Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Thing 1 : Getting Started (23 things on a stick)

I just signed up for the 23 Things on a Stick project. This is put together by various Minnesota libraries, as a way to encourage people to learn Web 2.0 technologies in an accessible way. It counts for credit for some statewide programs, too. (Why the name? Well, we have a state fair, see, at which it is common to have food on a stick. Ice cream. Cheese. Chocolate covered bananas. Ostrich. Scotch Eggs. Thus 'things on a stick' is a well-known state-wide phrase.)

I already know a number of things on the list (I've been online in various forms since 1994, after all, and have put in significant volunteer time at LiveJournal.com). But a lot of my online time is not under identities linked to my legal name (and which talk about some things, like my religious life, that I prefer to keep separate from work.) so I've been working on building up a professional online body of work/commentary (part of why I started this blog late last year!)

I'm using 23 Things on a Stick as a chance to try out some new specific sites and resources, and also as a way to document what I already know and think about different resources. So far, I'm really impressed with what I've seen: the instructions are clearly written without being too tedious for people who already have some experience, and there's plenty there to keep me busy, even though I'm already familiar with many of the sites under discussion in a general sort of way.

The first Thing is to create a blog (that part, I'd already done) and to set up an avatar. I wanted to choose something new (and appropriate) for this, so I'm riffing on my blog (and email) name. The name was suggested by a friend who knows of my general appreciation for Hypatia, and who suggested the 'modern' part as a nice way to make a unique handle.

Hypatia, as many of you may know, is popularly considered to be the last librarian at the Great Library at Alexandria, who was murdered by a rampaging mob. The actual story is a little more complicated (Wikipedia actually has the best one-page summary I've found recently) but there's still a lot of good to emulate there. Also, it makes a lovely professional image.

I was delighted, when I played around with Yahoo's Avatar offerings to discover that they had a Roman-style stola and a laurel wreath crown included. I'm always a little edgy about online avatars (I don't know about anyone else out there, but they're rarely my shape or height: I'm short and descended from long lines of European peasants who were good at surviving famines, which is to say 'so not tall and leggy'.) This, though, amuses me greatly.

That's enough for today: I intend to blog in the near future about some of Thing 1's challenge questions (especially different blogging platforms and book-related blogs I read regularly.

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