on and off the bandwagon

  • update 9/5/05 9:55 pm CST: Flickr link at the bottom is now fixed and will actually take you to pictures and not to Wired article

I am late to jump on many bandwagons, and, quite often, just simply late. Last weekend, which now seems impossibly long ago, I took a trip home (though I spend most of my time in Chicagoland these days, I’m still an Iowa resident, and Iowa City is still home) to do a few things and see some friends. It was in the course of hanging out with my friends that I realized that in the last six months or so, I have started to speak another language.

A few examples:

  • “I’m sorry I never read your site, but OpenDiary doesn’t have an RSS feed.”
  • “Oh, you’ve got a blog for your radio show? Send me the url and I’ll add it to my aggregator.”
  • “The camera’s just on loan, but I’ll just upload the pictures to Flickr and then I’ll be able to post them wherever.”

I got a lot of blank looks from my friends, who, as you may surmise, are not technologically oriented. They are very smart people. Most of them graduate students at the University of Iowa; the rest are the over-educated, under-employed types one finds around a college town. I don’t consider any of them hopelessly uninformed. But I now inhabit, at least part of the time, this whole world that most of them are only barely aware of.

Now that I’ve found this world, I’d never want to leave it behind, but my visit home was a little reminder that it is, in many ways, still a small and insular community. I love RSS and think it is one of the greatest things since the resurgence of decent bread, but I’ve been reminded that it’s not part of the picture for a lot of people and that, for the most part, they are getting by just fine without it.

You’ve probably heard about different kinds of learners (visual, oral, etc.) and different kinds of intelligence (emotional, intellectual, practical). There are also different ways of gathering information. I get most of my news from the radio, though when I lived in Iowa City, I also read the Daily Iowan in its hard copy version. I got an iPod for Christmas, and while it’s a nifty little device, at least a third of my music collection is still on LP and cassette. In my car at the moment all I have is radio, and thus when I’m driving around on my dogwalking route, I mostly (shudder) listen to commercial rock stations, since “Fresh Air” loses something when heard in 5 minute chunks with 20 minute gaps in between.. I did listen to a bunch of Greg’s podcasts on my drive home (I don’t have one of those handy gadgets that will play your iPod through your radio, so I did this by listening through one ear bud), and they were pretty great, but I don’t know that I’m going to get hooked on podcasting. My friends are mostly not tapped into the world of feeds and aggregators and social bookmarking, and that’s okay.

I started this blog with the idea that it would be a way to show fellow grad students about the wonderfulness of library-land blogs, which I now realize was kind of a nutty idea. I continued it, though, because I was getting so much out of it, which seems like a fine reason. And now just as I’ve learned that lots of people are considering jumping off the Flickr bandwagon, I’m jumping on. I don’t actually own a digital camera, so posts will be few and far between, but I did borrow my mother’s while I was home for the weekend and put together a little tour of Iowa City (only the parts I like, and only some of them). Take a look if you like (and remember I’ve never used a digital camera before). Enjoy!

2 thoughts on “on and off the bandwagon”

  1. Laura, You may find in time that feeling that you are in a distant world from your old friends will only get worse (unless of course you move back to Iowa City and stay in close contact). The unshared experiences sometimes baffle old friends, especially if you have gone far away. The silver lining is when you find a friend (who usually also has gone far away) and she/he know just what you are talking about – the recognition of common experience is wonderful.

    The technology differences are only a tip of the iceberg.

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