April 2, 2008

'War" ruins friend of a friend

Have you seen the feature on Linked In and Facebook where you get a list of people you might know?

Whitney Hess does a good summary of sites that do this - even includes snapshots of the services like FriendFeed for folks.

For the most part, I've enjoyed seeing who I might know because of who I know.

The hard part is when you see the same face popping up and you know a connection online isn't possible for all the wrong reasons.

Hey, I'm an adult. I shouldn't care but sometimes I do agree with Geoff Dick, senior lecturer in information systems at the University of NSW, who said "Removing someone from your friend list is almost a declaration of war."

Reporter Daniel Emerson quoted Dick March 27 when writing about a British judge who made it official: Being "Facebook friends" with someone doesn't necessarily make you their friend.

Emerson wrote:

"The magistrate was presiding over a harassment case in which a woman accused her former boyfriend of hounding her by sending her a "friend request" on the popular social networking site on January 21."

The ex-boyfriend, Michael Hurst, 34, was cleared of the charge after the magistrate accepted his argument that the contact was highly innocuous because being "Facebook friends" could not be defined as "friendship in the traditional sense".

"[Popular British radio DJ Chris Moyles] has 1 million Facebook friends. Do you think he knows them all intimately?" Mr Hurst said."


And keep the friend of a friend links coming ... it's a great way to meet new people.

April 1, 2008

Race to the end: Computer or me?

Do I count hours? Do I count days? Or just pray?

Right now I am praying that the computer at work will last through Friday, which should be my last work day forever at The Flint Journal.

OK, I already know I am going in on April 30. But the plan is vacation from April 5 until April 30. May 1 begins my new life - whatever that is based on the buyout terms.

Honestly, I don't know what I am doing post buyout.

First, I need the computer at work to last through Friday.

I have my doubts. It crashed 3 times today!

My email has reformatted itself. I received 2 emails 26 times!

The DVD recorder has stopped recording.

I already turned in the laptop. I gave up my Mac as it was needed (Why with a smaller staff?). That's OK I get exercise as I am forced to wander from computer to computer when I need some programs.

Now I am not sure if the hunk of junk on my desk will last so I can finish one last online project.

Which brings up the other challenge: Am I counting hours, days or the finished project to determine when I am done. Or maybe the computer decides my last moment. When it is done so am I!

March 30, 2008

Last day at Flint Journal set in stone

It's a date drawn in concrete. My last day at the place I've worked at for 29 years, 6.5 months is April 4.

The date has changed a lot since I agreed to the newspaper's buyout offer last fall.

It has changed as I've trained my replacements.

It has changed as I've worked with so many people to create a web site that puts a bigger emphasis on the content as it develops and not tied to a print product.

It has changed as I watched people with key roles in creating the content also take the buyout or move into new roles ont he shrinking staff.

This date is in writing. This is it.

This is it even if the six people who now form a new Internet team - a team! - disappear from the face of the earth between now and then.

This is it even if the corporate office relents and loosens the hold on the web site design, databases or blogs.

This is it even if the to-do list isn't completed.

So what's next?

Huge question with no answer yet. Or maybe that is the answer: Nothing.

What I know is that I need time spent on nothing.

What I have earned is a buyout offer that buys me time for nothing.

What I will do is visit my dad who has cancer (again), my mother who denies her diagnosis of early stages of Alzheimer's, my husband, my daughter, my craft space, my kitchen and my back yard.

I worked on the redesign for nearly a year, watching the launch day pass by countless times.

Blogging about LaKisha Jones' rise on American Idol showed the possibility of replacing shoveled newspaper articles online with serving fresh news and information about the Flint area.

Live coverage of the Buick Open, the painful launch of a tool to report on high school sports, and the better launch of reporters producing audio opened more possibilities.

And then there was the advertising side where retail sales representatives got easy-to-sell online packages, all sales representatives got an incentive to sell and print artists started producing online ads for the first time.

Then, photos for the first time in print and online in many classifications, new platforms for real estate, jobs, and cars.

Of course, the regular stuff too.

So I am tired.

I waver about the next step. Sometimes I want as far away from the world of producing information as possible. No more deadlines. No more formal structures of who can speak to who when.

Yet, I can't stop thinking of the possibilities ... knowing we don't need more choice, we need more TV Guides (see See Spark Media's 12 principles of New Media)

I start thinking about what sparked my involvement with the Genesee Free-Net and Girl Scouts, the idea of powerful connections and growing community and strong women.

But the partially finished quilts and fabric projects, the uncut material, the beads, the clay start shouting that it is their turn. There's something addicting Or about learning something new with each piece.