Friday, October 11, 2013

"Good Designs for a Better Life!" ds106's Week 6-Reflection

For week 6 in ds106, we learned that "Design is everywhere! Anything we create or manufacture has key design elements." Everything in our environment has design potential and possibility. We can design to invent what never existed or breathe new life and purpose into an existing object for people to have new behaviors. We can even design objects that tell stories. Ultimately our designs are meant to meet needs and affect behavior. We can repurpose and re-imagine a second life for materials because human ingenuity, resourcefulness and perseverance is always seeking solutions to cope with our changing needs and behaviors brought about by our changing environment. In a TED Talk, titled Treat Design as Art, Paola Antonelli, design curator at NY's MoMA's speaks about how designers are our biggest synthesizers. 


"What they do best is make a synthesis of human needs, current conditions in economy, in materials, in sustainability issues, and then what they do at the end -- if they are good -- is much more than the sum of its parts. So, designers sometimes don't do things that are immediately functional, but they're functional to our understanding of issues.

"Designers do need to be mavericks, because the best way to design a successful object -- and also an object that we were missing before -- is to pretend that either it never existed or that people will be able to have a new behavior with it." 

A crisis of any sort provides the impetus for human beings to design and create for protection, survival and self-expression. Necessity is the mother of invention. Humanity becomes more creative when we face adversity, and we design to cope with change, to adapt as our needs and behaviors change. This is how we all have the ability to be artists as we heard Tim Owens tell us this week. During this week, I also thought about the subjectivity of some types of designs, two societies in particular who design for survival and and how we are partnering with nature to make more sustainable designs.  

The story of so many Cuban rafters who design makeshift rafts to escape Fidel Castro's communist regime came to mind during design week. These individuals find inspiration in the world around them. Although that world may be in a state of decay, they see possibilities to repurpose what is old, broken, or useless to manufacture their own freedom from an oppressive existence. These are regular people with the ingenuity to design seaworthy vessels using remnants of whatever materials they can get their hands on, including 1950s American cars left on the island pre-Castro. They take what is ordinary and turn it into something extraordinary! By designing and building these makeshift rafts, these individuals know their lives are at risk if their designs are discovered before they are able to escape. Once they're out at sea, they hope their designs withstand the voyage to reach freedom on American shores. In Paola Antonelli's TED talk, she explores the concept of "design from a sense of economy" and shares more about how the Cuban people recycle materials to design toys and items they need to survive day to day.  In this society, good design is not about aesthetics, but about function that guarantees survival.   

The children of The Landfill Harmonic- also take what is ordinary and turn it into something extraordinary! The Landfill Harmonic is made up of children who refuse to believe the lie that they were not born creative because they live in one of the poorest villages in Paraguay that sits atop a landfill. The landfill serves as the main form of subsistence for the residents of this village. However, one day, a child garbage picker found a piece of trash that looked like a violin. He took it to the neighborhood musician who had the brilliant idea to design and construct a violin made from other found items in the landfill. Repurposing these items together, the child and the town's musician designed and built several instruments out of trash, including violins, cellos, flutes, and drums. Their ingenious designs led them to envision and create an orchestra where the children of Cateura, Paraguay learn to play these instruments made from other people's trash.  
This story disproves that creativity is inherited.  Although these individuals were born into this inhumane environment, living among a heap of trash, these children and their teacher make more than just beautiful music. Their creative spirit proves that even under the harshest living conditions, human beings figure out how to innovate and redesign their world to fight adversity, so beauty prevails! (Unfortunately for these individuals, it is true, we are more creative when we are uncomfortable.) 

And of course, we need not look much further than nature's beauty to recognize there is also "no better design partner than nature." Bio-mimicry 3.8 came to mind as well as I thought about design this week. Biomimicry seeks to take something complex and make it simple." Biomimicry seeks to answer the question designers ask themselves, "What in the natural world already does what I'm trying to do?" How can biologists and designers work together to "emulate nature's best ideas to solve human problems"?  Biomimicry 3.8 is an organization that believes we should seek to teach "how nature can help people create more sustainable designs. When we see how much the natural world can teach us about designing for a healthier, more sustainable planet, their awe and respect for the natural world increases in ways that will last a lifetime."  


