Join Master Smith as he explores yet another one of Indonesia great island getaways, Gili Trawangan.
I like to write things on paper. It feels strangely nostalgic. A faint air of rebellion takes me as if making an affront on the paperless society. Then, a barrage of SMS arrive, one of a dozen open chats windows chime, three emails signal their arrival in my inbox, and the phone on my desk rings. OK, I lied about the phone. In this hybrid world of paper and digital, new forms of information continually assault us with little regard for how to track it.
Taking notes will always remain a vital skill. It is part of the learning process. Do not be lulled by those offering presentation slides or annotated hand outs. First and foremost, note taking focuses us on the task at hand. Pay attention now, multitask less later. Just because you can, does not mean you should. Two, it helps us identify important data. Be it a theory, a question, or a deep thought to reflect upon later, note it! We are all too busy and insights can easily be lost. Three, taking notes gives us something portable that we can fall back on later. Yes, nearly everything is searchable online these days, but with information doubling every couple of years, you need notes to stay engaged.
Although pencil and paper are not my go to note taking tool these days, I do take copious notes. Be it through email, digital pictures, virtual post its, actual note taking software like Evernote, Google Docs, creating help desk tickets for me to track, or digital scribbles on my iPad, I record the most import pieces of data to recall and reference. If anything, I have too many notes. I can never find them all to review in time. I find myself at times making notes on how to keep track of notes.
Last week, a colleague was talking about students having too many different types of information to study. The ensuing discussion revolved around the idea of building a content management system to help students track all their data. More on that in future posts. My question, who is building your content management system to help you through this data rich world?
I have wrestled with the concept of friendship and what effect the Internet has upon it for some time. Are our virtual friends any less real? Can you really know someone you never met ? How does a virtual friend get you out of jail? -thoughtful pause- Eventually, I came to realize that long before the Internet, we quantified our friends, best, good, old, etc. To me, what is so intriguing and perplexing about virtual friends is they represent an entirely new category while adding new depth and dimensions to existing categories. Yes, some new friends may exist only in the virtual, but existing friends can leverage technology to be more inclusive and collaborative in our lives.
Best friends are those who I will travel to the ends of the earth for. These friends span many continents and exist both the physically and virtually. We are users of technology, yet are not only bound by technology. They are my most trusted advisors. Good friends, like best friends, I share a bond with. No, not an end of the earth bond, but one critical to my well being none the less. Currently, I am blessed with a great group. They are my go to friends when I need something tweaked, feedback, or a little crowd sourcing. I have not met them all, but I know I can count on them. Occasional friends are my friends with a speciality. A unique bond exists between us, yet it usually centers around one particular aspect or interest. I usually want more from these friends, but there is never enough time to move beyond their speciality. Online friends are the individuals I encountered along my journey. We share something in common and it is often largely superficial. Online friends may become more, but generally we are happy with the demands to maintain our online friendship, updates in fragmented pieces. Old friends drift across our paths sporadically.They used to rank among our best and good friends. We still love them dearly and will go to great lengths to keep them. Could be friends are my biggest regret. There is something happening around them that I want to be part of, but my life keeps interrupting. To me, they are a product and a causality of technology. I hold a lot of them yet we can never move beyond the online.
Friendships take time. They are complicated and often painful. Uncertainly and doubt plagues them from time to time. Without care, maintenance or new ones, it becomes difficult to define ourselves. Who are we without friends? Technology can fast track new friendships, preserve existing ones, and work to the detriment of others. As life fundamentally changes, we must use technology to get to know people we have never met in person. No, technology may never be able to satisfy that in person desire, still do not let it prevent you from making virtual friends. And in any online adventure, keep your common sense handy. If someone seems to good to be true, they probably probably are not your friend.
I feel so inspired reading these blogs of my colleagues. I keep thinking about if I just had more time? I could write more and get in the game. Oh yeah, I am in the game. Maybe I’m in the wrong game? Or maybe it’s still first half?
OK, so lots of people talk about making more time? How do you they do it? I could just not do one of the majorly important projects that come across my screen? Like make technology do something someone dreamed up without consulting me before and already has promised it to dozens of people. I could just dedicate some of that time to blog time? No, probably that would not work out too well. -exhale-
So, how do we make time work? I unfortunately keep coming back to priorities and the need to decide what is less important. Honestly, I do not like this. In the back of my mind, I feel I am a really an unstructured go with it kind of person. I can work without and agenda and get it all done. Yet as this digital world evolves, I now seem to be this person with a schedule. When did that happen? And I’m the person running after others to say go slow and do not push the envelope. For over forty years, I was head of the envelop pushing department.
Maybe making time is a myth? Maybe less is more is the new reality that no one ever tells you has been here for years. It’s easy, you just have to choose to not do something. Or care less about something. Almost never do you hear, “hey, this stuff over here, do not worry about that many more.” It’s more like, “great job keeping those thirty balls in the air, now just keep these three more in the air and we are good.” Well, good for this week.
Let me tell you Cyberfaithful, it can get old fast if it hits you at the wrong time on the wrong day.
At times, like waves, our desire is stronger to get there.
Image by roadman22