I’ve been a bit slack about posting for a little while, and you, my loyal audience, should try to bear with me. Not only does school and work take up a good amount of any person’s time, especially when that person is TAing, teaching, taking three classes, and editing journalism and media textbooks, but a monumental amount of time is spent thinking about the time I spend doing things and about how to be more productive.
Although the 40-hour a week job in an office with a water cooler where you hang around and harass the office manager is not my idea of a good time, it does give you structure and a pre-developed way to think about the time you spend: you’re at an office, doing a specific job, and when you leave that office your life enters a different sphere, even if you’re thinking about or doing work.
As anyone who is has spent a little time in graduate-land will tell you, though, life in academia is not so easily categorized. It’s a total mess, actually, and a good portion of my thoughts are more like meta-thoughts, trying to figure out how to organize my thinking to make it more productive. This type of behavior is, at its core, an epic waste of time.
I’m working on a new project, writing about the digital divide and questioning the technophiliac assumption that computers and the Internet are good for low income and developing populations (of course I think they are, but I want to start at the beginning) and then looking at the best ways people have found to implement technology in order to create actual social change.
My research involves scouring dozens and dozens of websites, and there’s quickly becoming too much information for me to handle. So I’m capturing web pages, or taking snippets from them, and trying to compile it all into a searchable database in Devonthink, a handy program that is, essentially, a searchable database. But now I’m finding myself thinking as much about the process as the subject of the research itself. Oy.
There are no perfect solutions, of course. But maybe saying this publicly will allow something to click in my brain and I’ll be able to put the obsession to rest.
In the meantime, I’ve been finding some great stuff. From the $100 laptop to media literacy education, there’s a whole movement out there to bring technology to the people through education and non-profit initiatives, away from the corrupting influence of big business and commercialism.
Check out these links if you’re interested. They’re just the tip of the iceberg. I’ll be posting them in the sidebar on the right soon after I spend a few hours thinking about the best method to do it.
Center for Digital Democracy
Who Owns What
BBC NEWS | Technology | Sub-$100 laptop design unveiled
Ubuntu – Linux for Human Beings
Clay Shirky’s Internet Writings
The Digital Divide Network