Finally, I stumbled upon an article about the depiction of disabled people in the media. It made me think about the psychology behind design. Does what the media propagate as beautiful always represent what beauty means to each of us as individuals? This is a photography project for people to see and think about how ads for companies like American Apparel influence our perception of beauty, and how print ads are not designed to show the beauty or sexuality of a disabled person. Our designs shape and are beholden to societal expectations.

Good designers both influence and intuit what people think they want or need and design accordingly manipulating color, typography, shape, form, etc. to engage and move us to act. Good designers understand human behavior. (Essentially, designers should be psychologists who can draw.) Certain colors, layouts, fonts, etc. are known to attract certain audiences and only used in certain contexts. (For example, the design elements used to build a low income community will not compare to those used when designing an upscale one. There are different sets of needs and expectations and design is meant to both shape and reinforce those needs and expectations.) Geography and time periods also determine what designs look and feel like, and even shape and express expectations. Designs convey status, help us form associations, and subtly, even insidiously, designs spread ideas which create culture, values and norms. Our cultural narratives are shaped and reinforced by the ideas and messages behind the designs which permeate our society at a given time period. Design involves careful consideration about what we want to make people believe, think, feel, want, see, and do. 

During week 6 we were also challenged to redesign a World War II propaganda poster. A careful look at the design elements on these posters shows how the fonts, images, colors, symbol, message, etc. were used to affect behavior and influence thinking. 

Production Process: I have not had time to learn GIMP, so I improvised. I selected this poster because of its red background and used picmonkey to overlay the original poster onto an image of a plain red background. I erased the words on the original, and then added my own, selecting fonts to closely match the original. 

When designing digital stories, how will our designs evoke as many of the five senses as possible to engage and maintain an audience's attention? How will we deliberately design stories using imagery through our choice of colors, images, music, fonts, metaphors, etc. to set a tone and mood that engages the audience and creates a relatable and unforgettable experience for them?     

We were also asked to go on a design safari and blog about the design elements of the photos we took.  My safari was cut short, and I plan on taking more pictures as I encounter examples of good and bad design. (I noted the design elements on each picture.) 

Created with flickr slideshow.
Again, I think that good design is aesthetically pleasing and has a practical function, but both aesthetics and function can be subjective. What works visually and is immediately functional for one person may not work for another. Yes, there are standards based on what the human mind prefers to see and feel, but from what I have seen in my brief study of design this week, standards of good design change over time as our environment changes what we need, how we think and behave.  Sometimes a good design is not aesthetically appealing at all, but functions perfectly to create a better life.   

Suited for Subversion is a project to create a suit that protects the wearer at large-scale street protests. The suit also monitors the wearer's pulse and projects an amplified heartbeat out of a speaker      

Friday, October 4, 2013

Hot GIF Kool-Aid's Ready! Drink Up!

GIFing and ds106 has changed my life forever! Last week in the cult, I mixed up some sweet GIF kool-aid, and served it to other cult members! Fascinated with the concept of the GIF, I called on our ds106 cult to go on an adventure! Why not create original GIFs to create a collaborative digital story?  In true cult form, a bunch of ds106ers guzzled down the idea on the spot! First, we created a Google + community called Collabo-giffing, but realized the design of G+ communities does not support posts to show sequential GIFs and text. Then, Scott Lo suggested I seek "supernatural aid" from the GIF master Michael Branson. I tweeted him a glass of the GIF Kool-aid!
In seconds flat, he drank it, and created, a Word Press site so we could collabogif all we want in proper form! Janet Webster has storified our journey so far, and...

Sandy Brown Jensen reminded us to think of our collaborative story as the hero's journey! Members have answered the call to adventure, using their strengths to build our collaborative story. Who will be our goddess on our quest to "capture the elixir of life" through GIFing? Will it be Talky Tina? Our goddess, and master of two worlds?! Is Talky the YODA of ds106?!  We will have to wait and see where we choose to go on our collaborative story journey. Our search for "freedom to live" through digital storytelling and GIFs has begun! 

One person creates a GIF with a few lines of text to spark a storyline. The next person's GIF and text elaborates the previous until the GIF story reaches an ending.  (The idea came to me when I found this site that used GIFs and text to describe how writers feel during process of being published.) 

To participate, you must register on the site first. Someone will promote you to admin, and then you can begin adding GIFs and text to contribute to the storyline. Join us at the Google + Community to meet others and brainstorm ideas too! 

