How about this: Getting disconnected

My best friend was on a conference call today where she heard of a new malady facing the human race: disconnect anxiety. I knew immediately what she meant, having experienced it at times myself, but wow, it’s always interesting not only to hear that others have a similar dysfunction, but that there’s an actual term for it. Hey, that's my job, tracking terms.


“Disconnect anxiety” describes what happens to people when they get cut off from their technological source: cell phones, email, social networking sites, blogs and the Web. We’ve seen it and experienced it, but isn’t that also the very definition of a SNAFU?

BlackBerries become CrackBerries, believe me I get it, this is the industry I work in. But when you finally unplug for a decent amount time, you see that the real world is still even more fascinating. In fact, just recently--back from a three week trek in South America with very little online access and “no, we didn’t bring our laptops”-- I must say I found my unplugged sojourn completely liberating. I was more present and enjoying the moment and the world around me. In fact, everyone was ;-)

The latest research shows that 68 percent of Americans suffer from occasional disconnect anxiety when away from a computer or cell phone: feelings that range from general discomfort to inadequacy and panic. Okay, time out… I think everyone needs to take even a mini-digital vacation, don’t you?

Try it. Unplug for a day… okay, maybe 4 hours. Disconnect from the motherboard and take a stroll, look up at the sky, watch the clouds. Whatever you do, just remember that life happens off the grid, too. The Internet is here to enhance our lives, not be our lives. So, connect back to yourself, the Web will always be there when you return.
Ciao,
Erin



Tasty Tech Tidbits: South American Style

I just returned from vacation in Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, and Peru, and along the way I enjoyed learning a little about the tech industry in South America!

For example, did you know Latin America is the world's growth leader in terms of computers-per-person? In education, Uruguay is a pioneer in implementing the dream of Nicholas Negroponte: one laptop per child. Uruguay has also implemented "Zonamerica" a technological free-trade zone on the outskirts of Montevideo. Nearby neighbors like Brazil, Argentina, and Peru have backed various official stimulus packages for [[infopreneur|infopreneurs]], as well as laws to protect and encourage local [[software]] development. I find these examples to be exciting and it makes me reflect on the opportunity the region has to keep narrowing its digital divide!

A particular highlight in the tech field is Chile. With an initiative that managed to make headway in the demanding world of the social media networks that are so popular these days, Chile has emerged as a technological frontrunner. However, even though an enormous amount of faith has been put on the viability of social networks to facilitate communication during catastrophes (like the recent earthquakes in Chile and the [[Twitter]] rallies worldwide), it was also made very clear to me that both foreign service programs and national human volunteers are still necessary factors in delivering serious relief.

I also discovered the fact that Chile's earthquake has scientifically shortened the day. The geek inside me finds this intriguing ;-) As if the day weren't already short enough, it just got a little shorter according to a report in The Week. The massive, magnitude 8.8 earthquake that rocked Chile on Feb. 27 was so deep and strong that it redistributed the Earth's mass slightly; that movement shifted the axis by about 3 inches, enough to speed up the Earth's rotation. The faster it rotates, the shorter the day. Experts estimate the day is now 1.26 millionths of a second shorter than it used to be, and even though it sounds like an infinitesimal reduction, it is something that will last forever...

Claro! South America is incredibly impressive, and fun and full of light and life ;-) At the tech event I attended in Santiago, sponsored by Chile Ayuda, someone asked "Are you a tech entrepreneur?" "Of course," I said. "Well, I've got a suggestion for you: move south. No, I don't mean to Los Angeles or San Diego, I'm talking about way down south in Chile. They'll welcome you with open arms and offer you incentives." "Thanks for the tip!" I replied. And then I looked at my friend and thought hey, I may need to check this out...
C4N
,
Erin

One of my favorite terms is silver surfer...


...and "silver surfer" is the NetLingo Jargon Word of the Day today ;-)

A silver surfer is an adult, generally 50 years of age or older, who frequently surfs the Web and spends time online ("silver" refers to the color of their hair).

Unlike neophytes, silver surfers are considered netizens, experienced users of the net. The phrase silver surfer is commonly heard in the U.K., but applies to midlife adults (generally those in their 40s, 50s and 60s), and seniors (age 70 and over) everywhere. Here are a few humorous U.K. expressions I get a kick out of: BHIMBGO, BHOF, BARB, WOOF

The fact is surfing the Internet is great exercise for the aging brain! It helps keep you mentally sharp and feeling connected. Read my prior post "Know Any Silver Surfers? Get Them Online!" here. There are several online communities dedicated to silver surfers, in fact ThirdAge.com is definitely worth checking out. And if you haven't already done so, subscribe to the NetLingo Jargon Word of the Day here!
Cheers to the WOGs,
Erin
p.s. If you like the comic book character Silver Surfer, you should quick meet Surfus too...

