17.11.04

Blog Thoughts (Part Three)

Yesterday a friend forwarded me a .wmv file captioned "Old Habits Die Hard". It showed a woman typing away on her keyboard and then slamming her computer off the desk as she atavistically hit the return lever. Remember those?

Also yesterday, another friend started a Yahoogroup and a website (which could hold a blog and a forum and... and...) for the group of neighbors that are protesting a housing development in their area.

And, also yesterday, Karen Schneider wrote on her blog:
And frankly, though I believe in Hot Tech and Ubiquitous Computing and all that, the best part of the CLA presentations was that the audience members were listening to what I had to say. Which is where I have a bone to pick with my biblish buddies Michael Stephens and Steven Cohen, who are at Internet Librarian wondering where the bloggers are, because they are one of a handful of people blogging during the presentations.

Yeah, I know it's called multitasking, and I know the NextGens think it's hot. But I think it too often can be an excuse for solipsism. Just when you should be all eyes and ears for someone else, what are you doing? Blogging!

As an adjunct library science instructor, far too often I have had to walk around the room and say Shut Down That PC And Listen. I have seen the pouts, the lower lips pushed out, the dagger eyes. I have said Shut It Down Anyway. If nothing else, you are paying good money for me to bore you.


All this blog/computer activity got me thinking about technophobes vs. technophanatics. While I'm not accusing any of the above of being the latter, they don't have too much sympathy for the former. Me? I'm somewhere in-between, trying to figure out which technology I like, which I don't and how to integrate that into my life in a meaningful and helpful way.

For example, I use Quicken to pay my bills and keep track of expenses and my checkbook. But I can still do manual double-entry accounting, should I ever need to. Part of me misses those green columned pads and Fred, my TI calculator, sits on the floor of my living room. Using the computer makes it a little easier in terms of playing with the numbers and, since the advent of Check 21 and on-line billpaying, it's probably good to have kept up with the times.

Last January I made a conscious effort to write to friends. I have stationery and a fountain pen, and I used them. I got a number of responses back that said, in effect, "I loved getting your letter... I hope you don't mind my e-mailing my response." Well, yes, I do mind. Getting letters is fun. Getting e-mail is, well, everyday stuff. I do have one penpal and we correspond, but beyond that my mailbox is bereft of communication with friends and family (except at holiday and birthday time, when they still manage to get cards into the mail - but how long with that last?).

My friend that started the blog is one of those computer tweakers - downloading cracks for programs that he'll only use once or twice but thinks are "cool", lecturing all about the way their computers are set up, using VOIP services, etc.. He spends a lot of time frustrated with people that aren't interested in learning to be as advanced as he. Back in the "good old days", mimeographing announcements and coffee sessions to discuss the latest information took a lot of time and effort. Creating a website and a newsgroup is more modern, certainly but it's also more distancing: there's no "neighborliness" there.

Yes, I blog. But, as stated before, it's really for me and I often see it as sort of a journal that I can share (like these "Blog Thoughts" posts). I could use an old fashioned diary just as easily, but then the venting aspect wouldn't take place. For me, it's sometimes like writing that really hate-filled letter to an ex or a teacher or whomever and then burning it. You got the feelings out, but no harm done. Here are thoughts I want to share and it's up to people to decide if they want to share in them. Given my site stats, not many do and that's ok.

I recognize that this is the right tool for me to use right now. It might not be later: I may start a real diary or I may move to another forum or who knows what the future holds. But it's the tool that matters, and knowing when and how to use it properly.

My final thoughts for today are remembering a keynote speaker at a conference I attended a couple of years ago. He was extolling the wonders of the Palm and how everyone would be using them in school in the future (more on that in a later post). During the Q&A, I asked how we were teaching students about choosing the right tool for the right job and if we weren't pushing Palms as the cure-all rather than as one choice. He responded that "everyone" was using Palms and to get used to it. Then someone asked how large the IT department at his school was. He pulled out a piece of paper on which he'd written the response.

'nuff said.

1 comment:

Aravis said...

I have enjoyed reading your thoughts on blogging. You've given me a lot to think about. Site stats aside, I hope you continue to blog for a long time; I look forward to reading what you share with us. :0)