The Die is Cast
I suppose it was only a matter of time before the floodgates finally opened to allow an unstoppable wave of technology to engulf every aspect of my professional life. The only unresolved question has always been not whether it would happen, but whether or not I would be the one opening the gates or the heroic figure standing defiantly in its path until swept away by the deluge. As fatalistic – some might say dramatic – as all of that sounds, it isn’t quite so surprising once you learn that I say it as someone who, until very recently, has resisted purchasing even a cellular telephone. Frankly, I have thus far been quite content with the relative tranquility and anonymity afforded me by my off-grid life. It isn’t that I am incapable of understanding technology – I can find my way around a help screen as well as the next guy – but I have struggled to see a practical purpose for the so-called “social media tools,” particularly as they relate to my work. I do not, however, profess to be a Luddite, resisting every new contrivance of the technological revolution. Believe me when I say that I have striven to see the point of it all, and even confess to having, on rare occasions and in moments of weakness, allowed my curiosity to get the better of me by reviewing a few tweets and forum postings to see what the great fuss is all about, only to have my worst fears confirmed: that social media is just a bunch of self-referential, quotidian hooey, with little or no discernable purpose. More often than not these short excursions into the realm of social medial merely end up reaffirming what I have always believed: that many people often fail to grasp the subtle difference between thinking that you have something worth saying and saying anything because you think you must.
I’ll concede that my attitude has changed a little of late, and that change was precipitated during lunch recently at The Gallery in Baltimore with my partner in this endeavor (who happens to have worked for many years in defining business and media strategy for Web operations and publishing). Aside from the irony of our respective positions on the subject, when juxtaposed our opinions are congruent on one key point: like any tool placed in the hands of a novice, social media can be little more than noise generators delivering little in the way of appreciable results. What started out as lunch ended up feeling a little like an intervention! We talked for a while about options for applying social media both strategically and tactically to my work. While by no means a convert, I suppose if pressed I would have to agree that my lack of interest in developing a strategic Web presence has been making it harder for people to gain access to and collaborate with me on my work. Consequently, I did agree to at least try it out, with the caveat that I would need all the available help and guidance that I could get. The result is that I am now signed up with facebook, twitter, and have created this site as a platform for blogging and a repository for my works.
Clearly I am not one who could be accused of being an “early-adopter” of technology. I know, for example, that blogging has been around for almost ten years now, and it is almost with a sense of pride that I say that I have faithfully resisted writing one during all of that time, although I confess to a few contributions to those of others. Is it just me or does the very word “Blog” sound ugly? It strikes me as something that one might find embedded in a Harry Potter book – I can almost imagine the young wizard placing a blog on somebody, or stumbling upon a slimy blog in some mythical misty forest of Maughn. But I digress.
The last week or so has been spent grappling with coming to terms with the seemingly intricate pieces of the online puzzle and the associated vocabulary (domain name registration, hosting services, blogging platforms, plugins, widgets, etc.), but now it all finally seems to be shaping up quite nicely. Strangely enough, one of the most difficult tasks turned out to be not the technology but the process of gathering and sorting the various works I have created over the years, and then trying to figure out where they are currently available and which access platform or publisher is currently providing access to them. Not inconsequential was the process of settling on a photograph that I would be comfortable with falling into the public domain. So far, this has all been somewhat of a process of adjustment, and would be fair to say that I’m not quite ready to declare that the scales have fallen from my eyes or anything quite so biblical, but certainly the frustrations encountered in gathering, organizing, and updating my work into something that could be posted as useful online content have rather underscored the point that my lack of a cohesive Web presence must certainly present challenges for those trying to find me or my works.
All in all, I’d have to say that I am pleased with my progress but not quite comfortable saying that I have been dragged kicking and screaming into the new age (O tempora, O mores!); perhaps the image of being nudged along whilst dragging my feet and muttering under my breath captures it better. So, where does it go from here? Well, frankly, I am not quite sure where it will all lead. Self-referential and quotidian hooey it may all very well turn out to be, and I will endeavor to do my best to keep things focused on my work, but one thing is for sure, now that the die has been cast there is likely no turning back. Alea iacta est!Domain Name, Hosting, Social Media