what took so long?

It might surprise you to learn that, despite my line of work, I’m never among the first to try out a new piece of technology. But the risk for a stubborn contrarian like myself is that once people start giving you a hard time for not using their favorite online tool or service, you just dig in your heels.

Even when I know something’s not a fad, I usually have principled reasons for not jumping aboard. For Facebook, it’s the reciprocality requirement and binary nature of “being friends”, the difficulty of exporting data, and the complexity of its privacy settings (all of which are addressed in Google+, which I’m considering joining more seriously than I’ve ever considered Facebook). For microblogging, it’s my preference to receive news in digested form rather than as a cacophony of late-breaking chatter. And for both, it’s my feeling that I’ve got enough job responsibilities, ways to waste time, and things I’d like to do but don’t have time for that I don’t need more distractions.

But is it really wasting time? Well, this is where I’ve come around. Twitter’s network effect is becoming too strong to resist, and despite @shanakimball keeping me informed of things I should know about, there’s still a growing number of things I’m missing out on—more of which I’ll miss out on once @gerg_g/@greg leaves us for greener more sepia-colored pastures and no longer sits around the corner. And my resistance to Twitter means that I’ve long ago become practically invisible to people who would otherwise like to maintain peripheral awareness of what I’m doing. I’m at risk of falling into obscurity: in fact, like a print-only scholarly journal, I might as well not exist. So it’s time for me to take the next step in my digital migration. While I work and think best undistracted, it’s time for me to strengthen my social and professional bonds, even at the risk of introducing more distractions into my life.

Though I’ve blogged for periods of time while abroad—when there was exceptional interest in my life—I’ve always found it awkward to address multiple audiences simultaneously. After all, I don’t tell stories the same way to family, friends, and colleagues, and I don’t know how to blog or tweet with one voice for multiple audiences either. Of course I can have multiple identities online (just as I have multiple email addresses), but while my email addresses have fairly fixed identities (work, professional, and social), my potential audiences for broadcasting my thoughts will never be fully stable. Still, the digerati manage with a hybrid professional and personal just fine, so I’ll figure it out too.

So, I hereby relaunch Ultra Slavonic (the blog) and announce that I am micro-blogging on both identi.ca and Twitter. Follow me! If you’re still a holdout from microblogging but read web (news) feeds, look for the feed icons in the lower right of my identi.ca page or check out this hack for Twitter.