I cannot think of a better time to have lived. Certainly not before the printing press; certainly not before the airplane, not during the World Wars. No– now is the time. Access to goods, food, learning, entertainment (although the 18th-19th century might have an edge there), travel, technology has never before been able to attain the lofty heights that we now enjoy. That is not to say that there are storm clouds on the horizon with respect to our standard of living, and the freedoms we enjoy. But in terms of access to information and knowledge there has never been any time like the present.
Now that access to information is truly a two-edged sword. A fair part of that information is false. And partaking of that information (which is from many sources) is largely free. New scientific information is readily available, as are many reservoirs of fecund ideas. But some information available is false, and some late and outdated. So the seeker must be able to discern the quality and reliability of the information he finds.
An excellent example of that caveat arose just recently when after many years of a steady drum beat from ‘very reliable’ sources on the perils of global warming, a hacking at the University of East Anglia last weekend exposed the scam wherein scientists were caught faking statistics and press releases to favor their chicken-little position. In addition, there was evidence of a plot to discredit their opposition, destroying their credibility and ruining their careers.
According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, recent estimates suggest that there are some 12 million blogs written by American adults. And according to that same organization, some 57 million Americans are blog readers.
Think of all that free information!
But before that information is used, it needs to be evaluated. Always in critical situations, it is wise to check your sources with other sources. For instance, if one listened only to the global warming drum beat, one could easily be convinced that the earth as we know it was coming to an end.
On virtually every subject, it is now easy to become quite well informed through a variety of media outlets: videos from youtube, tutorials from places like Adobe and many others, podcasts, web sites, blogs-a-plenty – and in a very short period of time. Now it’s important to keep differing opinions in perspective, but luckily there are millions of competing blogs and sources of information to allow you that freedom.
Google, the advertising company that provides such excellent search capabilities, provides a rich texture of blogs, tutorials and analytic programs to help guide us in providing satisfactory web experiences. And Adobe has many tutorials to help us learn and become masters of its graphics processing programs, Photoshop and Illustrator. These folks provide this information because they are the web developers have a common interest: using their programs to help design professional and powerful web sites.
The same goes for blogging. I am writing this article on a program called Blogjet, which I use to create, edit and post articles on several blogs. I have not been a prolific blogger in the past, because I have been too busy with various software and web development projects. So I needed to get ‘up to speed’ quickly. I learned about Blogjet from some other blog article I read which evaluated Blogjet and 14 other competing products in Smashing Magazine.
Unfortunately, blogging has not been an activity which has produced a lot of remuneration for me– at least directly. Existing clients want their projects progressing, leaving little time for writing great tomes. More recently, I have been using Twitter to disseminate compact little crumbs of wisdom.
But now I have been thinking that perhaps I could devote an hour a week to promulgating some more complex ideas of my own to the bank of community knowledge, and with the aid of decent software like Blogjet and OneNote to assist me, I have started anew my quest.
Fortune found me a terrific blog to assist me in honing my blogging talents. Seth Waite’s Blogussion blog is an excellent place to begin. With his own suggestions, and a weekly roundup of tips of the week from other successful bloggers. And, to be honest, I was piqued last week when I tried to join a group of another well-known blogger just a few hours after their introductory period ended. The new price was 3 time the intro price, and they would not let me join at the intro price. So I am determined to accomplish the same goals now for free.
George Washington and the rest of our founding fathers came to this country with very little. Their fathers had been steeped in the European guild system of mastering only one art: a carpenter in one instance, a miller in another, silversmith in yet another. They arrived here and did not have a diverse enough economy to allow for this elegant division of labor. They were forced by circumstance to become expert in many crafts. Washington was a surveyor, farmer, general, and statesman. And the other founding fathers had similar eclectic talents.
If they were resourceful enough to form this country into the greatest in history, certainly we with the resources at our disposal can continue in that tradition. If fact they would expect nothing less.