A quest for deep

I miss deep. I know it’s still out there, somewhere, but it’s been harder and harder to pursue and find.

Currently enjoying a course in Personal Knowledge Mastery run by @HaroldJarche. Our activity for this week involves taking time (maybe there’s a clue) to go through our Twitter feed over the last week to see what (note, not if) patterns/connections are there.

Once I started though, I ended up expanding my input to include Facebook and Instagram (often regarded as the enemy of deep) and life. So here are the six elements:


PKM is about deep learning. Here is Stowe Boyd:

“Many years ago I made the following statement — The individual is the new group — and the tools that we see arising today start there, focusing on what Cal Newport, the author of So Good They Can’t Ignore You, calls ‘deep work’:
Deep Work: Cognitively demanding activities that leverage our training to generate rare and valuable results, and that push our abilities to continually improve.
He contrasts that with ‘shallow work’: Shallow Work: Tasks that almost anyone, with a minimum of training, could accomplish (e-mail replies, logistical planning, tinkering with social media, and so on).
I maintain that much of what social collaboration tools are designed to support is shallow work, and the stuff of managerial oversight.


Should we kick laptop users out of cafes?

@ebase Shall we kick laptop users out of cafés? No. What a stupid idea. What do you think?


@NeilVonHeupt Feb 22 @ebase Interesting marketing angle – Cafe Sans Wifi. I’d go there.

@worcere Feb 27 @NeilVonHeupt @ebase We wouldn’t! 😉

@NeilVonHeupt 19h @worcere @ebase It’s a challenge to find space for deep thinking with all the noise (on and offline).


@worcere 18h Lovely quote, @NeilVonHeupt. Laptoppers flock to cafes for a reason. Similar reasons. For a change of scenery and inspiration. @ebase


Then I went to see a play with Sydney Theatre Company – Chimerica (#STCCHIMERICA). Even with my limited knowledge of Chinese-American dynamics it was captivating. Made more so by the complex, multi-layering of the narrative language and form alongside colour, humour, lighting, movement, staging, props …


@SimonTerry wrote an outstanding piece on communication lessons we can learn from the practice of poetry which prompted a brief exchange of haiku!

@simongterry https://simonterry.com/2017/01/16/digital-communication-the-practice-of-poetry/comment-page-1/#comment-154 ….

@NeilVonHeupt A haiku for you: What goal L&D? Bring value to the table. Or on menu be.

@simongterry  a learner learning/hurrying, frowning, conversing/looks like a worker

@NeilVonHeupt A slight change of poetic form. Learners married to learning. Learning married to performance. Engagement.


Then some Facebook arguing about a maths problem got me thinking. Not just about the maths problem, but about the arguing in the comments about the solution. I worked out that 97% fail because the fail is that they don’t see that there is more than one possible pattern.



And finally a chat with my (teenage) daughter about the volume of social media she deals with (hundreds of FB, Instragram, Snapchat posts daily), most of which is inconsequential, yet she both handles it all and it strengthens her relationships rather than diminishes them.



Keeping work shallow is a choice.

The use of social media is not inevitably shallow. How you use it matters.

Taking time to build small connections into something worth having is worth the effort.

Online connections are not the antithesis of real life ones.

Deep is better, and worth the time pursuing it.


PS. Did you notice the shape of my conclusions?

One thought on “A quest for deep

  1. Post Script. Was telling my kids about this blog and, being our family’s Mike Brady of metaphors, this came out … Social media gives you Lego bricks. What you build with them is only limited by your imagination.
    Usually my metaphors only raise an eyebrow, groan or eyeroll but this one got rated good!


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