The esteemed research team we have assembled is Pacio, Sirch & Millner. We’ll be taking a look into the world of Electronic Civil Disobedience (ECD) and the Environmental Groups use of cyberprotest tactics in an attempt to create a white sheet.
Our team is still working to nail down the meeting place and time and might opt for a virtual solution. Our agenda and working plan is as follows:
- Each team member has been tasked with coming up with a narrow and deep topic within the ECD/Environmental activism online. Our first item of business will be for us to share our individual research and topic of interest within the broader field. Our goal at this stage is to “find the loser” and narrow down our whitesheet topic, ideally by looking at all three of the ideas we bring to the table and finding the common point between them. However, if necessary we will choose one topic point at that time out of the three options we present.
- Pre-meeting we’ve been assembling tags and links on del.icio.us (as I’ve outlined in previous blog posts). These will form the basis of our ‘starting point’ in assembling the bibliography. This activity has actually been helping us to move slowly closer and closer together topic-wise as we’ve been exploring. After we narrow the topic down we will take a look through our assembled sources and begin to generate a more comprehensive list. Our strategy at that point will be to look at any relevant sources which informed our topic selection, and then use those sources’ bibliographies to generate a list of further reading on the topic, and we will continue to trace backward along those lines.
- Also at the meeting we will begin the process of setting out the overall plan for the shape of the paper. This will be used to generate a rough outline of how we plan to attack the topic over the course of our writing, and will be used to focus our further research into the new sources.
- Armed with our narrowed topic, a starting point for the bibliography, and a rough outline of the shape of the white sheet, we will then close the meeting by planning out a division of labor between the three co-authors which will include a discussion on the tools and methods of collaboration we will be using. While final decisions about the division of the project labor have yet to be made, we’re expecting to have to assign different sections of the research and different ‘draft authors’ for each of the segments of the final paper. As the name implies, we may most likely be coming up with an initial draft of our assigned segments which is then shared with the rest of the team via Google documents or Microsoft Word’s “track changes”/”compare documents”. However, this isn’t set in stone and we will be deciding on initial collaboration strategies at the close of the meeting.
- Once initial collaboration strategies have been determined, we will generate a timeline and expectations for “next steps”, verify that everyone understands what we’ll be doing, and then we’ll head out to do it.
It’s not all that detailed, but it does give us the right kind of structure to plan around. The hardest part about any collaborative authoring is just keeping things moving forward and not getting bogged down in overplanning or aimless wandering. It’s a law of physics and management that the energy needed to redirect objects or employees which are already in motion is much less than the energy expenditure needed to motivate them/us in the first place. It’s always easier to edit than to create.
I’m looking forward to working with this team. Willow Sirch is an accomplished author with six books already to her name. I have written two novels myself under the tutelage of Rosemary Edghill, multi-genre professional author/editor and former mentor and literary agent. Between Willow and I our writing experience and familiarity with multiple-rounds of drafts and revisions necessary to produced polished writing should work out well. Into that mix of experience we add Ryan Millner’s fresh perspective and unique creative energies, as well as a much stronger theoretical communications background due to his undergraduate studies than either Willow or myself are familiar with.
Now here’s hoping that we can find a topic that is sufficiently interesting, narrow, and deep enough without getting ourselves in trouble with the FBI because we’re actively researching topics like Cyberterrorism, Hacktivism, and Environmental activism, which deals properly more with the technological aspects and less with the ‘social justice’ aspects. It’ll be a challenging topic, but I think we’re up for the challenge with our particular skillset mix.