Libraries, Life, Technology

Sensory Overload

Jonny Nintendo, I like this tweet and you know what? I can’t prove you wrong because I agree with it so very much.

I’ve never seen the show Rick and Morty but someone tells me it is about time travel. I really like time travel. But you know what? I read about what their fans did after they didn’t get some special sauce at McDonald’s and you know what? I don’t ever wanna watch this show.

I struggle with being a Weezer fan, and a big part of it has to do with the band’s fan base. Sometimes it is great and sometimes it sucks. It is a thing that now weighs on me heavily when I listen to this band.

This is the way of the world these days. Fans believe that passion should be brought to the table at every moment. Coupled with the internet, a place where people feel the need to be as loud and obnoxious as they can dream of being, and what you have is a hot mess. Things just don’t feel right these days. The world feels a bit off, and I just can’t help but to point a finger towards fandom and being loud on the internet as one of the things contributing to this feeling.

Of course I still have social media accounts. We all do and we’re not getting rid of them anytime soon. These feelings have been brewing in me a long time. Facebook has basically replaced email with Messenger as one of the defacto ways to communicate with another human being (texting being the other). The Facebook News Feed however, is a mess of rubbish, noise, and advertising. Twitter seems to be the place to figure out a way to wittily relevant things in 140 characters or less. It used to be my favorite social media channel that would inspire me endlessly. Now I just want to close the window and log out.

Things are moving so very quickly. Things are so very loud. Sensory overload has taken us all over. We need a break from the fans, from social media, from the world. We need to learn what how to be human beings again.


Libraries, Music

Early 1967/Early 2011

Sometime in early 1967, Brian Wilson gave up on what could’ve been one of the greatest albums of all time, SMiLE. Up until then, Brian had been flying high with The Beach Boys recording pop masterpiece after pop masterpiece.  The musical press called him a “musical genius”.  He released wrote and produced Pet Sounds in 1966 when he was just 24.  Brian did more between 1962-early 1967 than people do in their lifetime.  In early 1967, he got tired of the game, tired of fighting battles, tired of the pressure put on him to come up with something.  He didn’t stop everything.  Instead he stepped back and found his own groove.

When I started working at the Clarion Free Library in 2007, I was pretty gung ho about every event that I put together for teens.  I looked forward to Wednesdays at the library, where me and anywhere from one to twenty teens would hang out, chat, and do something.  I didn’t have a lot of money to put on programs, but I did what I could and I was excited about it.  As time went on and I worked at different libraries, I found myself still enjoying the work and coming up with more creative ideas, but at the same time finding myself looking for ways to scale back a bit due to other professional interests I had taken on.  This year, early 2011, I had my SMiLE moment.  I can’t keep up the pace I’m running at.  Much like Brian Wilson, I’m stepping back and finding my own groove.

It’s not that I want to quit what I’m doing.  I love being a librarian and everything that comes with it.  Most importantly, I love nothing more than bringing excitement to the library and the teens I serve.  They deserve 100% and I haven’t been giving that to them.  In order to do what I want to do I need to take a step back and recharge.  To get there, I’ve got to make a lot of cuts to the professional lifestyle I currently lead.  So, I’m stepping back from library life for a bit to think about what I want to do and how to get there.  I won’t bore you with a list of things I’m gonna do and not gonna do (sorry, no more dance parties or tattoos!).  Instead, over the the next few whatever (days, months, years, I won’t know until I get there) I’ll try to lead through experience and examples.

Libraries, Misc.

Replying to a status update

At the end of 2010, I posted this as my Facebook status.  Just glancing at this, it sounds like a cry for attention, and I guess in some ways it was.  I promise you though, it wasn’t some kind of crazy emotional freakout.  I starting thinking…“why did I post this, and ultimately, what did I want to get out of this?” Social networking, and in particular, status updates, are a great way of getting the energy you need to sort out some shit.  You post what you’re feeling.  As those darn kids says, you “be real”.  Then something really cool happens.  Your social network replies back.  Who cares if you agree with the response.  The beautiful thing is this…you’re getting different ways to look at things.  I would’ve never thought to look at my emotional state in the same way that everyone who took the time to comment back did.  And I appreciated that.

