When I entered this class I knew it would be a piece of cake, I was tech savvy! It took about three days to realize that knowing how to check my email, and set up a wireless network no longer qualify as anything but slightly below average. As a result of avoiding Twitter… and Facebook… and blogging… and my obliviousness to wikis and social bookmarking, my knowledge of technology had piqued right around the time Myspace began sucking, and there I stood, stagnant while the digital river of change flowed around me. From there I went into a bit of a panic/catch up mode, and I feel pretty good about the outcome. There’s still things about each of the topics we touched on in this class that I don’t fully understand (who would use social bookmarking if they weren’t in college? How exactly do you turn on a Mac?), but I feel like I’m finally above average in the tech world, and that’s a good feeling, and will continue to be for months until Apple comes out with the telepiMac, and all the tech savvy people give up typing while I’m left standing in the river again, clutching my keyboard.

Twitter Icon

Weblogs and Wiki’s introduced me to new concepts, but also changed my opinions of some older concepts. I have spent several years of my life actively avoiding all things Twitter on a daily basis. why? Well for starters it’s called Twitter! I don’t tweet, I discuss! The thing is, I think I was right in my opinion of Twitter when class began. It’s not my mind that changed, it was Twitter. The earthquake in Japan has caused Twitter to evolve from a soulless gossip machine “Nobody went to his aid at the very beginning when he first collapsed — that just perplexed me beyond reason,” USC senior Alastair Fairbanks said. “Instead, I saw students texting and updating their Twitter statuses. It was just all a very bizarre evening.”], into something that almost seems to give a crap. I still haven’t done anything as drastic as use Twitter on a daily basis, but I have used twitter some, and can almost see more value in it as a note taking device, than I can as a gossip machine.

My opinion of social bookmarking has changed very little from when it was introduced to me at the beginning of this class. Other than the length of the annotations Delicious is capable of accommodating, I don’t really see it doing anything twitter can’t do. In fact, I can send info to twitter using my phone, and thus avoid opening additional browser tabs and entering passwords. I used Delicious quite a bit in class though, and I’ve got about thirty bookmarks and it worked well enough, just seems kind of limited.

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I could see myself having a blog in my everyday life. Not as an online journal, as is one of the more popular uses, but just to keep track of my life. A blog can be almost anything that you want it to be. I’d used one before to keep a daily log of a trip that’s accessable to people back home, and it worked fantastic for that. There are even some businesses that have decided to go with blogs rather than the traditional website. Blogs are attractive, and a monkey could update on once it was set up and polished. My en3177 blog is my most used tool for this class.

When we first touched on wiki’s, I was very skeptical. Why on earth would I voluntarily let people mess with my stuff? Soft security? Give me a break! Well I’m still not so sure about this soft security business, but Wiki’s definitely have a place in the digital world. Seeing a site like Wikipedia function as well as it does, kind of makes me worry that Star Trek’s collectively conscious race the Borge, might not be as fictional as we all think. I’ve got all kinds of ideas for Wiki’s, ranging from a movie review wiki where users would edit a films synopsis down to collective perfection, to a questions answered wiki, where any question could be posted, and the ultimate answer would be produced and fine tuned by many different users. Due to a lack of time, I didn’t get to expand on my Wikia page that I started for this class. Plus blogs are easier to use, and seemed better suited to the purposes of this class. I also have my class wiki, and an additional page that I created off of the first page as was the assignment for that week. My opinion of Wiki’s has definitely changed since first glance. I just don’t understand why someone doesn’t make them prettier.

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This final report would have been a Prezi, if Presi had a voice-over feature. Prezi is very cool, and once you understand it, it is user friendly, though getting to that point is a bit daunting. I fought with my Prezi presentation for nearly ten hours before I was satisfied, and now looking back at it, it could be better. Another thing that bothers me about it is why don’t they let you do audio? My plan for this project originally was to record little audio blurbs for each slide and embed them so that each individual slide was narrated. Prezi won’t let you do that yet though, so back to the old reliable blog I went. This assignment would be prettier as a Prezi though.

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I’m not sure how the creators of Mindmeister knew that their program would be of any use at all, but here I am using my midterm mind map to help me organize this project. I’m not sure that I’d be willing to wade through the Mindmeister’s interface on a daily basis to make things like to do lists, but for something longer term and more important, such as a five year life plan, I think it would work fairly well. I think if Mindmeister had more features, and was a little more polished it would be more popular. It took me a half hour to figure out how to save my mind-map when it was done, might wanna fix that Mindmeister.

Social media is the future of communication, that’s obvious. The amount of time people spend on the phone doesn’t vary from year to year, but texting is through the roof. Facebook’s popular to the point of being the center of some people’s universe. People send Twitter Tweets first, and help a potentially dying man second. Additionally, digital media is poised to replace printed publications, and judging by the popularity of the Ereaders, Google News, and gossip blogs, the world is ready. I learned a ton in this class, but I also get the feeling that I now know just enough to realize how clueless I am. New concepts are introduced every day, and many will probably be obsolete within months. That’s one of the major things I took away from this class, some people believe that the internet is killing our social lives, but at the same time it allows us to interact more than ever. Things like produsage have evolved as a result of our desire to be social, and it appears that these types of things will only continue to evolve. None Facebook users are already at a social disadvantage in the dating world, and it’s only been around for a short time. I learned that Joseph Schumpeter might have been on to something when he coined the phrase “adapt or die”. I think it’ll be easy to get left behind as we move into the future. How are the elderly dealing with the death of  News Papers? In many cases they switch to a still existing publication, but what happens when there are no more printed words? My grandpa gets his news off the internet. He adapted, but most can’t. I’m grateful to be among the adaptables as we move into the digital future that EN3177 has helped introduce to me.

And finally I’ve created a timeline of everything I’ve done in the class. At least I hope it’s everything, it’s surprisingly hard to round it all up! Plus I’m pretty sure some tweets are missing because twitter deleted all of mine.