Hyde and Friends: Talking about Groups

At first, I considered doing an Italian food blog, being that I love food and am Italian. However, I quickly scrapped the idea once I realized that I’d have to make a video pertaining to the blog; I wasn’t prepared to eat on camera, nor did I feel confident enough to cook on camera (my knife skills are still clumsy at best). Therefore, I decided on the next best topic: art. My original blog was meant for all artists of every variety: sculpting, painting, etc. I’ve dabbled in almost every artistic branch (save for glass-blowing and knitting), so I thought it’d be interesting to create a blog where artists of every sort could come together on one page and communicate, passing along their trade secrets. That idea was also scrapped, because when it came time to describe my target audience in the essay portion, I realized I had basically written “it caters to everybody.” Seeing my grade drop before my eyes, I immediately changed the blog to something more specific: drawing/sketching. After all, that’s what I’m best at (compared to the other branches). As I mentioned in the essay, I wanted my blog to be just as artistic as its content; hence, the green and orange. I found paintbrushes to be the most aesthetically-pleasing for my header picture (although, in hindsight, I probably should’ve used a row of markers or colored pencils, given that it’s a drawing blog). But hey, paintbrushes are artistic, so they still fit.

When I hear “group project,” I have to suppress the urge to loudly groan. I’m already not much of a “people person,” and when I’m forced to work with others in an academic setting, that gets even worse. I’m usually the nerd in the group who gets stuck doing all of the work, with none of the coldness needed to chew someone up in a peer review—that’s entirely my fault, I know, but it is what it is. Even if they deserve it, I can’t bring myself to put someone on the chopping block. Hyde and friends write, “Sharing of content alone does not directly lead to collaboration” (53). I’m not sure I agree. They continue to explain that “The content is the social object, and the author is directly attributed with it. The work is a singularity, even if it is shared with the world via these platforms, and even if it has a free-culture license on it. This body of work stands alone, and alone, this work is not collaborative” (53). In my experience, the singular work of one person, added to a shared space (such as a document on Google Drive) becomes collaborative; multiple singular parts coming together become a group product. It takes the “stand alone” work of many people in a group to create one final project. The definition of “collaborative work” should not be limited to something that is—from the ground up—worked on by several people at once.