Chris Aldrich response to “Interviewing my digital domains”

👓 Interviewing my digital domains | W. Ian O’Byrne by Chris AldrichChris Aldrich (Chris Aldrich | BoffoSocko)
Read Interviewing my digital domains by W. Ian O'Byrne W. Ian O'Byrne (W. Ian O'Bryne) Alan Levine recently posted a series of questions to help others think through some of thoughts and motivations as we develop and maintain a domain of our own. I’ve written a lot about this in the past, and I...
Chris Aldrich used Hypothesis to annotate my post on Interviewing my digital domains. He then pulled those annotations into the response bookmarked up above in this “reply” post.

This response to his reply post is mere to indicate/document the process and product I appreciate in his post. I’ll have a couple of longer posts unpacking my thinking. I already recorded a quick video response.


I value the annotations that Chris left behind in my post using Hypothesis. This, in and of itself, is a value, but the real exciting part for me was bringing these comments back to the post on his site. Sometimes I worry that the great discussion in Hypothesis will sometimes only be visible to those that know how to install and maneuver the system. Pulling these comments out and into the post allows more viewers to connect, while integrating this content into all of your other breadcrumbs left online.

As an example, Chris had a lot of comments and questions in my post that I think were excellent, and I want to be able to share with others, think about some more, and ask (myself) the hard questions.

I’ll share some of these at the end of this reply post.


The last thing that I really like about Chris’s post is the key that he provides to contextualize his responses. This framing of meta-annotation gives me (& others) another lens some context for the review.


While unpacking this read post response from Chris, I dream of an opportunity to better work Hypothesis into my workflow. I use it in classes, but don’t use it enough in my personal/professional workflow. I’d like to have the following workflow:

  • Bookmark interesting posts in Wallabag or some other read-it-later service
  • Sit at computer to consume content while annotating using Hypothesis
  • Easily pull all of these annotations into one block of HTML or markdown that I can copy/paste. This may already be possible.
  • Copy/paste to my breadcrumbs site as a readreply, or bookmark post.
  • I can then edit in some commentary to the materials I copy/paste from the Hypothesis output.
  • Publish. Profit. 🙂

The comments from Chris, and some of my responses. I’m still trying to figure out the best way to copy/paste the HTML over. I think it looks horrible below:

This is due to a natural human reaction to “Google” someone before we meet them for the first time. Before we show up to teach a class, take a class, interview for a job, go on a date…we’ve been reviewed online. Other people use the trail of breadcrumbs that we’ve left behind to make judgements about us. The question/challenge is that this trail of breadcrumbs is usually incomplete, and locked up in various silos. You may have bits of your identity in Facebook or Twitter, while you have other parts locked up in Instagram, Snapchat, or LinkedIn. What do these incomplete pieces say about you? Furthermore, are they getting the entire picture of you when they uncover certain details? Can they look back to see what else you’re interested in? Can they see how you think all of these interests fit together…or they seeing the tail end of a feverish bout of sharing cat pics?

I can’t help but think that doing this is a form of cultural anthropology being practiced contemporaneously.

Which is more likely: someone a 100 years from now delving into my life via my personal website that aggregated everything or scholars attempting to piece it all back together from hundreds of other sites? Even with advanced AI techniques, I think the former is far more likely.

Of course I also think about what @Undine is posting about cats on Twitter or perhaps following #marginaliamonday and cats, and they’re at least taking things to a whole new level of scholarship.


[also on boffosocko.com]

It’s an interesting thought experiment.

Could you pull all of these posts, annotations, and social media posts, put them into some machine learning, and make predictions about behaviors?



academia is built on the premise (IMHO) of getting a good idea, parlaying that into a job and tenure, and waiting for death. I’ve had a lot of colleagues and acquaintances ask why I would bother blogging. Ask why I share all of this content online. Ask why I’m not afraid that someone is going to steal my ideas.

Though all too true, this is just a painful statement for me. The entirety of our modern world is contingent upon the creation of ideas, their improvement and evolution, and their spreading. In an academic world where attribution of ideas is paramount, why wouldn’t one publish quickly and immediately on one’s own site (or anywhere else they might for that matter keeping in mind that it’s almost trivially easy to self-publish it on one’s own website nearly instantaneously)?

Early areas of science were held back by the need to communicate by handwriting letters as the primary means of communication. Books eventually came, but the research involved and even the printing process could take decades. Now the primary means of science communication is via large (often corporate owned) journals, but even this process may take a year or more of research and then a year or more to publish and get the idea out. Why not write the ideas up and put them out on your own website and collect more immediate collaborators? Funding is already in such a sorry state that generally, even an idea alone, will not get the ball rolling.

I’m reminded of the gospel song “This little light of mine” whose popular lyrics include: “Hide it under a bushel? No! / I’m gonna let it shine” and “Don’t let Satan blow it out, / I’m gonna let it shine”

I’m starting to worry that academia in conjunction with large corporate publishing interests are acting the role of Satan in the song which could easily be applied to ideas as well as to my little light.


[also on boffosocko.com]

This is an excellent…deep thought that makes me glad that you pulled it over to your Boffosocko site. I’d hate for it to be lost in a Hypothesis annotation.

I’d also like to note that it runs counter to some of the thinkers that I associate with online. I believe that there is nothing new under the sun. There’s riffs, remix, & sometimes rhyme historically. I view something that is created by someone else, it inspires me, and helps me go create something new and better (for me).

Hopefully I can return the favor and inspire someone else.


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5 thoughts on “Chris Aldrich response to “Interviewing my digital domains”

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