A Tale of Two Collaborators

A lot of my time lately is spent collaborating. I contribute to projects on hitRECord, responding to prompts or taking someone else’s record and remixing it. The work in the Sherlock Holmes and the Internet of Things MOOC is largely collaborative, in brainstorming, in writing, in designing.

But I’ve noticed something funny about how I approach my work on each site.

On hitRECord, which builds largely on contribution and collaboration, I tend to get a bit perfectionist in my work. If you ever look at the site, you’ll realize quickly that “perfect” isn’t really a thing there. hitRECorders create. They get inspired by something around them, be it their world and experiences or records others have contributed, and they build something from it. It’s very much by heart, a key value of the site. But I feel like if I’m going to add my voice to someone else’s work, it should be as perfect as I can get it or else it disrespects the initial contribution I’m responding to. There’s a tension in my work, a holding back, you don’t find often across the site. But they seem to like my efforts anyway.

In the MOOC, we’re all throwing out ideas and building off the ones that work. The MOOC was intended to incorporate aspects of improv, primarily the “Yes, And” element, and I do that with my team without a second thought. It doesn’t matter where an idea came from; if it works, it moves forward and becomes something. We may take only aspects of someone’s comment and tie it into what we’re doing, and so I throw out ideas and projects with that understanding. What I offer may not get used. It may get used in its entirety. It may get picked apart, only the more interesting bits making it out alive. And I’m perfectly fine with that, because we’re pulling together something really cool from all these bits of ideas.

I can’t tell you why I seem to have this split personality when I’m collaborating on these sites, just that it happens. What’s really funny is that hitRECord really works like the MOOC does, but I work more like a cog in the system than one more voice blended into the pile. It’s fascinating to watch.

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