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[back-dated from a Jan '09 post]

A friend asked me recently what finally got me to adopt these tools and social networks since he knew I wasn’t too keen social networks.

I admit, a part of it was stupid. It used to be that everything on that list was so popular that I honestly shied away from them. And of course, they are only more popular now. I avoided them almost instinctively based on my reluctance to gravitate toward anything that was considered trendy.

Some tools turn people into tools.

However now, it is almost trendy to NOT use them, so I suppose a weird from of progress has happened. I didn’t really think I was “too cool” to use them, myself. I just didn’t see any relevance to my work, especially considering how busy I usually am. There was fear they were all time wasters.

Then came sabbatical.

I thought it was pretty obvious when I set up the blog that it was intended just for family and friends who had asked me to put something online. They asked for a way to track the art I created while on sabbatical. I was also asked to share images from my travels.

That is my blog’s three word description: “Art and Travel.” It was never intended for broad public consumption.

I am not a social butterfly. If you know me even slightly, you can confirm this. I have to admit, though, I feel like I was being an idiot for avoiding them for so long (although I still think MySpace is obnoxious).

In my response to my friend, I compared myself to the irrational purist/traditional film photographers who refused to utilize digital media, or, the writers who wouldn’t give up their typewriters for computers. I wasn’t all that different in my refusal to embrace new forms of communication (especially for the dumb reason that they were “popular”).

The thing is, due to my sabbatical, this was the first year I have found myself so isolated from friends and work that it finally made sense to utilize these tools. A few friends that pushed me into it, and parents asking for updates, etc, helped break my stubbornness. I still expect I will abandon many of these tools by the time I return to work and after I cut way back on my travels since I don’t expect these tools to honestly be as useful once August arrives. I won’t go so far as to claim I will never use them again, however. Never say never.

I confess it turned out to be a good move that I finally adopted some of these tools, and I also have to reluctantly admit that it has been fun. Thanks to those of you that have left comments or sent emails.

I am past the halfway mark of my sabbatical, as I write this. I hope the second half is as entertaining and productive (hopefully MORE productive, to be honest) as the previous six months.


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