I’ve been working for a couple of months now on an article for the ASIS&T Bulletin (American Society for Information Science and Technology). It started out as an article version of my “Clues to the Future” presentation, but I soon realized that 1) I couldn’t really explain the same stuff very well in a 4000 word article, and 2) to do so would be a bit redundant with the presentation itself (which is fairly well explained in the text part of the pdf download). I also realized (I guess this is 3) that there were other things I really wanted to say but hadn’t managed to figure out how to articulate them yet, and this was a good incentive and/or opportunity to do so.
After banging my head against a few walls (both real and virtual) for eight weeks, and the extreme patience of an editor, I think it may manage to at least form the beginnings of what I’ve had rolling around in my brains.
Writing it was hard. Period. It always has been, at least to do it well. This is true when I’ve written fiction or poetry (in mostly a previous life) but I found it especially hard writing a long-form essay for print. I’ve been so used to writing PowerPoint presentations and blog posts, I was quite out of practice with developing my ideas with any rigor. And I’m still not sure how effectively I’ve articulated this stuff, but so it goes. One of my favorite quotations ever is E.M. Forster’s “I don’t know what I think until I see what I say” or some version of that. It’s so very true — the act of putting it into parsable language inevitably changes any idea for good or ill, but hopefully makes it better.
Especially, though, writing about things that don’t really have a solid, agreed-upon vocabulary just yet is quite difficult. I used to curse the philosophy texts I read as a student because they were so full of neologisms — especially from those pesky Germans like Heidegger — but I sort of understand that they were trying to express ideas that hadn’t been expressed yet, and needed rubrics by which to signify them without re-explaining each time.
The piece is called “We Live Here: Games, Third Places, and the Information Architecture of the Future.” Egad, now that I see it here it sounds awfully pompous.
When it’s published I’ll post a link or excerpt or something.