"The more proprietary, predatory, and puerile a place the web becomes, the more committed I am to using it in poetic and intransigent ways." (J.R. Carpenter, Slow Media)
Are.na is a tool to process the present, organizing the permanent I/O of living with the web.
It's less about Are.na's features than about the fact that their usage is loosely defined. It is software asking questions about the ways it should be used.
It requests activity, asking us to come up with new systems of contextualizing and building sensible structures. It opposes collecting (and mindlessly staring at) inspiration.
In that sense, Are.na is a reminder of the Web we Lost. A tool without one clear appliance, a framework to build formats on. It's both part of a desireable future and a callback to the free, unprofessional and poetic web my generation spent its youth in.
(Compressed & translated version of https://electricgecko.de/2018/arena)
Unlike modern readers, who follow the flow of a narrative from beginning to end, early modern Englishmen read in fits and starts and jumped from book to book. They broke texts into fragments and assembled them into new patterns by transcribing them in different sections of their notebooks. Then they reread the copies and rearranged the patterns while adding more excerpts. Reading and writing were therefore inseparable activities. They belonged to a continuous effort to make sense of things, for the world was full of signs: you could read your way through it; and by keeping an account of your readings, you made a book of your own, one stamped with your personality.
I'm a university professor and I think that are.na has a lot of potential for discussing and sharing content related to my class.
Does anyone else out there use are.na in an academic setting (faculty and student comments welcome)?
I'd love some thoughts on what works and what doesn't - or if it works well at all.
The Internet can be more than just a resting place to publish your finished ideas - it can also be an incubator for ideas that aren't fully formed, a birthing center for developing work that you haven't started yet. (p. 82)
New flow these days:
only follow channels I want instant updates on
if I like a channel and want to refer back to it, I'll connect it to a related channel that I own
check explore when i want to kill time and connect stuff as i see it