Selection #3

Character 140

Sometimes matters of significance can be conveyed in compact form: haiku, for instance.  Middlesex students and faculty might remember this Basho haiku that the poet Jorie Graham brought to us last year: "Deep Autumn--/ My neighbor/ How does he live, I wonder?" 

Sometimes matters of significance resist shrinkage: for example, the text abbreviation "143," which apparently means, "I love you."  So we launch the following text/tweet-sized feature in full recognition of both its possibilities and its limitations.

Character 140 will be an ongoing effort to solicit and collect short, thoughtful responses (think 140 characters or less) to honest, serious questions (questions pertaining to the "Character" of people and things).  Think of a virtualized and very introductory-level ethics and spirituality class that keeps bothering you.

Each question will be sent out through both website and email to the Middlesex community.  Answers should strive to be (very) approximately 140 characters in length.  Hopefully any loss in depth will be repaid in breadth, and absence of length will be compensated for by an active presence of mind, thought, and deliberation.  The guideline: keep it short and smart.

Character 140, Part 3:

Fill in the blank

Character 140= quick thinking yielding deep thinking.  For the following, simply fill in the blank with text that comes to mind

Prompt:  Anyone with an internet connection can __________________.

Character 140, Part 2:

The following question aims to probe a basic ambivalence around the way technology enables people to interact with each other.  On the one hand, there is a level of familiarity and sharing that makes it easier to get to know othersOn the other hand, it is also possible that technolgy makes it easier for people to front a certain identity or perhaps segregate themselves in virtual ways that mirror the ways people keep to certain comfortable groups and relationships in real life.  So, the question with many possible answers is this:

Do you feel that your use of technology helps you understand people who are different from you better?

Character 140 Part 1:

 This question comes in two parts, and it is inspired by the notion the game designer Jane McGonigal advanced in her Ted Talk.  If you spend a lot of hours doing something, you gain a certain mastery in it, perhaps whether you intend to or not.  We spend a lot of time on computers, and at Middlesex, at least, we spend a lot of time "in community."  The questions below aim to get at the result of these significant investments of time. 

You may answer one or both or neither! You can contribute your answer simply by clicking on the questions below.  Or just wait for the email, if you prefer.  Either way, we would love to hear from you, but keep it short and smart!

What have you gotten really good at through your computer?

What have you gotten really good at through your community (however you choose to define it)?

Check Out Character 140 Responses

Please Note, by submitting your reaction, you are giving Middlesex permission to publish your response on the website.  thanks very much!

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