Bridges get us from point A to point B. Woo. But they also present (literarily) a different space to occupy. If we view two locations as islands of thought. Different, separated by space; the bridge is the uniting force to get from A to B. In many spaces of thought we are presented with two options (or more but usually two primary options)
Politically, we see this with R********** and D********. Yes, Libertarian's exist (supposedly) but are marginal comparatively both financially and institutionally (and yes, I'm a Classical Liberal so..). However, why Classical Liberalism is shouted down or seen as foreign (see David Rubin or anyone else on New media that thinks outside the R/D box) is because they occupy the bridge. In this realm, the bridge is literally just being ok with hearing each other's perspective (sad but yes).
Bridges are rarely the popular position to occupy. There's a whole series of rhetorical literature about the notion of bridges and the literary and philosophical implications of spaces which unite and connect disparate locals (thought or otherwise). Camps, cities, bodies of ideas that are consolidated, are largely the place that draw large groups of people. People like to be with other people, ideas are easier to binarily group together, and it's a lot easier to say I'm a ____ and dislike _____ or I support solution ____ vs ___.
As I get older, and my work spreads to more locals... I realize that I occupy the space. I tend to come into conferences which serve as small windows into worlds of A or B. Conferences consolidate people of a certain camp and so as someone who travels to many different camps, I always enjoy getting that window into a place where people consider themselves part of a camp.
I present at Drupal camps (technical), DrupalCon (highly technical), education standards events (C levels in edu), instructional design events (low technical), liberal arts (non technical), webinars (moderately technical), Apereo (mid - high technical). So kind of all over the map as far as content, audience, and style. In this experience I've realized one thing is consistent: I never feel home.
For awhile, I really felt at home in the Drupal community. And while I don't feel like an outsider there, it's not able to relate to what I'm trying to ultimately do. Apereo is probably the place I feel most at home now, two years into attending and soon to be three, only because it's a mix of misfits that believe open source can change the world. So why do I feel so out of place. Well, in edtech forums, I realize that ever good idea I have is met with "so now how can I buy this" or "how can I make money off this" or "how does this fit exactly what we've been doing". It doesn't fit with change; and so much of what I "push" is change.
Educational technology is really..interesting. I'd think it's amazing...except I live in different spaces. I see the Drupal community. I see truly amazing, brilliant technical infrastructure and design and see that shared openly. Then I come to the education space and I see modestly good ideas, modestly good architecture, but I see it sold as transformative...when it's not. This outsiderness leaves me feeling on the edges of both industries (highly technical and the space I'm supposed to occupy, edu).
And so, I'm left with one feeling: Keep going, we're right. Every space we situate ourselves in seems to find what we're doing incredible, world view changing and different from what they've been [force] fed. In Drupal, we're counter culture. In Edu space, we're counter culture. So where are we just.. culture?! I don't know but it's interesting because it means we're finding a space that doesn't currently exist. By being a bridge, we're positioned to bring new ideas and new cultures into their word. It's a concept that I revel in, why I don't give up when we meet negativity, and why I think we constantly provide perspective that's much needed in A or B; because we're neither.
originally posted 24 May 2018