There's a fresh pot of hot GIF kool-aid to quench your thirst as we tell digital stories together! Pour yourself a glass, and come on over to

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Designing Great Comment Love in Peer to Peer Learning

Sally Field's  "You like me! Right now!" Oscar acceptance speech 
One of the most important aspects of being part of a peer to peer learning environment such as ds106 is engaging in the art of giving, receiving and eliciting critical feedback. What makes giving, receiving and eliciting feedback or comment love as it's called in ds106 so difficult is that we are basically strangers, even if we've hung out once or twice on Google for another MOOC, or chatted in real time. It's even harder when participants have done none of these. Critical feedback works best when there's a trusting relationship between learners and among the group of learners. These relationships are difficult to build in face to face learning communities so even more challenging in learning environments like ds106. However, it can be done! Many times communication among participants is limited to asynchronous interactions, often making it difficult to read tone and intention. In peer to peer learning, it's important to "always assume positive intent."  When giving or receiving comment love, it's important to keep an open mind, pay attention to one's feelings and reactions, whether receiving or giving the criticism.  

Week 6 in ds106 explores the art of design. It's the beginning of the week so this is a my pre-assignment post because I have been thinking a lot about how we as human beings struggle with designing feedback. Peer assessment and feedback in MOOCs is a hot topic of conversation because it often fails and becomes highly contentious for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, peers aren't really peers at all, so participants feel feedback is not coming from an expert. There are limited, if any, opportunities for conferencing between teacher and student to design and build feedback loops necessary for growth and mastery. In peeragogy, it is mentioned that "to assess learning, we do not just measure “contribution” (in terms of quantity of posts or what have you) but instead we measure “contribution to solving real problems”. Sometimes that happens very slowly, with lots of practice along the way."  In a learning experience like ds106 how exactly do we contribute to solving real problems? How do we design our feedback to forge stronger connections, collaborations, and harness the power of our network to improve feedback loops that will help participants bond, and keep conversations evolving for years to come as our needs change?  How is the art of feedback loops embedded in the course design optimize engagement, success and self-efficacy?

Last week I noticed a tweet about how participants in ds106 are often perceived as the fun people. DS106 is fun, but deceptively deep! There is method behind the madness and our experiences in the course do help us solve real problems. Participants have personal and professional goals, and what we learn we apply to impact how others learn. DS106 opens our eyes to see the world through a creative lens and become more creative individuals. When we become more creative, our relationships and our problem solving approaches improve. This can change the world! As mentioned in peeragogy, this may be slow to pass, but it is happening and will continue to happen over time. I do wonder how our feedback loops in this peer to peer learning experience, and any other can strengthen our connections and collaborations. I found this post by Alan Levine that answers my questions.

Whatever it is we design, we do so with a purpose, function, audience in mind and hopefully with a passion to motivate ourselves or an audience to act. "Designs can be used to nudge behavior, and great feedback loops are a vital piece of pulling it off." When it comes to designing great comment love, first, we need to plant the seeds of trust to set the feedback loop in motion.  The Golden Rule is always the best way to get those feedback loops going. 

So, in thinking about designing comment love, I also thought about how my blog's design functions to increase traffic and invite my professional learning network to dialogue about the topics I'm learning in MOOCs? Are my words and its design encouraging comment love from my peers? Is my blog's design optimizing the reading experience for my visitors? Essentially, who is the audience I'm writing for? Am I writing and thinking aloud for me, or for others? Is my voice academic or conversational? How do I make my learning visible through my blog's design to give occasion for feedback loops to occur? 

I have concluded that, for now, I like the design of my blog. I realize others may not. I like that it's busy. Maybe I'm stubborn, or tacky, or both when it comes to design, but my blog's design is my personal choice. My blog is my digital home. If I were enrolled in formal course then perhaps I would have to make concessions to conform to the course expectations of a blog. 

