Thursday, February 10, 2005

In the beginning...

Well, geez. I've been online for around 20 years now. It started out with the earliest modems at 300 baud and Delphi was considered a state-of-the-art way to access information online. Compuserve and AOL eventually came along and they encouraged people to start their Special Interest Groups (SIG's). Those were pioneer days, with people sending hours every night in fron of their little screens keeping up with all the posts in their group. It was all a labor of love then and many were content simply to get free access in return for maintaining their postings! (There weren't Google ads then!)

Anyway, fast forward to today and here we are getting hundreds of e-mails a day (90%+ of which are probably spam) in our bulging Inboxes! I depend on my e-mail every day to stay in touch with business projects and family and friends across town and all over the world. But just as often, it serves as a simple social network to let my friends know that I'm still alive and staying in touch. They send me e-mail jokes, political statements and urban legends galore and I, in turn, dutifully forward the ones I find interesting or silly to my network of friends. Sometimes if I'm traveling (or sick on rare occasion), I'll miss a day or two. And that's when the e-mails pile up in my Inbox. And friends start writing or calling to see if I'm all right. It's a cool social network phenomenon.

All of this actually reminds me of something similar in nursing homes: I've got several friends who live in assisted living facilities all over the US and Canada. I've noticed that most all of them employ a very simple, nonintrusive way of knowing someone's OK. Late at night, the floor patrol personnel would hang something (like a plastic bracelet) on the doorknob to each apartment. If someone didn't open their door in the morning to head to the cafeteria for breakfast, they'd know right away and be prompted to make sure everything was all right. A low-tech version of a social network.

Anyway, with as much stuff as I receive and send out each day. I thought a daily compendium blog of some of the best bits I receive each day might actually save a lot of e-mail. I might even be able to start encouraging more of my friends to get in the habit of checking this blog page and expecting fewer e-mails from me. In many ways, I suppose this is one of the functions of a blog; to allow anyone to post a little bit of stuff at a time simply and quickly without the need to go through many of the traditional layers of web page publishing.

I hope those of you who do find this blog will continue to keep coming back to see what's new. And any comments or words of encouragement are definitely welcome.

1 comment:

David Congrave said...

Your (almost) daily emails are somewhat like the bracelets hanging from the doors in the assisted living facilities that you mention. Without them we won't know if you're still ticking.

I'm not sure that checking on blogs will really be the same thing.