The Moon as Social Media

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Well, yes. It gets our attention (if we’re paying attention). It reaches everyone. When you look up, you’re seeing the same thing everyone else sees when they look up. A message only a couple of seconds old (how’s that for “real time”?). The moon is the most universal form of social media: current, universal, and free–as long as your connection isn’t obscured by fog or clouds. Tonight’s Super Harvest Blood Moon (a rare total eclipse happening at the same time as the moon’s perigee–or closest point to the earth in its orbit) is a sensational message.




Life Before Internet: From Dinosaurs to the Divine


(Source Unknown)

I recently read an article on LinkedIn entitled What it feels like to be the last generation to remember life before the internet by Magali Lopez, Ed.D. She discusses two recent books that examine the qualitative, everyday difference between socializing online and off, and noting that it is easy to judge your own worth on how many “likes” your profile picture has gotten. I am one of those who has experienced both the BI and the AI (Before Internet and After Internet) worlds. Working all day with, and being a mom to, millennial generation adolescents, I have had a chance to observe first-hand the difference the Internet has made in our lives.

1) Constant Connection — Millennial teens always have a smart phone within buzzing distance, and it goes off literally thousands of times a day. Whether it’s a text message or a SnapChat or an Instagram picture, they’re in constant touch with their network. I personally would find this maddening, but it is accepted as a commonplace part of life. Sometimes I wonder why I’m so unpopular–why don’t I get a thousand buzzes a day? Another aspect of constant connectedness is the willingness to share everything–pictures, information, opinions, etc–online. I think my generation was taught to be a lot less sharing with information.

2) The Deification of Technology–While millennials are quick to adopt and learn to use new technologies, I have noticed that the word and concept of “technology” has taken on an almost mystical status among non-millennials (BI’s), who are always looking forward to the next “best thing.” Tech developers create a mystique around newer, smaller, gadgets and faster, more biometric, more geo-location capable apps. Voice, fingerprint, and face recognition technologies are emerging into the consumer electronics sector. It’s true that data can be measured, tabulated, and communicated in modes many orders higher than previously. It is also true that following Moore’s Law, the speed and efficiency of technological devices doubles approximately every two years. And it is futher true, as Arthur C. Clarke remarked, that “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” That which we can’t understand must be magic. Businesses, individuals, and the education industry are swept up in the promise of this new, magical technology, which to some seems to take on almost divine proportions. Its followers are the believers who don’t yet fully understand its scope or implications, but who nonetheless sense that by purchasing on the “cutting edge,” they are headed toward the light of superior knowledge and power. They know innately that it is better to be associated with those who have the latest technology than with those who don’t. Companies such as Apple and Google capitalize on the magic, almost religious cachet of their products, perpetuating the heat-seeking cult of the techno-divine.

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The Timex Sinclair 1000 (1982) (

Mental Break

Lake at Arboretum

Hi faithful followers. It might appear that I have lost interest in blogging lately. Au contraire. I have been morphing into a new career instantiation: that of librarian. I am now a full-time high school librarian, working on a Master’s in Library and Information Science. I find it fascinating to be studying the science of information per se. Of course I have been on a somewhat steep learning curve with regard not only to the job, but also the technology. And it’s all about the technology. A large part of my job is to help adolescents become informed information users. While I love the job, and I see the need to educate students in critical thinking and analysis, I find the concept of teaching these kids technology a bit ironic. Let me explain why. I just finished writing a 21-page research paper on how to make libraries essential communities for teens in the 21st century. All of the research was about how teens use technology and how they find information.

The truth is that this is the first generation to be “born digital”–the storied Millennials. They do everything digitally. In fact, I rely on them to teach me how to use technology. Just today I learned how to use SnapChat. Tomorrow, InstaGram. And then … the world! The irony lies also in the fact that now that now that Google and YouTube and Wikipedia can find and teach you anything you want to know, libraries are looking for ways to remain relevant to users. The Internet is disruptive technology. We are in a state of redefining what constitutes information, where it resides, who makes it, how we communicate it. This shakes the very foundations of our cultural institutions, libraries being a major one.

Lots of libraries are now creating “maker” spaces for the public in general, and adolescents in particular, where people get together and, well, make things. 3D Printers are becoming a popular item in libraries, partly because they fascinate with their novelty, and partly because they are fun. Partly, also, because they can replicate or create anything you can program them to “print”: machine parts, models, sculptures, dinnerware … I recently saw a TV program where a 3D printer was used to create a part to restore a headlamp in an antique car (which was then driven in the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run).One of the justifications for owning a 3D printer is that patrons can use them to create things they need and might not otherwise be able to obtain (specialized parts for a garden hose, a toy, a machine). One young man who had suffered an injury that took away some of his fingers even found plans for a prosthetic hand and was able to print one out and use it. (Amazing!) So access to manufacturing things on a small scale democratizes the whole idea of consumerism.

The semester just ended in my master’s program, so I’m taking a mental break for a few weeks.

Look for my posts again when I’m more caught up on my sleep! :)

red poppies