This is going to be a rather “meta” block:

I was just thinking that over my 20-months-and-running time on this platform, it has cultivated a kind of “holism” in my work and research practices. And then I remembered reading Cab talking in the Creative Independent about how that was one of their explicit missions for the platform:

“Del.icio.us made us realize the importance of archiving casual web (and other) research. That process has a lot of positive effects that are hard to explain until you’ve built a habit out of it. For one, there’s a self-discovery that happens when you revisit things you’ve accumulated over a period of time. You look back and begin to recognize patterns in your own thinking.”

And here’s the “pattern-finding/self-discovery” in action: I realized I’ve reflected on this same thing on here in the past, and I made a book for school last Fall which was explicitly about tying together four trains of thought that originated or at least seriously developed while using Are.na.

One point of emphasis that Cab doesn’t make here, but that I think is important in my case is that Are.na encouraged me to do a lot of writing, as well as have some stimulating discussion, all in public. I think both on the philosophy and design side of things (which in keeping with this theme are not at all mutually exclusive), this practice has really helped me articulate myself and synthesize my ideas/opinions/interests on many topics.