Sunday, February 22, 2009

Something that Makes Me Happy

I have nothing profound to say about this video at all - I just wanted to share. Sigh, it is very beautiful. It makes me almost as happy as one I found a long time ago - here.

Mykonos from Grandchildren on Vimeo.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Did You Feel That?

Well, did you? That was the power of the Internet whooshing by!

Last we left my sad, Stephen Fry-less existence, I was bemoaning the loss of his wit and candor. Cursing the Twitter Fates!

The next morning, still blurry-eyed with a cup of coffee in my hand and wearing my disheveled pajamas, I blindly groped for my computer. Distracted by my bagel, I missed the message reading "Stephen Fry is now following you on Twitter" the first time around. It took a few minutes for that to sink in... humm... Stephen. Fry. Following. Twitter.

HOLY CRAP! I almost dropped my coffee then and there!

For those of you who do not Twitter, this is kind of a big deal. To follow someone means that every time they login, their homepage may display one of your comments. This is an act saying "I would like you to know that I think enough about you to condescend to give you an inch of my homepage for an hour or two."

I hurried to the Twitter-verse and there he was, unblocked and just as good as I remember.

Then I sat back, thinking about how this all came to be.

I discovered, a few days before, that the problem was a result of Twitter randomly blocking a few hundred of his followers - myself included (shucks, I was hoping I did something to piss him off!). But, in order to be reestablished, I had to (and this gets very complicated and convoluted) have a friend of mine who also followed Mr. Fry tweet him with the tag #fryblocked and @HeatherVM. The problem is I do not know anyone else in the greater Seattle area that feels the same way about him, so I was left in the dark.

So the question remains: how did he learn I was blocked, and why did he, rather than unblocking me, actually start following me?

Both questions I am alright not knowing the answer... unless of course they involve Stephen Fry reading my blog, finding it humorous, and feeling bad for the whole Twitter catastrophe... I'd be fine with that answer!

Now all is right in the world, and I have an email that is (sort of) from Stephen Fry, starred in my Gmail inbox. The Twitter Fates are happy again.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

My Thoughts on Twitter: or How I Learned Stephen Fry Blocked Me

Twitter is something that I have been actively avoiding for a while now. Sure, I facebook. Sure, I blog. Sure, I know a lot about the different Google Apps (my latest experiment involves Google Notebook as a way to organize recipes I find). However, Twitter seemed a bit outside of my purview.

But then something changed. Stephen Fry started Tweeting.

As one of the original followers of his eloquent, insightful, intelligent, and humorous blog, The New Adventures of Mr. Stephen Fry, when he became more excited about the prospects, do did I. I followed excitedly as he reached his 100,000th member and requested more. There is even a T-Shirt: "I Tweeted @StephenFry and all I got was this lousy T-shirt."

Between Pogue's exploration , the work libraries are doing with the technology, and Stephen Fry, I was ready to take the obsessive plunge.

In the end, what really got me were Mr. Fry's words: "Most of all. Welcome to my twitterworld, I am delighted to have you as a follower. Let’s enjoy ourselves and to hell with those who don’t get it." Right then and there, I wanted to be part of this world!

It took a while to get used to it - to remember to post things and read the posts of others (especially since I have no mobile technology from which to tweet). Though, once I started keeping up with people, it was fun! Sure, I am just feeding the need for external validation - who really cares when I say "During my 'weekend,' the entire library seems to have moved to my desk - why are all these books here?" or "Watching a scary movie alone at midnight with a bottle of rose... what else would I be doing on a Thursday night?" - but then you read other people's tweets. You realize that you do care, that you follow their links, and laugh at their wit.

Then I discovered the tantalizing dark side: being blocked. Not only was I blocked by someone (meaning someone did not want me to follow them, ever), but I was blocked by my Twitter mentor, guru, and teacher - Stephen Fry.

Thousands of things ran through my head as frantically scrambled to find him again... what had I done?... what had I said?... did I not qualify as intelligent, witty or loquacious enough to count myself among his followers? Confusion reigned - I had never tried to make contact with him, never even mentioned him outside of a ramble about how he and Geoff Lloyd (the only other famous person I follow) were following each other. I swear! That is it!

I know it is hard to believe, but it brought about an existential crisis - rivaling that of the time I discovered they were discontinuing the light tan M&Ms! I mean, light tan is such an unappreciated color!

But what to do? What could I say to Mr. Fry as an apology? Nothing.

Twitter is a new format with new rules, not all of them clear. The role it can play with businesses, friends, and fame is still being tested. I like Pogue's insight when he wrote, "This was it: harnessing the power of the Web, the collective wisdom of strangers, in real time!"

For now, I will content myself with playing around and not set my standards that high. Getting blocked and blocking is where my excitement comes from. Trying to see how I can use this and, as Mr. Fry wrote, enjoy myself!

But I still miss your tweets, Mr. Fry. The Twitter world is fun, but a little quieter.