Just another day in the life of Web head


I was catching a little junk sleep in the cube farm this morning when I woke up and suspected that a carnivore had attacked my inbox. I had a drunk mouse and sure enough, my zen mail messages had been carpet bombed and the bots , spiders and Trojans were winning the war against my firewall. I called tech support, who gave me the usual technobabble which bottom line meant it was going to be an all day repair job.

I could see from my peer-to-peer networking system that the net.god upstairs in the nerve center was trying to fix the problem and boil the ocean at the same time, the digiterati in the next cubicle were working on some new neologisms, and the neo-luddites across the way were talking about the latest in netsploitation. The network pirate two doors down was looking sinister this morning and the rest of the geeks, like me were just checking out the shareware girls as they, and the rest of the cappuccino cowboys, came to work.

I still considered myself a wild duck so decided it was the moment to take the nerd bird and pitch my shrink-wrap software, technopuppet idea to a guerrilla marketing drive-by VC in the Valley, Mr. Joe Letsdoit. I grabbed my smart phone, Googled it, then MapQuested it (I still like it better than Google Earth ;-) and headed for the airport before my seagull manager arrived. Within a few hours I was in Joe’s office ready to do my dog-and-pony show. Joe turned out to be pretty much of a drump and today he was experiencing a little ticker shock. He immediately asked me to open my kimono before even signing an NDA. I did, he groked my idea, but was already looking for a way to greenwash it. He said he had to keiretsu the idea and would get back to me.

I made the barbie bird flight back, stopped by Sharper Image with the rest of the technojunkies and made it home in time to work on my text-to-speech app for tomorrows office presentation by yours truly, the demo monkey, also known as waldo. The current look is cross of cornea gumbo and angry garden salad, but my main purpose tomorrow is to make sure everyone is eating our own dog food. That is, of course, if the tier zero propellerheads in IT haven’t jerry-rigged my system. Oh well, at least it wasn't a total salmon day. HIOOC, better head to *$ before I burn the candle at both ends, C4N!

Lifestreaming: The New Over Flow of Info

Trying to stay on top of technology is no easy task. Fortunately it is one that I love. Especially when I get to learn about new and intriguing technology that ultimately impacts us users. And then I get to try and explain it ;-) but for me that's the fun part.

Take lifestreaming for instance...

I just read an excellent column by Paul Gillin in BtoB who recently joined the Posterous parade and subscribed to Google Sidewiki. You've got to love a columnist who's second sentence out of the gate is "These technologies are going to mess you up."
Here's what he had to say:

"Posterous is one of the emerging class of so-called lifestreaming tools (Ping.fm is another) that magnify the voice of individuals by syndicating their comments through multiple online outlets. With Posterous, my messages automatically ripple out to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, my blog and even video- and photo-sharing sites. Post to Posterous and be published everywhere.

Sidewiki is, potentially, even more disruptive. Google describes it as a way to “contribute helpful information to any Web page,” but it is really an invitation for customers to take over your site. A feature of the latest version of the Google toolbar, Sidewiki enables anyone to share commentary about any Web page. With a single click, visitors can see other people's opinions in an adjacent sidebar.

Services such as Posterous, Sidewiki and Google's new Wave platform are taking the commercial Internet to a new level. The first 15 years of the Web were all about sites: Information had a virtual home, and it was up to the visitor to find it. That scenario is about as efficient as requiring friends to come into your living room to hear your movie review.

The next evolution of the Web will take us beyond the site to a metaphor based upon content. Twitter began the journey three years ago with a service that casts messages into cyberspace to be caught wherever readers choose to catch them. Twitter has a Web site, but the majority of its active members send and receive tweets through third-party readers. Nearly every social platform will offer this kind of integration in short order.

These trends will disrupt traditional concepts of influence. Individual opinions will increasingly be magnified and syndicated through channels that can't easily be evaluated by monitoring comments, trackbacks and Technorati rankings. Marketing messages will be less important than the audience's validation of those messages. The winners will be the companies that do the best job of enticing constituents to do the talking for them." Fantastic!

Read more articles by Paul Gillin, a consultant who specializes in community journalism and social media, on his website, http://www.gillin.com