Going further into it…

I’ll always be a librarian.  I didn’t get this tattoo for nuthin’. But working in a library?  That’s another thing.  Like Lebron and how he took his talents to South Beach, I feel like the moment where I take my librarian talents, um, to South Beach, are getting closer.  I don’t know what the fuck this means.  No, I ain’t quitting my job.  I dig these teens here in Portland way too much.  But I feel like there’s something more for me to do.  I’m already writing a book with my 8BitLibrary cohort JP Porracco.  I’m speaking at a few conferences this year.  I’m getting more involved in other things that use this talent that I have.  Maybe that’s all it and it hasn’t sunk in yet.  I guess 2011 is gonna be a year where I find out what that thing is.

In closing, expect a lot more status updates like this.  I can’t do this soul searching wandering shit alone and I really value all of your input.

Also, there isn’t a such thing as a midlife crisis.  The only sort of midlife crisis is this fucking awesome song from Faith No More:


foursquare: a review

If you’re reading this, you probably already know what foursquare is.

If not, read this!

At first, foursquare creeped me out.  I had that cliche “I don’t want people to know where I am” attitude that always comes up when foursquare is mentioned.  But then I realized that location based social networking was a new thing for me.  New is scary.  I gotta stop being a pain in the arse and understand this tool.   So I dove in.

I still didn’t get it.  Living in Cape May County, NJ, I quickly became mayor of the whole darn county.  No one was using foursquare.  I was adding venue after venue and for what?  I still don’t know.  Specials were not being offered by the venues.

Maybe my efforts are now being used by the “next generatinon (ha)” of foursquare users in the county.

The value of foursquare really hit me when I moved to Portland, ME in March 2010.  Here I was, now living in a city with legitimate restaurants, venues, and stores.  There was so much for me to discover…but how could I tackle city living?  Enter foursquare.

  • Tips: People actually added tips to the venues I was checking in.  For example: when I checked into the local fair trade coffee shop Others! I got a message popping up saying to check out a place called Tony’s Donuts.  Yum.  Goodbye Dunkin’ Donuts, hello local goodness.
  • Friends: Holy crap!  Other people use foursquare in this city!  Even if you don’t know people, add some people as your foursquare friends and see what they’re up to.  Nothing brings people together like food.
  • Twitter/Facebook: It may cause a lot of  “noise” on Twitter and Facebook, but sharing your check ins on these social media sites will lead to more interaction with your community.  The downside?  Joe or Stacey from Nebraska probably don’t want to hear how you’re enjoying some Yaki Udon at Fuji in Portland, ME.  The plus?  Your new friend from Portland, ME may recommend something at Fuji to go along with your meal.

Of course, there are drawbacks to foursquare …

  • Game: There are gonna be some folks that think foursquare is a game.  Yes, you get points.  Yes, you can get badges.  But, and this is just in my own opinion, foursquare isn’t a game.  It’s a tool for sharing information about your community.  It is a tool to promote local business.
  • “Cheating”: I used quotes because I don’t really know what else to call it.  It’s just too dang easy to check into locations that you’re not at.
  • Multiple venues: So, let’s just say I REALLY want to be the mayor of my library, but someone has 50 check ins at the building and there’s no way I’m gonna become mayor.  An easy way around this?  Create a new listing for the venue.  Once again, not cool.  Maybe it is the librarian in me, but I’d prefer one listing per venue with correct contact information.  Perhaps foursquare should look into hiring a librarian?

All in all, foursquare helped me get adjusted to life in my new city.  For that, I am thankful.  However, I have no real desire to become mayor of every venue in this town.  I find myself checking in less and less as I learn more about my city.  My point?  foursquare is a great tool for discovering new things.  Once you’ve done that, it may be time to move on.  I sort of have.