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  • Writer's pictureAmy Burvall

List Lurking, As Inspired by Alan Levine


I’ve been thinking a lot about identity lately. What people think of you. What reputation means, particularly in connected environments. What is the balance between making and talking? What’s the ideal ratio of creating and sharing versus keeping your work to yourself? What “counts” as “evidence” (you can read all about my thoughts in this post). How can we distill the totality of ourselves into a tagline?

Writing that aforementioned post I re-read one of my favourite pieces by Laura Hilliger on Identity.

Then…I came across a poignant blog post by Julie Drybrough on perception and personal identity, entitled “I Am What I Am …and Am Not”.

Finally, this morning I chanced upon Alan Levine’s whopper of a post about going down the rabbit hole of reputation. There were a lot of big ideas there – like to what extent can we even measure reputation which brings us to what is reputation  even made of? 

A while back I wrote about the experiences of Leonardo da Vinci and how he was almost ruined in his early days by what we would call “trolls” today. I summed it up by quipping

reputation’s like glass, so don’t be an ass

I think it’s good to get a little metacognitive and make a list of how you would like to be perceived online and off, by friends and by strangers.

My list would include things like:

kind, funny, light-hearted, intelligent, supportive and creative.

I know I am not all those things all the time, or to all people all the time…or even to myself. But to paraphrase da Vinci, they are the stars to which my eyes are fixed.

So Alan’s post described this utterly complex process of investigating what Twitter lists he was on to see if that could in some way give an indication of how he is regarded by others online. Of course, anytime you use data from online behaviour you must take it with a grain of salt. It is not all-encompassing.

and yet…

It’s quite telling. I have used Wolfram Alpha Facebook report and some (sorry I forgot which) Twitter analysis tool to analyze my statuses and BOTH consistently tell me (over a period of 3 years) that

my most used word is “LOVE”.

What does that indicate? I overuse the word? I’ve cheapened the word? I am a really positive person (at least online) and try to post about nice things that delight me? My name, “Amy”, in fact means “love”?

I love (did it again!) how Alan made an entire Busby Berkeley-esque movie based on the word cloud of his Twitter lists:

I didn’t feel like going down that rabbit hole (I’ve so many others to jump in), but I did check out the lists people have included me in. There were so many variations of the obvious..shades of “creativity”, “remix”, “edtech”, “history”, “teaching/pedagogy”, “sketching/drawing”…even “entrepreneurship”.

But I wanted to see the whimsy…

So here are some list titles I found amusing..not sure what it says about me but it was fun to check out.


um, ok. a bit obvious. cool. glad someone noticed. actually a bit empowering when taken out of context like that.


would be a given but the added excitement of the ! just makes it, doesn’t it? It’s like “we are not just scribbling lines on paper we are drawing!!!!!!

Serendiptic People

this could be a contender for one of my favourite list titles. I dig serendipity and I am tickled to be part of a list that extols it.

“Interesting Ones”

hmmm. the use of “ones” strikes me funny. a bit like when you call a cat or a baby “it”.

“The One”

speaking of “one”! but, sadly, I am not the only “the one” on the list. so not sure how special it really makes me feel.


cool. this one I am proud of because my art style is pretty minimalistic and in the larger realm most of what I do creatively is simplification / distillation to improve communication. (only without so many -tions…that was not a great example)

“Poets of Twitter”

yes, Sir! gushing to be on this list. at least, if not an actual poet, trying to lead a poetic life.

“Hear ye! Hear ye!”

this is my friend Kori Lyons’ list, captioned “people to listen to…what I wanna hear”. the history lover in me loves her choice of words.


also another friend’s list (most lists I belong to are created by people I’ve never met). tagline and concept is brill: “if the feed is a bit bleak head here”…like the opposite of Dante’s “abandon all hope ye who enter here”.

“not to be missed”

this list belongs to a woman I admire very much, met once, and still owe her a coffee. she is a fan of my fascinators and I love her ukulele-playing and fanciful shoes…Joyce Seitzinger. I can almost hear her reading the title of this list in her cute accent.

“Team Anarchy”

wow. I hope I don’t get in trouble for being on this list. but I kind of also hope I get to wear a leather jacket.


well, this is just lovely. ’nuff said. (and for the record I LOVE the Twitter heart button).

“What If…?”

ok, this is the list I wish I’d created. Glad to be a part of this guy’s journey into the wild world of whatifs.

And now, for some deep thoughts on reputation..just perspectives to ponder on…

“the only happy author in this world is he who is below the care of reputation” – Washington Irving

“you can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do” – Henry Ford

“your reputation is in the hand of others…you can’t control that. the only thing you can control is your character” – Wayne Dyer

“the way to a good reputation is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear” – Socrates

#reputation #online #wolframalpha #joyceseitzinger #personalanalytics #korilyons #leonardodavinci #alanlevine #laurahilliger #whimsy #twitter #identity #juliedrybrough #amyburvall

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