Commons: sharing is caring

Commons have been the way of life in which humans have been establishing upon for centuries, it is the foundation of our society. They bring beneficial richness to all individuals and can be seen all around us, ranging from nature, education, the Internet and yes even that public ‘common’ toilet.

             “That’s the greatest strength of the commons. It’s an inheritance shared by all humans, which increases in value as people draw upon its riches” (Walljasper, 2010)

More recently 21st century ‘commons’ have become a prevalent issue, this is increasing due to the free publishing rights the Internet commons allow to citizens. Walljasper describes these commons-based societies to ensure and “offer considerable appeal for progressives after a long period in which the bulk of their political engagement has been in reaction to right-wing initiative”(Walljasper, 2010)

No doubt the most eminent case of a commons sphere was back in 2009, with the heightened coverage over WikiLeaks. WikiLeaks was heavily debated over the shared political commons it had created, it  allowed everyday citizens or “commoners” to have an upper hand over the corruption that was happening around them. Although seemingly controversial and slain by many governments, isn’t WikiLeaks for the better of the citizens. Their goal clearly has one objective that is based around an integral factor of shared commons, which is “to bring important news and information to the public” (WikiLeaks, 2013).

Aside from the internet trolling that the internet has created, George Monbiot further discusses the need to start regaining cyber commons due to the organised and even trained army of trolls that are endangering global commons. He has described the presence of the internet to be a “remarkable gift, which has granted us one of the greatest democratic opportunities since universal suffrage” (Monbiot, 2010)

These benevolent traits that WikiLeaks have shown encompasses the Commons Framework deduces by the website On the Commons, a website founded in 2001 to draw attention to the commons movement. The visual also correlates to the important issues of internet commons we are facing in todays society.

Commons Framework (OntheCommons,2012)

Commons Framework : Commons exist all around us (OntheCommons,2012)

“Commons is a conservative as well as progressive virtue because it aims to conserve and nurture all those things necessary for creating a better world” (On the Commons, 2012)

When we reflect onto some of the most prevalent benefits from a commons-based society, I would possibly argue that the music industry has one of the most congealed networks of common interests. It is how the music industry strives to work and function, by the influences of others around us and the sharing of thoughts and ideas. Hiphop would not even be an existing genre without the influences  of soul, old school rock and roll and even a bit of funk. And more recently with the uprise of social media, publishing platforms such as SoundCloud and Spotify have indefinitely shaped the electro, house and trance communities. The modern music society is based around the nature of creation and sharing. Creative commons such as these create “possibilities for large numbers of people of diverse ideological stripes coming together to chart a new, more cooperative direction for modern society” (Walljasper,2011)

Music commons

“SoundCloud is not only about sharing sounds by also about sharing common interests, attitudes, goals and connective with people who share your passion” (SoundCloud, 2013)

commonsCommons is the way of sustainability for the future. The more the sharing the more the caring and thus is beneficial to the established and pre-existing commons.

“Our future depends on our commons and each of us as commoners. We all have a mutual responsibility to name, claim, protect and equitably manage what belongs to all of us for today and future generations” (On the Commons, 2012)


  1. Good, R 2010 “From Open Business Models To An Economy Of The Commons, Master New Media, accessed 17th of April 2013,
  2. Reader, U 2010 “A New Political Dawn: The Push for a Commons-Based Society”, accessed 16th of April, 2013,
  3. Monbiot, G “Reclaim the Cyber-Commons”, accessed 17th of April 2013,
  4. Walljasper, J 2010 “All That We Share”, Yes Magazine, accessed 16th of April 2013,
  5. Walljapser,J 2011 “The Commons Movement is Now”, Common Dream, accessed 16th of April 2013,

Braintrain 101 : Infotention

It is all too often that our attention lays in astonishment at people in lecture halls. We HAVE ALL seen it before. People on their laptops with endless tabs sprawled across their browser, jumping from Facebook to internet shopping, news articles, Skype and even the stockmarket watch. The sheer level of multitasking expertise that users of the technological world have today should be considered as a serious and deadly skill…


It is this skill possession, the form of mental training and digital literacy, that is the basis to Howard Rheingold’s term- Infotention. 

“Infotention is a combination of attentional disciplines and information handling tools, a methods for turning information overload to knowledge navigation” (Rheingold, 2013) 

Augmented information that has resulted from growing cyber-commons on the internet have created a problematic issue, where most users are not able to differentiate clearly between the overload of information and the need to know. With the multitude of technological platforms that we have, we have evolved our brains to become a powerful network to switch between tasks.

