Beyond the Blogosphere: a Virtual World Book Discussion

Name of Event: Book Discussion with Aaron Barlow & Robert Leston- “Beyond the Blogsphere: Information and Its Children

Community Virtual Library Auditorium on Info Island in Second Life

Sunday, July 22@ 11am SLT (Pacific Time)

For anyone interested in the impact of the Internet on education, society, journalism, and our lives, this book sheds light on today’s digital culture. For information professionals, the concepts presented are important and timely. The authors compare the Internet to a “book of sand”.

Page 51 “…[the book of sand] is the Internet, but without the possibility of organization, is information but with no system (or no discernible system), the centuries old-nightmare of the librarian and, today, of every serious researcher working through the web.”

Feel free to pass this invitation along to anyone interested. The book is a fascinating read, but it isn’t necessary to have read it to participate in the book discussion.

The balance of personal / professional

Blogs are like personal diaries where each unique voice is important.  Blogs are also a new collaborative resource which can help us in professional growth.  I have had this nagging feeling of misunderstanding about whether the purpose of a blog should be personal or professional- I mean it almost seems like they are opposites.  I have always been fascinated by opposites (I could blog for hours on that topic and seriously need to tag that word) (OK-done!  Here’s my opposites blog!).  Social networking, digital media and blogs have changed what I like to call “the hierarchy of information.”  IMHO, the balance of personal and professional writing is no longer clear.  This would make a great dissertation topic!  decisions, decisions…

Free Blog (at a price)

So it turns out edublogs now allows “contentlink” ads to appear within my free educational blog.  I have investigated the possibility of ridding my blog of these annoying ads.  Now I read that in order to have an “ad-free” blog, I must pay an annual subscription.  It is difficult for a reader to distinguish my intentional links from these random advertisements.  I suppose this is another example of constantly changing technology.  As an educator, one can spend many hours learning a new technology tool which ends up becoming useless, unnecessary, or suddenly obsolete.  There is still one benefit, however, because each new learning experience provides skills that make the next one just a bit easier.

The secret to digital happiness is getting comfortable with change.


In the back of my mind I have struggled with the concept of “blogging” since the moment I encountered it.  As a writing trainer, I have spent many summers training teachers on the recursive writing process.  A writer is encouraged to revisit writing again and again to revise.  The writer takes an idea and revisits it to form word pictures that can vividly express thought (hopefully) to a particular audience.  Blogging, imho, is quite different.  I am not certain where revision fits, I am not certain of my audience…the only thing of which I am certain is my willingness to learn and share what I learn.  Perhaps my audience is nobody.  “I’m nobody, who are you?”

For some reason, however, my blog has kept a focus on themes and topics within the field of librarianship.  While that is not surprising (and I do feel I ramble on about personal perspective entirely too much), I seem to have steered clear of other interests: music, faith, philosophy, cooking, hiking, and so on.  The topic of blogging falls into my goal of investigating current technology tools for the purpose of information delivery and education.

Writers must be willing to take risks- being misunderstood, making mistakes that are exposed to the reader.  As more people are writing through new technological modes, publishing opportunities have changed.  Anyone can publish on the web through blogging.  I have felt this sense that my blog is contributing to a huge mass of trivial electronic clutter of little value. My ears perked up when I heard of a book with the title Everything is Miscellaneous by David Weinberger.  We now live in the age of push-technology instead of pull-technology (in the words of librarian Joyce Valenza), where society provides the bulk of information instead of a “top-down” hierarchy.  This video by Michael Wesch shows that change better than anything I can say: Information R/evolution.  (Watch in high-quality.)

Happy Blogday to Me!!

I just happened to notice that I started this blog two years ago today.  Hmmm…interesting to note that I feel like I have learned so much and yet have so much left to learn.  I am as clueless as when I started because technology is a gigantic mountain for me to climb.  It’s a good thing I like mountain climbing!  Next I must figure out what it means to twitter.