What is text2cloud? Who is text2cloud?
text2cloud began as an exploration of multimedia composing and evolved, over time, into a set of preoccupations and a writing persona.
I started out mostly interested in experiencing firsthand how writing online differs from writing on paper. But as soon as I started writing online, I was immediately confronted with how different it is to publish instantly: there wasn’t much to figure out about the difference, in other words, because that difference was absolutely obvious at the level of experience.
So, my interest shifted to exploring “the end of privacy” and “learning in public,” which I came to see as two sides of the same coin. In pursuing these interests, my aim has not been to generate quick blasts of response, but rather to work meditatively, speculatively, and deliberatively through extended pieces that draw on the rich array of resources the web makes available to us all–the limitless archive of still and moving images, live footage, real-time data, unsolicited feedback. In this respect, text2cloud is an exploration of what becomes possible when text moves to the cloud. (I discuss my decision to leave academic publishing here.)
In the process of doing all this writing about how the shift from paper to screen is transforming all aspects of higher education, I rediscovered a well-known trick for changing one’s writing personae: I began to imagine myself as writing not in the voice of a trained academic, but rather as someone fiercely passionate about the value of writing as a technology for thinking new thoughts. text2cloud (or t2c, more informally), became the name for that personae.
text2cloud is also a venue for publishing the works of Professor Pawn and H. Paunch.
text2cloud is an homage to Montaigne; it’s an expression of secular belief; it’s a lifeline the writer is swimming to.
What if I just want text and no cloud?
I was drawn to write by books.
I know that my ability to think as I do was made possible, in part, by my long experience trying to get my thoughts down on paper.
Here’s some of my published writing:
Writing at the End of the World
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2005
In this book, Professor Richard E. Miller addresses a set of provocative and timely questions about the humanities and the literate arts. What do the humanities have to offer in the twenty-first century? Are there compelling reasons to go on teaching the literate arts when the schools themselves have become battlefields? Does it make sense to go on writing when the world itself is overrun with books that no one reads? In these simultaneously personal and erudite reflections on the future of higher education, Professor Miller moves from the headline to the classroom, focusing in on how teachers and students alike confront the existential challenge of making life meaningful. In meditating on the violent events that now dominate our daily lives school shootings, suicide bombings, terrorist attacks, contemporary warfare he prompts a reconsideration of the role that institutions of higher education play in shaping our daily experiences, and asks us to reimagine the humanities as centrally important to the maintenance of a compassionate, secular society. By concentrating on those moments when individuals and institutions meet and violence results, Professor Miller’s Writing at the End of the World provides the framework that students and teachers require to engage in the work of building a better future.
As if Learning Mattered: Reforming Higher Education
Cornell University Press, 1998
Although the culture wars have preoccupied the nation for the past two decades, these impassioned debates about the function of education have produced few lasting institutional changes. Writing with wit and precision, Richard E. Miller shows why the system of higher education has been particularly resistant to reform. Unraveling stereotypes about conservative, liberal, and radical reform efforts, Miller looks at what has actually happened when theories about education have been put into practice. What did Matthew Arnold do as a school inspector to promote the study of “the best that has been thought and said in our time”? Why did the Great Books program fail at the University of Chicago and succeed at a small liberal arts college in Annapolis, Maryland? How did Tony Bennett and others involved in the radical work of British Cultural Studies test their students’ knowledge of popular culture? How did ethnographers of schooling respond when they encountered students with apparently racist attitudes? By raising such questions, As If Learning Mattered focuses attention on how students, teachers, and administrators experience life in the academy as they negotiate the daily realities of reading lists, writing assignments, grading practices, and funding crises. By juxtaposing what educators think about social change with what these same people actually do in the classroom, Miller successfully identifies new ways to generate locally effective reform objectives for the university as it retools for the information age.
* Downloadable pdfs of my shorter pieces may be found here.
What if I want to watch and listen?
I recommend these two pieces, each a little more than 20 minutes long, which came from the time when text2cloud was a collaborative venture.
“The Center Cannot Hold” describes the paradigm shift in communication set in motion by the read/write web.
“This is How We Think: Learning in Public After the Paradigm Shift” describes how the read/write web enables thinking that is collaborative, interactive, responsive to the moment.
What if I want to get in touch with text2cloud directly?
Post a comment at the end of any entry and I’ll get it right away.
Or, write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Or, check out the text2cloud live link to see when my upcoming talks are.