 “Personal technologies today are prosthetics for our minds” (Stone, 2012) 

I, myself am often shocked to find the horrendous amounts of applications I have opened on my Iphone within the matter of minutes. And although it is easy for me to switch back and forth from Facebook, Instagram and the trending news headlines, I find that I do not possess the skill anymore to focus my attention to solely one application.

Evidently James Temple’s article: All those tweets, apps, updates may drain brain, addressed the growing nature of why our generation has such appalling long term memory and mental performance, as pinpointed by scientist at the University of California and San Francisco.

Infotention is our salvation from what psychiatrists have called “addict-like behavior when it comes to technology, unable to ignore its pull, even when it negatively affects them (Temple, 2011). And through this form of brainwork, and brain training redeem back our cognitive and attention limit.

“It’s that too few have learned and taught to others the skills we need to know if we are to master the use of our attention amid a myriad of choices designed to attract us.  A significant part of the population has not yet learned to decide when it is appropriate to share multiple lines of attention and when single focal point is necessary” (Rheingold 2012, p.15)

A simple wrap up of Rheingold’s: Infotention

Infotention mindmap, Photo: Gigi Chan

Joyce Valenza of the School Library Journal also summarises her experience in the problematic issues with multitasking and attention here in her article, Infotention and digital citizenship. (Click here for the link)


1.  Rheingold, H. (2012) “Net Smart: How to Thrive Online”, MIT press, United States of America

2. Stone, L (2012) “Conscious Computing,, accessed 12 April 2013

3. Temple, J (2011) “All those tweets, apps, updates may drain brain”,, accessed 12 April 2013

4. Valenza, J (2012) “Infotention and digital citizenship”, ,accessed 12 April 2013

Archives: A desire


“There would be no archive desire without the radical finitude, without the possibility of a forgetfulness which does not limit itself to repression” (Derrida, 1997)

When someone asks you what your deepest desire is, most would probably say love, money and other things towards that tangent. The last thing that would even come into mind would be something like “my deepest heart desires are archives”, unless you’re like a prodigal archivist such as Julian Assange . Archives are defined in our reflections from this week as  a form of storing any sort of information so that we may be able to use it for later use. So why am I even relating archives and desires in the same sentence you may ask? 

It’s a pretty simple concept to link the two terms archives and desire together. Archives are like a mans desire, our own made creation, that allows  us to store information that may be beneficial to our later use. In the case of one of the most disputable archives that exist to date, Wiki Leaks, was it not Julian Assange’s own desire to expose secret documents from governments to the public? And in more relevant Gen Y terms, is your Tumblr account or even your YouTube subscription list not the composition of your most desired people or things?

“Archives is also a place of dreams. To enter that place where the past lives, where ink on parchment can be made to speak, still remains the social historians dream of binging to life those who do not for the main part exist” (Steedman, 2002) 

Since man needed a place to store such thoughts, information and desires the archive was born. Well…not exactly along those lines but when we come to think of the archives that we have made in the recent years, such applications like Pinterest and Twitter sure do represent archive desire. Below is the example of an archive where our most wanted and desirable things are placed, this personalised database (which is also a form of archives) allows for sharing and seeking other users inspirations. Pinterest is such a versatile form of sharing and creating our own databases that it has to date, over 48.7 million users, with 83% of them being female. Archival fever for women and their love towards shoes , clothes and more shoes.


Without archives the very basis of publishing would not even be able to exist as its structure is the backbone to where we store our thoughts and ideas. The media construct archives around us every day and also destroy others (Derrida, 1997). Our ability to engage with publishing also is also due to the very existence of archives, where we store our music, or what playlists that we create is a spectral formation of the information that we long. The future and structure of archives are defined as being spectral, it is almost a spontaneous action that is the basis to how we live and function. Archives are what we sustain on , even in terms of the formation of laws, the concepts of theories to the way that we organise information on our supermarket shelfs.

“It is to have a compulsive, repetitive, and nostalgic desire for the archive, and irrepressible desire to return to the origin” (Derrida,1997) 


  1. Enszer, J (2008), ‘Archive Fever” A Freudian Impression by Jacques Derria’ Blogspot,, accessed 1 April 2013

  2. Howard, S 2007, ‘Reposted: Archive fever (a dusty digression)‘, Early Modern Notes, , accessed 1 April 2013