Posts Tagged ‘networking’

Being from Maine originally, I know how people take pride in saying “You can’t get there from here” to tourists in an attempt to get them frustrated so they won’t come back.  Pretty funny too, since those tourism dollars are about the only thing keeping the state open.

I feel like that tourist, however, when it comes to the mobile device world. I’m one of the few humans left with only a flip phone. I pay $30 a month for 1500 minutes, of which I used 70 last month. I don’t consider myself alien to computers: in both libraries I work in, people depend on me to setup, fix, or explain computers. People ask me about apps on devices, ebook readers, and other web questions, and even if I haven’t used their device before, I can usually figure it out. So people equate me with technology.

Except I don’t do much of it outside of work.

I don’t really have any reason to text or call someone. The doctor’s office calls to remind me of appointments. My phone reminds me my $30 is almost expired. I am on Facebook, but see little reason to use it. Many of my “friends” are former students who don’t really keep in touch, nor would I expect them too. I’ll post about something during a Red Sox game or share an article, but not much else. I am on Twitter…didn’t use it for  year and no one messaged asking if I was still alive. I have Skype, which I only use now when I need to contact my ex-wife. I don’t get why anyone would use Foursquare and tell people where they are or what they’re doing. I just don’t see the fascination.  I do have an iPod Touch of which the battery runs down fast and many places don’t have free wifi so it isn’t that helpful.

There are times I wished I had a smartphone, but those times are few and far between. Did I really need to check email in the waiting room since I checked it when I got home and there was nothing anyway? I must be doing something tragically wrong in life because everyone else uses these things. I even went to the mall kiosk to ask them what I should get for a smartphone. He asked me what I do now, and I told him about very few minutes on my phone, few texts, no games, etc. and he said I didn’t need one. He may have been a lousy salesman, but I guess he was honest.

My friend Jack, who was nearing 80 at the time and now deceased, used to meet me for coffee at Starbucks. We would talk all things liberal politics and social issues, philosophy, theology, sociology, psychology…and smartphones. Jack always wanted to figure out if he needed one because everyone else did. He would drive to the stores just to ask the workers what their opinion was. They all told him he didn’t need one, but he wasn’t satisfied. He did the same with a Mac Book or other computer I’ve since forgotten. He found that after months of asking questions and reading reviews from everywhere, he would go and buy stuff…I remember computers, an iPod Touch (he seriously grilled me on), etc. But then he would never use them because once he realized what they did, he saw little use.

I wonder if I’m becoming the same way. In my case, it is career driven in that I need to know the latest stuff so I can help people with theirs. But what is wrong with me in that these things have no value for me personally? I’ve created accounts on Goodreads, Ning, wikispaces, Flickr, Picasa, Tumblr, Ebay, Scrbd, Feedly, and I don’t know how many others, and have rarely used them. Then there was meetup, which became a big disappointment. Unlike Jack, I don’t spend money for these things,  but do spend time on things I think will benefit my life, but find I never use them. Don’t even remember most of the passwords.

Perhaps I am just a curmudgeon after all. Perhaps it is because I really don’t have anyone to share anything with anymore. But there are those on the opposite extreme with 700 “friends” on Facebook whose lives are shallow and need the confirmation of people clicking “like” about their posts and all that stuff that makes me gag. Maybe they really do know all 700 of them, and could sit down like Jack and I and say exactly what you think and feel about anything. But I doubt it.

Perhaps this social age is shallow, as people realize they really don’t have true friendships or relationships anymore and this facade makes them feel good. Or maybe it’s just the opposite. Maybe social relationships are that much better now because of different avenues of connection, and connections which were never possible before this era.

I don’t know. I just know I find little connection with all of this. I can tinker with things and get others connected, but I find very little for myself to connect to. I guess I somehow need to become mobile and relevant and have reasons to text and post because you can no longer separate career from personal life. So I guess I’ll stop and ask directions and hope someone points me in the right direction.

I must be somewhere between a curmudgeon and technolust. My cell phone story is probably my technolust- thinking I need one because everyone has one, and to understand the LIS world I need one too. That could be true, but when you don’t use what you have because it really doesn’t impact your life, then I guess you are a curmudgeon.

I like Michael’s discussion of “learning everywhere”


and a couple of things stood out. In the comments section of “learning everywhere” he said this in response to a commenter saying she was an introvert:

My other comment is something that has been on my mind a lot. Introverts may find less opportunity for individual work in current and future libraries. I want my graduates to be versed in interpersonal communication, collaboration of all kinds and teaching (from groups to individuals). I’m believe the jobs that include solitary work cut off from the public will dwindle.

