Theory through Play

Recently I had a draft of further thoughts on digital bricolage accidentally cross-post to Twitter. In any other circumstance I'd delete the tweet, continue to refine the draft, publish it to my blog, and then cross-post it. Not this time. There's some digital bricolage here.

Going through iterations of drafts until a “final draft” is what we learn in school. That line of thinking extends to how I write on the web. Only when a piece is in a “final draft” state do I share broadly (ie: published as a post to my blog, that post shared to Twitter).

In this case, however, the mistake of sharing a draft broadly creates a moment for rethinking things, for a different approach to emerge. Maybe loose thoughts could be published as these one-off anonymous posts and shared via social media? Who knows, but it gets me thinking.

Seymour Papert & Sherry Turkle allude to how bricolage scrambles the natural order of epistemology:

The bricoleur scientist does not move abstractly and hierarchically from axiom to theorem to corollary. Bricoleurs construct theories by arranging and rearranging, by negotiating and renegotiating with a set of well-known materials.

Digital bricolage is the swift rearranging and renegotiating of materials and practices, the speed of which can come before any clear thought of what it is that you're doing emerges. That happened to me with sharing my draft. Before I knew what I was doing, the post got shared. A different perspective on sharing my writing on the web began to emerge.

This is what Papert & Turkle are referring to — digital bricoleurs construct theory through play, not the other way around.