Up to this point I have recognized benefits in most of the 2.0 technologies I've explored. Wikis: great for getting information about things from experts, from enthusiasts, from locals. Facebook: great for finding long-lost friends, but I stay away from the Wall. Who has time for that? Delicious: my favorite, the beacon for those seeking to turn chaos into order, to make things sortable and findable. Google docs: what to use when you don't have a flash drive, or when you're worried about losing your opus to a computer snafu, or when you need to run a group project around the group. Flickr is fun, inspiring creativity, saving shipping space in email, making it so easy to pass around pictures to far-flung friends and family. Blogs...well, here I am, a lifelong diarist with a new venue.
But Twitter? This seems a tool fraught with peril. It's a great way to get relevant breaking news. "Your child's school is closing in 30 minutes due to weather." "Obama wins." But the potential for misuse is big. And tempting. The tutorial I saw today gushed about the ability to broadcast messages about the most mundane thoughts and chores. "Mmm coffee..." that sort of thing. This is a good Thing? This is progress? Honestly, I am a busy person; I don't want to be interrupted by tweets announcing that you are enjoying your coffee. These will annoy me and cause me to view you as self-absorbed and lazy (don't you have anything better to do than to think I have nothing better to do than follow your coffee break?) Worse, though, is the use described in Time magazine today (Oct. 5, 2009, page 64): Companies are paying regular folks to plug products to their Twitter followers via a site called Sponsored Tweets. ($29 per tweet. Nice money.) Parents and lovers and teen BFFs might be willing to get those "what are you doing?" glimpses about morning coffee and walking the dog, but when advertisements start to roll in, disguised as greetings, is there anyone who won't draw the line and silence the bird?
But gosh, $29 a Tweet is probably more than I can make as a librarian...
My new Flickr account is named Darcie's Pix. In the spirit of librarianship, I uploaded photos of our cats, past and present. At this point the pix are for friends and family. (Must go back to the site and admit some friends and family... ) Don't like Yahoo asking for gender, birthdate, postal code, etc. I couldn't create an account without giving the information. Why?
Thing 6: Flickr Plus: Mashups and More
The photo-plus-map combo looks really interesting. Plus lots of fun toys for those with a digital artistic bent. The Learning 2.0 head was constructed with someone's mashup application, a Thing I can imagine dabbling with when I have the time (ha!) to create photo albums and any other nice visuals to share.
THING 4: Sign up for Twitter (replaces official Thing 4)
What have I done?
I signed up for Twitter. Followers are involved. Not sure if they are following me or I am following them. Reminiscent of stalking.
I added NPR and the New Yorker, but am not sure what "adding" them is setting in motion. Will I get news scoops? That was my intention. Ads?? Ugh. Hmm. I should look for SLIS. Or the CCBC. Or a favorite library or librarian...
It was a little bit fun and a little bit creepy (okay, maybe a lot creepy) to see all kinds of people from my past pop up with photos and everything because at some time in the past we have emailed and this Twitter Thing has connected all the dots. Past romances, past colleagues, businesses in places where I no longer live. Is there such a Thing as the past any longer, other than a past that will haunt you? CHECK 9/21/2009
Thing 1: Intro to the 23 THINGS. How can you not get a little excited by the promise of playing with all these new toys? Pat yourself on the back, they say. And start having fun. CHECK 9/19/2009
Thing 2: Lifelong Learning Lecture. The 7 (and 1/2) habits of lifelong learning are divulged and explained, and we are prompted to fill out a LL contract and to reflect on the habits that are the easiest and the most difficult for us. The easiest is #2: Accept responsibility for my own learning. At my age, I welcome every chance to exercise the gray cells and refresh the connections among synapses, and I have nobody else's agenda to contend with. The hardest... well, several pose some degree of difficulty. #3: View problems as challenges, for example. If I am tired or in a rush, I am less likely to see the opportunity in a crisis, although I agree with the overall concept. Or #5: Create a learning toolbox -- Books, classes, Web pages, friends, no problem, but I am a little fearful of new technologies (is this going to blow up my computer?), and I have to overcome a certain amount of reticence to seek mentors. Habit #6: Use technology to your advantage -- again, there is that Fear Factor, but on the other hand, I'm here, blogging! And I want to learn these other Things (*gulp*). CHECK 9/19/2009
Thing 3: Create a Blog. Ta-da! Can I just point out, though, that it's not quite as easy as they make it sound. First, even though I have a gmail account, I couldn't sign in with it. (Fortunately, I have Friends (see Habit #5) who provided solutions. Also, did anyone else have a hard time reading the string of characters that you had to recognize and key in? Sheesh! Accurate transcription required not only good vision but also excellent powers of gestalt reasoning plus a dash of sheer luck. In other words, I got it wrong a couple of times before I got it right. CHECK 9/19/2009