I work with people all the time in teaching and assisting in the library and classroom, so I wouldn’t consider myself Grizzly Adams living alone in the wilderness. But having recently read a very accurate, in my opinion, Huffington Post article on 23 signs you are an introvert (and realizing all but 2-3 don’t apply to me), I am confused in how I fit into this constantly connected “learning everywhere” society. One statement from the article stands out particularly in regards to our class/career:

Networking (read: small-talk with the end goal of advancing your career) can feel particularly disingenuous for introverts, who crave authenticity in their interactions.

The solution, the article states in the next paragraph is that introverts need to “network in small, intimate groups rather than at large mixers.” I am not opposed to networking, but it does, as the article says, feel phony. It would be like me texting someone completely out of the blue right now. Why would I? What would I say? What would someone say if they texted me? I have very few with whom I do and even then it takes me by surprise. I’m not sure what to do about all of this.

I know a PLN is based on your own uniqueness and I should work more at building one. It just feels foreign to me to be “connected” to hundreds of people I really don’t know. But the same feeling happens in “real” life as well. It amazes me how just recently a friend was asking me where my wife was…nearly a year and a half after the divorce. This person has seen me several times a month at gatherings, and even spoken to me several times, always seeing me alone. She may as well be a screename of someone I have never met for as well as she really knows me. Maybe I should have texted everybody and used up my minutes.

Can I grow into this, or will I always be the red shoes in a closet of white ones (#3 on the HuffPost article), trying to fit in to something alien to who I am? In any event, I have a long way to go in learning and applying these ideas of the mobile, the creation creators, and the new literacies we need to embrace.


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I really struggle with the “continuous computing” idea, even though my laptop is mostly on while I’m home. I’ve always been an introverted person, which is ironic because web 2.0 is really a great thing because there are connections impossible before. But still, with all the 2.0 stuff, I find myself alone and on the outside looking in.

Students in the school are always texting or using their phone. That’s a given. No brainer there. But everywhere I go people are talking, texting, or getting beeped. Facebook is always on; tweets are done for the silliest of things. I just want to know what the hell is so important. But I have a much different perspective, if you allow me to digress.

I was an only child who attended a private religious school. There were 15 in my graduating class. I went to a small religious college and seminary to prepare for ministry. I ministered to very small congregations. I’ve never had a problem speaking in public, and found I really enjoy teaching and philosophical discourse. I’ve always been the one to listen to others who needed someone to talk to.

Well, I’m now stuck trying to explain my whole life here, but I am trying to get to some points. Both parents are now deceased. My wife of 16 years left me last year. We had no children. Extended family (none close physically or otherwise) total about 6. I was a minister for 8 years in three locations and we moved so many times building connections and friendships didn’t happen. Half way through those 8 years, I knew I was no minister and basically lost all faith once I started doing more study and contemplation. I consider myself agnostic today.

I nearly dropped the SLIS program but realized it is all I have left. I feel at home in the library world, as ALL people are truly accepted and I don’t have to be ashamed about the organization I represent. I live for questions, research, and intellectual discussion. The majority of what I call “friends” are mostly work colleagues. I know a lot of people, and in my library job I believe I have left a lasting impact on students and faculty. Leaving the church disconnected me from the only network I had, and a free-thinker isn’t exactly embraced in that tradition. While it was a relief to leave, much of my identity was intertwined with this and having no real hobbies, have been trying to re-connect with myself.

The constant computing thing though has me baffled. I have a Facebook page but little interaction. Many are former students. I have a Twitter I see no reason to tweet about. I follow library blogs, and have my own blog. I still have a flip phone because (and I have looked into this for a long while) I see no need to pay a ridiculous price for something I don’t even use now. If I use 300 of 1500 minutes for $30 month, that is rare. I know how to use smartphones, but see no need for one. Emails are mostly professional.

I seem to be missing something when it comes to this networking thing. There is a blurring now of personal and professional. I still have found teachers at school who don’t own any electronic devices or even have a computer or home email. How can you be effective? I am certainly not like that, yet in a constantly connected world feel disconnected often.

I am trying not to make this negative, so if it reads this way my apologies. I tend to reflect on these things. A web 2.0, hyperlinked world has many possibilities and potential. I have no idea what relevance this entry has in the big picture of this class, but I wonder how many in this hyperlinked society feel the same way? How many out there also feel on the outside looking in? The tools we use and are discussing in this class have the potential for creating community and memory, connections and careers, so I am hopeful such will be the case.

Thanks for listening. And thanks to the blog and course for allowing the conversation that may have been silent in a different day.

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