My grandmother was a consummate collector, so much so that, when she and my grandfather moved out of the house they’d lived in for 40+ years, a company had to be hired to go through their effects to determine what was valuable enough to sell and what should be tossed. They brought a big Loras bin.
Granny not only collected, she shared. I could always count on receiving some sort of package a few times a year that would be chock-full of articles, photos and whatnot that she had clipped out from the Star or the Globe & Mail because she thought I would be interested. Whenever I visited, I could be sure that she would have recorded some National Geographic or PBS special that she thought would enthrall me. A lot of the time she was right, and I read the article or watched the show and learned something I didn’t know. She was connected to a group of like-minded folks who would phone each other about such-and-such an article, or this or that show on TV, and they’d all clip/record and pass it along.
And now I find myself in the same place. My Google reader has 80+ feeds from a multitude of diverse places, from webcomics to nationally recognised educators to local acquaintances. I follow more than fifty Twitterers, the vast majority of whom are involved in education in one form or another. Sometimes I feel like a silicate spider at the center of an ephemeral web, feeling the virtual strands beneath me vibrate with new information or a passing meme (edupunk, anyone?). And I hoard these offerings, Twittering them in turn or bookmarking them with Diigo, so that they eventually show up on my own blog and I can find them again.
I also pass them along to people I think might be interested. Many of the educators with whom I have regular face-to-face contact have never heard of RSS, let alone set up a PLN from which to draw self-perpetuating resources. So I do what my grandmother did. I copy and paste, or send a link through e-mail. Hopefully, I have accomplished that which she did with ease: spurred thinking in a new direction or even just a “hmm” moment.
Though Granny is no longer with me, I can’t help but think a little of her lives on through me as I clip articles, photos and whatnot to pass on to people I think might be interested. I am becoming my grandmother, and I’m okay with that.