Life, Technology, Things

I hate this kind of crap

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From the article Circle Is the Parental Control for the Internet I’ve Always Wanted:

Circle is a 3-inch white cube that connects to your Wi-Fi network. The $99 device allows you to filter content, add time restrictions, and see activity reports for every device on your network. It’s like God Mode for your household’s Wi-Fi devices. You simply plug in Circle’s power cord, use your iPhone or iPad to connect it to your router over Wi-Fi, and set up each family member’s settings in the Circle app.

Instead of putting up invisible technology walls for our kids to yell at, why not instead encourage conversation? Why not have a nice chat with our kids about time limits, tech fatigue, and why some YouTube videos are just not that great to watch? I think that in the long run these are the kinds of conversations we should have with each other.

My son Finn (age 6 almost 7) is nuts about Five Nights at Freddy’s. He wants to play it all the time. He wants to watch YouTube videos of people playing it. He wants to be immersed in that world. And you know what? For the most part, that’s ok. After giving him access to the full YouTube experience, after a few months we had a chat with him about how we were going to change his experience and allow him to only use the YouTube Kids app. We told him about how he wouldn’t be able to see many of the videos he was watching but he now had a selection of different videos. Was it difficult to explain? Yes. Explaining why the phrase “fucking holy shitballs” shouldn’t be used in every situation to a six year old is tough but in the end he got it. The best part? The YouTube Kids app has shown  him a whole new world of the Five Nights at Freddy’s game. This new world can be seen in the videos that Finn is making these days:

Have a chat instead of putting up invisible technology walls that your kids will be pissed at you for putting up. A conversation between human beings is an amazing thing. If you do decide to go the route of Circle or any kind of technology time limit content blocking thing, I suggest you have conversations about it before you put the system in place.

PS: Yes I do realize that by writing this blog post I am in some way “spreading the idea” of Circle and that a few people may read this and go “I should get that for my kids!” I don’t care to have this debate with anyone.

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Life

Halfway There (?)

Pap Pap Pleczynski. I wish I had a photo with Pap Hoenke. I don't think I do.
Pap Pap Pleczynski. I wish I had a photo with Pap Hoenke. I don’t think I do.

On June 15, 2015 I will be 35 years old. Both of my grandfathers passed away at age 70 (well, one was 69 but was close to 70). If genetics and family history mean anything, this could mean that I have already spent half of my time here on Earth in this plane of existence. Heavy stuff, huh? It is, and perhaps this is why I’ve been going through some depression recently.

I’m well aware of my lifestyle choices these days and I know there are things I need to change (More exercise! Better eating! Less stress!) and I’m doing those things. In a way, I’m pretty happy that I am able to be well aware of this trend in my family history. It makes me understand who I am, where I am going, and what I need to do. These thoughts inspire things like this post (“Never Going Back Again”) and where I’m heading with libraries. I envision a different kind of life for myself in about 3 years. I have to a lot of work before I get there. I will get there.

When I say things on Twitter like what you see above, I’m in a place where I’m thinking about things like being halfway there. There’s a part of me that knows how important this blog, those tweets, and all that other jazz are to who I am. There’s also a part of me that says that tells me that all of that stuff is crap and that it’s time for me to give all of that away. I don’t know. Like everything, I aim for balance and many times I’m out of alignment.  What I do know is that I am so very happy that this twitter and blog thing have become what it is. It has allowed me to connect, share, learn, and laugh with so many people. That’s the good stuff. That’s the thing that keeps me here.

Maybe the “Justin The Librarian” thing is just a costume….a platform….that has allowed me to have a place where I can connect with people. It could be anything: Justin The UPS Delivery Guy. Justin The Farmer. Justin The Musician. It doesn’t matter. Perhaps this is the thing I needed to type and work out in my brain.

Thanks for reading and following along with everything that I’ve put here over the past 5 years. I like having you all in my life.

Misc.

What Is And What Should Never Be

2014 was the year I slowed down a lot. As I slowed down I noticed something: the world still moves really quickly. It presents me with an interesting dilemma. How can I live in a world that is so out of touch with what I truly believe at my core? 2015 should be an interesting year where the answer to the question that I asked will slowly show itself to me.

Libraries and librarians have been good to me. 2014 was a year that I got to do some amazing things in the library where I work and with the greater library community. I traveled a lot and shared joy and enthusiasm with the library community. Along the way I learned so much from the people that I was visiting.

In 2014, I also kept on having this thought: everyone hits a wall at some point in their lives where they know it’s time to move on from what they’re doing and try something new. Some people just burst through that wall and keep on keepin’ on. 2014 has shown me that I can’t be that person. I’ve known for a bit of time that there’s some kind of change stirring inside of me.  Putting everything in their right place took some soul searching, but now I think I’ve reached a good point.

Justin Hoenke and Justin The Librarian are no longer the same person. Once they were intertwined. I was him and he was me all everything connected in the middle. It was good for that moment in time. But Justin Hoenke the person took some steps in 2014 that rendered this Justin The Librarian persona, well, no longer that important in the great grand scheme of things. But life isn’t just so cut and dry. You don’t disconnect and move on. The process of change is long and drawn out. 2014 was the year where I noticed that there was an imbalance in my life. 2015 will be the year where I go about overcoming that imbalance. I don’t know what’s to come. It’ll be a neat adventure.

