originally posted on my blog)

It’s effortless to hop onto your favourite social media tool and read through stories and ideas created by other people. In fact, I ‘found’ myself the other day after work having spent about 90 minutes straight on social media. But many other days, it might be 30–40 minutes. I usually learn some things and take note of resources to refer back to later. Sometimes I’ll find a great blog post to read. Browsing on social media often leads to some great things.

And, in terms of creating content, I do have a blog and a podcast and I do share ideas in other places online. But I am pretty hard on myself when it comes to sharing things I create which is contrary to this message from Derek Sivers (his video is partly why I started to blog in the first place).

And, there are also a handful of times when the consumption and creation are intertwined into real-time engagement or interaction with other people (primarily using Twitter chats or Twitter messages).

The problem: I am spending a greater and greater proportion of my ‘allotted time’ to consuming information… rather than creating and sharing it. Why?

Creation is hard. Consumption is easy. The tricky bit is that I do learn from doing both activities. I can’t be the only one thinking about this… And it bothers me. As educators, we expect students to balance their time between consumption and creation. I do think I learn much more by creating. And creating and sharing ideas is more concrete — that part of me that looks for evidence that I have been productive likes the concrete thing I’ve made. The results of consuming information are very intangible. But is it all as simple as that? Am I simply lazy?

Here are my publication stats for this blog:

25 (not 26 since you’re reading 26) times I started to write a blog post and 25 times I abandoned it for some reason. Sometimes I do go back. At least I’ve published more than not. I’m also writing a book but that’s even more difficult. And I am finding the limitations of a physical book to be annoying; ironically, books still seem to be the pinnacle of professional communication. (Incidentally, in the last week or so, I’ve pretty much decided to create a web site instead so that I can link to resources and embed media).

Another issue is that the more I consume information (and see how much is out there) the greater the feeling I get that everything has already been written, shared, and thought through. Just look at the re-discovery of ‘coding’ in education in recent years… Sometimes I think we are all caught up in an endless cycle of ideas that get discovered, shared, forgotten and re-discovered again.

Which brings me to this blog post. What possible purpose can it serve? Who am I writing it for? So what if someone else says, ‘yeah, I get that feeling, too.’ Maybe my own cynicism about sharing ideas also goes through a cycle. But it is rare to ever get direct feedback like that but it does happen and it is cool when it does (e.g., thank you, Kate!):

https://makelearn.org/2018/04/07/rethinking-empowerment/

So, that part of me that wants some concrete product is making a few resolutions:

  • Spend more time reading blogs than tweets (the idea being to truly explore ideas more throughly rather than skim through multitudes)
  • Comment and interact more with other bloggers (the idea being to respond and interact with the people who are sharing ideas & resources)
  • Go through all my drafts and finish & share the ones that need to be (the idea being to reconnect with ideas and think through them again)
  • Get to work on my shiny, new project: https://scratchmathland.com/ (I have the domain as of early May but have put 0% there so far…)

And, just for fun, here is that inspirational video by Derek Sivers which, combined with words from Dean Shareski, motivated me to start blogging:

Jim Cash

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Jim Cash

Finding and sharing ways to help young people develop as creative thinkers and makers.