I thought again about the idea of the personal cyber-infrastructure. When we design it, whose expectations do we keep in mind? Our own, the world's, or the learning community we've joined? (That would be tough to meet the expectations of so many.) Are there then certain standards that must be met when designing one's personal cyber-infrastructure so that one's blog design is universally accessible to all, optimizing every visitor's reading experience? I have a hunch, without having read any of the resources yet, that design is subjective. It's about personal taste and style, and what is personally visually appealing. Even regarding blogs, design is all in the eye of the beholder, and one size does not fit all. However I also know that sometimes designs have no choice but to appeal to what the masses prefer, what is more visually pleasing to the human eye, or what we are brainwashed to think is beautiful.  Sometimes when designing an online or F2F learning space, we must balance personal preferences with what looks/works best to optimize learning.  Balance is always key, but  I like coming to this digital learning space where I have freedom to design however I want.  I've personally designed it to write from my heart. I think it's pretty, and this blog matters to me. Some people aren't going to like the design. I can totally live with that because I didn't design it with them in mind. I designed it with me in my mind. How boring and truly tragic would life be if our personal designs were only meant to meet others' expectations and not our own. Like I said, sometimes designs must conform to meet the needs and make affordances to the general public, optimize usage and be aesthetically conforming to societal expectations ..schools often look like
Stepford Wives Movie Clip
...the Stepford wives look...the bland suburban gated communities...I get it. These designs work for some, not for others to achieve certain ends, but no design is truly universal and optimizes usage for everyone. We are all unique individuals with a right to create and explore designs for self-expression. Some of our designs may appear ugly, busy, plain, or weird to others while some may totally dig our designs. That's a metaphor for life. We can't please everyone all the time. That's why color exists. Designs are not meant to be one-size-fits-all. Designs should optimize usage when possible, but optimizing usage in a peer to peer learning environment is relative. One must reflect on a tough question: Am I designing my blog to optimize how I learn, or do I consider a blog design to optimize how others learn, or both? And, in that case, how in the world do I design my blog to meet everyone's learning needs? Is the design optimizing the reading and commenting experience for all my peers, known and unknown, who visit? It's a tough question in peer to peer learning because of the nature of digital interactions, the need to build trust first, and the informality of one's participation.

Giving, receiving and eliciting comment love about design becomes highly sensitive and subjective. I do think that in a MOOC and peer to peer learning environments, as long as we are sharing, and having productive conversations among multiple platforms, following the Golden rule, when we set out to design our blogs, our designs may be self-serving, and provide no other function than to create a personal digital space to openly think aloud and reflect. When we design our comment love, as Alan Levine wrote in this post, we must be sensitive to "include useful feedback or ideas for improvement. Think about giving the kind of feedback you’d hope to receive. And when you get comments, reply if it merits a response. Think of this as a conversation." Through our comment love we can build trust, community, and design many beautiful conversations to help us all grow and be better human beings!   

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Talky Tina's Got Soul- Week 3-4-5 #DS106 Reflections

Since joining the ds106 cult, I have learned many lessons, above all how important it is to create something everyday. It's not like I didn't know this, but I had never truly incorporated this philosophy in my life. Too often, we know certain truths in life, but we just don't apply them in our own. I can now fully understand the motto ds106 #4life. Even if it's a little something; whatever it is, a silly photo, a quick drawing or 30 second video, a poem or sentence, sounds of silence, or one's magnum opus, the act of creating something is cathartic and as Kurt Vonnegut said, a way to make life more bearable! It's been for me these last couple of weeks when life has thrown curve balls and lemons.  

In the last few weeks, I've learned about the importance of my personal cyber-infrastructure, the power of digital storytelling through sound and photography and how the storytelling arc should evoke 2 key emotions: distress and empathy. I've learned that digital stories can span various digital mediums. They are often interactive, inviting the audience to collaborate in its composition. Storytelling, whether digital or not, must have soul and enable us to recognize the common context of being human. 

In Week 3, we had to identify what makes a story? or part of one? What works about it? What does it tap into?

Pick one or more stories and write a blog post about it. Why do you like it? What makes it special? What makes it a digital story? Is there an arc to the story? Might it be part of a larger story or does it work on its own?
I thought about how ds106 is not just a headless open learning experience. It's also a digital story. There are key players, like Talky Tina, for one. Each of the ds106 participants plays a role, some more loudly than others, but we all contribute to this ongoing narrative through our blogs, G+ posts, our tweets, our daily creates, and Flickr accounts, Soundclouds, the ds106 radio station. The ds106 narrative unfolds on daily basis, and we compose it together and individually.  The digital story works because we engage all of our senses; we create an experience where participants have various outlets to express creativity, to quench the thirst for life long learning, and perhaps a way to make life long friends as Talky Tina would probably say. Like a good digital story, ds106 has purpose, meaning and soul. When we participate, we feel we belong. There's a sense of community so we feel safe to take creative risks.
There's intellectual stimulation because we are teaching and learning with like minded individuals who welcome challenge, feedback, and want to actively engage in a global learning community. DS106 is a living, breathing story, evolving just as its members do each time they master particular forms of digital expressions. The story of ds106 works both on its own and as part of the larger narrative of what it means to be a connected life long learner and educator, a digital global citizen. 