And if I say to you tomorrow. Take my hand, child, come with me.
It’s to a castle I will take you, where what’s to be, they say will be.

Chattanooga Public Library, Libraries, Management, Teens

Gender

Gender

Over the past year I’ve had the opportunity to move on up in the library. With that means greater responsibility (gotta get the payroll in on time and make the schedules!) and a bigger say in how things should be presented to the community.

One of my favorite things that I’ve got to have a say in is adding Other to our gender options for our 2014 Summer Program. It’s a small thing…I don’t know how many people will actually use this option…but I felt that it was important for it to be there.  Gender identity is an important thing for tweens and teens to think about.  When you can show tweens and teens that you care and respect their beliefs, they believe in you more.  The small things mean a lot.  Over time, they add up and lead to real change.  Here’s hoping this change will be positive for at least one person in the community.

Online Identity, Social Media

Online Identity

I have been spending a lot of time recently thinking about our online identities and how much cooler the world would be if we open sourced our lives.  What do I mean by this?

define open source - Google Search

FREELY AVAILABLE is what stands out to me.  A life where nothing is hidden, everything is on the table for everyone to read, share, comment, and discuss.  I’ve talked and presented about this topic in the past (here) and I feel that it’s about time to bring it up once again.

As I said above, I believe in a life where everything is freely available.  That means putting it all out there: Embracing the icky stuff, celebrating the joyous moments, admitting confusion…..Everything.  Social media has great power at connecting people and giving everyone a voice.  For me, I never felt like I was using social media properly until I realized this.  Over the past few years, developing my voice and connecting with people has taught me two things:

  1. Professionally, it has connected me with some amazing people and given me the opportunity to do some amazing things and travel to some amazing places and talk about the things I am passionate about.  Without social media, I may not have had this opportunity.  
  2. Personally, it has allowed me to open source my life to my friends and family.  We’ve all had great moments in our lives and at the same time we’ve all been miserable.  It’s been great sharing these moments with my friends and family.  That way, they know where I’m at, where I’m heading, and how I got there.  The best part about it is the discussion it stems from these posts…people open up and share their lives with you.  You quickly find out that you’re not alone in the world.

There are different ways to approach this lifestyle and it takes some time to find exactly what works best for you.  I’m happy to show you what’s been working for me:

Here’s my approach:

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Before you go laughing off Google+, let me state my case for it. I love Google+ for sharing things professionally.  There’s just something about the Google+ interface that encourages sharing and discussion.  The way you determine how you want to share something (through Circles) gives you amazing options as to how you decide you want to share something.

The conversations I’ve had over the past year on Google+ have been very stimulating and the things I’ve discovered via other folks that I’m following have really helped me think differently about how I approach my job.

Google+ isn’t a Facebook killer, replacement, or anything else like that.  Google+ is Google+, a great tool that you can use to really develop your professional image.  Give it a shot.  I gave up on it shortly after it was released and came back to it a few months later…and I’ve never left it since.

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Simply stated, I don’t think I would be where I am professionally without Twitter.  It has given me the opportunity to share and discuss everything with the world and for that I am very grateful.

One of the great things about Twitter is that it’s so quick and in the moment that it really can be something to everyone.  Having a really focused moment talking about libraries?  Go for it.  Then it’s OK to switch that up and talk about music or something else.  I do it all the time.  It’s also great for finding new things to read.  The people I follow are always sharing great stuff to absorb.

What really makes the Twitter experience most useful for me is watching who I follow.  Over the years, I’ve been endlessly dabbling in this specific area.  I’ve found that when I follow too many people my Twitter feed becomes unmanageable and really turns me away from the service.  It’s almost as if there’s an information overload.  You can always turn to something like Twitter lists to manage this, but I’ve found those very ineffective.  Tweetdeck is also another tool you can use to manage your streams.

Twitter is great for developing your professional identity and at the same time mixing a bit of personal into everything.

facebook-logo

And finally, we come to Facebook.  With over 1 billion users, there’s a chance that everyone you’ve ever known is using this service.  That can seem like a very overwhelming and scary thing.  It was for me for the longest time.  There was this thought in the back of my head that SOMEBODY’S WATCHING ME and I did not like that at all.  However, I’ve found that if you take the time to really look at your privacy settings and use at least one or two lists that Facebook can be an amazing tool for achieving an open source life.

Recently, I opened up about something going on in my life on Facebook.  I was embracing the icky stuff.  I shared it privately with Friends only and used a list that I created before to limit the post even more.  My privacy setting looked like this:

FB privacy

What was the end result?  My initial post got a lot of comments.  People opened up, shared, discussed, and more.  It was a beautiful thing.  I also received 5 personal messages from people that read my initial post who wanted to talk a bit more in depth.  The end result was that I didn’t feel bad for having these feelings.  I felt like a lot of people understood me, offered worthwhile suggestions, and I was able to grow and learn from it.

My conclusion?  Have a look at your online identity and see what you’re sharing and where you’re sharing it.  Think about what you want to get out of each and every post.  Do you want an open conversation?  Do you want to live an open source life?  If so, how do you develop your social networks to best meet your needs?  With some time and effort, you’ll find what you’re looking for.