Thursday, February 11, 2010

Am I a Luddite?

This may turn out to be a deep, cranky post. Or not.

I just attended a webinar. (I hate that word.) It was an overview of a presentation at a library conference I couldn't attend, so I suppose I should be glad I could get the content at all. I just wish they'd come up with a better word!

Anyway, it was called Tech Trends 2010... about new and emerging technologies and how libraries can tap into them. There was a lot of talk about iPhone apps, and smart phone apps, and mobile apps, and .... well. Apps. There were phrases like "augmented reality" and "you can annotate the physical world, virtually" and "you can log in to the place where you are." And of course there was talk about ebooks and ereaders and twitter and hulu and netflix and ... yeah.

I was one of about 50 folks participating. We were logged into GoToMeeting with a mike and a headset, watching powerpoint presentations and listening to the speakers and making comments and asking questions in a chat box. All good. Without this technology, I never would've gotten this content.

All four speakers automatically assumed that we all had smart phones, and spent hours a day with our eyes glued to the tiny little screen. They talked about being in the mall and having the ability to look up where the nearest libraries are and search their catalogs and see if they have a book. They talked about this application called Foursquare, where you tell your friends in Foursquare when you go somewhere with your iPhone. And win badges (which I suppose you look at and say, "I have this badge now!"). I think I agree with another participant - sounds like something a stalker would use! There's this other thing where you can take real photographs and add digital content (like a real picture of Abbey Road with a digital pic of the Beatles walking across it).

Here's where they lost me. How do these bits of technology actually improve my life? If I want to go to a library and check out a book, I'll go to the library. And I really don't want my "friends" to know that I've just gone into Piggly Wiggly. If I want to jump rope, I'll get a jumprope and, well, jump rope. I don't need a Wii to do that. I have a nice cell phone where I can call people and talk to them. I think it even has an alarm clock. But if I want to go online, I have a computer at home for that. Someone said recently that cell phone developers are all 20-year-olds. They must be, because they definitely don't take my 40-year-old eyes into account! Sorry.... that almost devolved into a rant. ::ahem::

But since I'm on a roll, I don't get Twitter, either. Though I do have a blog (obviously). Does that mean I just like stuff that gives me more than 140 characters to say what I want to say? And I have some other social media connections, like Facebook , and LibraryThing, and my newest favorite Delicious. But they all serve a practical purpose. I've reconnected with several good friends lost long ago on Facebook (though I draw the line at apps and games). I used LibraryThing to catalog our entire book collection (complete with call numbers). And I use Delicious to create a moveable, usable, portable list of bookmarks so I can log in and use it on any computer. So I embrace technology, at least the stuff that seems sensible and reasonable and practical and, well.... useful.

I spend ten or more hours a day in front of a computer at work. I don't one strapped to my hip the rest of my waking life. I want to be able to unplug on the weekends, and in the evening. So does this schizophrenic attitude towards technology and web 2.0 make me a Luddite?

1 comment:

Blondie said...

I am impressed that you stayed on past the first 10 minutes! :0)

As for Twitter, I just do not get it either. I feel like I am intruding on the conversations of others (which is different from FB because I actually KNOW those people). To me, it seems that you have to have hundreds of people following you AND hundreds of people to follow in order for it to 'work' - I don't have that kind of energy or time.

As for phone, I have an iPhone that I rarely use as a phone. I'm pretty much lost on the rest of the stuff, too. My apps include Disney apps (shocker, I know) and an app that will help me find a Starbucks in an unknown city. You know...useful things! :0)