In Week 5 of DS106, we were encouraged to tweet Barbara Gangley @bgblogging. I didn't tweet her, but I followed her, and was inspired by one of her tweets. The blog post her tweet recommends explores how "stories as communication tools are becoming a focus of attention because people want to make things closer to human scale, and stories accomplish that goal." Although the post is essentially about the Science of Science Communication, how scientists can leverage storytelling to engage their audiences, the concepts apply to all storytelling. The blogger explores how the key to effective communication is to establish trust through storytelling.  According to Melanie Green, a researcher on the art of persuasion, she contends that you are perceived as an expert if you uses statistics, but you are perceived as warm and trustworthy when you use story. The post also explores how our social media and networks connect us, and how we can leverage it to tell our story. As I prepare to participate in a digital story contest called StoryhackVT where I must compose a digital story within a 24 hour period using three digital mediums,  and leverage my social network to vote for my story for the win, it was interesting to learn how there are four kinds of digital networks which help to propagate one's narratives, whatever those narratives may be:
  • Social networks - who you know
  • Cognitive social networks - who they think you know
  • Knowledge networks - what they think you know
  • Cognitive Knowledge networks - what who you know knows 
I was not surprised in learning what I have always observed and experienced that our networks are often a bit homogeneous. Yes, social media helps us connect with our global peers, but therein lies the problem, they often tend to be people just like ourselves so our narratives echo each other.  The presenter mentioned in the post suggested the best way to silence this "echo effect" is by analyzing our networks and looking at "the bridges and brokers".  If we closely examine the narratives shared by those in our networks, and we notice a one sided perspective, then we should seek ways to listen to stories expressing other views. Obviously, the internet can make this happen easily if we are willing to listen to that other point of view and consider all the angles.   

So the point I am trying to make is that when we compose our stories, digital or not, we need to listen more as we were encouraged to do in week 4, we need to notice if there is an echo. We need to notice if we are considering multiple perspectives; we need to uncover the back story so all voices are being heard and the story is not always the same old single story. Sometimes human beings tell single stories that are uplifting and raise our consciousness to help us become better versions of ourselves. Unfortunately, sometimes the single story is destructive and spreads only hate and violence. I was reminded of a great TED Talk I have shared before on this blog, "The Danger of the Single Story". Digital, paper based, or spoken stories need to break down barriers and influence people's thinking about our common humanity and the universality of our human emotions and problems.    

In week 3, we had to write a new blog post and explain a story that you’re familiar with in terms of Vonnegut’s approach. Pick a movie, TV show, book, poem song, etc. The idea is to outline the shape of that story in a visual and descriptive form. Use some kind of media to do this, make it drawing or video or whatever you like. Be creative!

I chose Ray Bradbury's short story "The Veldt" because Ray Bradbury like Vonnegut was a master storyteller who influenced people to think about our technology and conveniences in the modern world. This short story packs quite a message about our society's relationship with technology, our parenting skills, the deterioration of the nuclear family, how technology can alienate us, even make us lose our grip on reality. We had to outline the shape of the story we chose in a descriptive and creative manner so I failed at this a bit. I can't draw very well and found Simple Diagram. This is what I managed to do without any tutorials. (Sorry.) 

From the get go, it's bad news in "The Veldt". Bradbury introduces us to mother/father archetypes, and we also recognize a familiar conflict often blamed on modernity and progress: the children are out of control, what do we do? Who's to blame? Can we fix it? Let's call the shrink and see if he can fix the problems we have brought upon ourselves! So Vonnegut said that Hamlet was a masterpiece because Shakespeare told us the truth, and people so often tell us the truth in the rise and fall of a story. In "The Veldt", Ray Bradbury tells us nothing but brutal truths about how technology has the potential to dehumanize us, and how technology has affected child rearing and our own psyches. Although, it's bad news from the onset, and the reader is on a downward spiral we never recover from, we enjoy this type of story because it is a cautionary tale, "the Man in Hole" as Vonnegut puts it! Ironically, human beings enjoy hearing what idiots we can be at times. It's heeding the advice we learn from these cautionary tales that is more difficult to strive for everyday.  

Additionally in week 3, we had to find an example of something you have seen recently on the internet or elsewhere that you might describe as a digital story. It need not be just be a video. In your post about the shape of stories include a description of what you selected and why you would call it a digital story (do not forget to link and/or embed).

I discoverd Storyhackvt, and their site has several examples of digital stories told across various mediums, and even an opportunity to participate in a storyhackathon.  The point is to write a story either alone or with a team of no more than 5 people and use at least three digital media to share the story online. These digital stories can be fiction and non fiction, and they are interactive. Here are a few examples

I have also come to know Talky Tina in ds106, the doll formerly known as creepy. She has undergone extensive rehabilitation, so she says, to become a high functioning member of the ds106 cyberinfrastructure. She is its mascot, and the personal cyberinfrastructure she has created epitomizes for me what digital storytelling is all about. As an audience, we feel more engaged when we hear a narrative about events where we experience distress and empathy. "Metaphors work well because when we hear a story we want to relate it to our one of our experiences." The emotional and cognitive effect of the Talky Tina narrative creates a fun, creative, childlike environment. Talky Tina is ds106's metaphor. Her persona shows what it means to create a digital identity, and how cyberspace allows us to role play and explore aspects of our own identity that will help us be more creative, reflective, connected and engaged. Talky teaches us it's ok to return to our inner child because this mindset frees us from the constraints that we often unnecessarily impose on ourselves as adults. The Talky Tina persona in the ds106 narrative establishes a fun, authentic, unique and unexpected tone and mood. There's not a megalomaniacal bone in Tina's body! She's not plastic! She's got a real soul, and is extremely real! (And, we need more authenticity in the world, if you ask me!) 

Through Talky and the various resources in week 3 through 5, I learned that stories in the digital age stand out and capture people's attention when:

1.) "The story is Unique and Unexpected- unexpected content is what makes things go viral."  Talky is a perfect example of the unexpected. Our daily creates challenge us to be original and express our unique brand of creativity. The more we engage with each other, the more we recognize everyone's style and signature talents. 
2.) "The Story is told in a public space, active communities, like the streets, FB, G+, Twitter, Flickr, blogs, radio; the story is easily accessible for people and designed to foster discussion." The ds106 story unfolds on multiple digital spaces. People experiment, take risks and support each other as they learn to express themselves on various digital platforms.

3.) "The Story is about the audience." The other day someone said in the G+ community that Talky Tina is us and we are her. It instantly made me start humming I am the Walrus.."I am she as you are she as you are me And we are all together.." but it's true...we are all Talky Tina. We are involved with her, and ds106 through our daily creates and digital interactions. The ds106 story is a compilation of all our individual stories. We all have private and public stories we share with different audiences. In the best stories, people are involved and directly addressed. "People listen to themselves." We each have our blogs where we get to talk about the topic we so often find most fascinating...ourselves, our lives, and what we create! We are both the DS106 storytellers and its audience, an ever expanding one too!

4.) "The Story helps create real life connections-physical element to really turn people from simply interested into highly enthusiastic." Talky Tina connects us. We connect through sharing our daily creates, our weekly assignments, etc., but also through the characterization of Talky's persona. She is not just the ds106 mascot, she is its cheerleader, a mother figure of sorts, watching out that we be nice to each other, and of course she's a friend to us all. 

Yesterday, while perusing blogs of ds106 alums, I accidentally found out Talky's true identity. She's a double agent! ( I won't link to the post to protect her!) I felt like I did two years ago when I discovered Santa wasn't real! I tweeted her as soon as I found out! She sent me direct tweets asking me to reveal my source. She mentioned something about an Uncle. I warned her to leave her poor Uncle alone, but Talky is a super true friend because she makes awesome GIFs and gives life to ds106! Who cares about her past! I want to learn a lot from her. I also want to Collabogif with her and write cool interactive stories. She liked the idea. This made me happy!  When I tweeted that I joined StoryhackVT the other day too, she thought it was interesting. This made me happy too! This post is dedicated to Talky Tina because I threw her against a wall yesterday when she said the MEAN WORD: #rules. Sorry Talky I will be nice because I know you killed Telly Savallas. But, "Who loves ya baby?" -- I do... because you know in storytelling we can break all the rules!