Saturday, September 20, 2008

Dis connection, dat connection

"Connect" is a big word. At my place of work, it ends up in our tagline:

OCLC. The world's libraries. Connected.

From last Sunday around 4pm until Thursday around 3pm, we were disconnected by hurricane Ike. According to the weather folk, Ike pushed a really large, fast-moving warm air front up from the south. Said front met a cold air mass coming down from Canada (probably due to the good exchange rate, ha ha), and when they met... woosh. We had 75 mile an hour winds throughout much of Central Ohio, knocking out power for something like 1.4 million people in the state.

We were very lucky. We had some limbs down in the back yard, a bunch of twiggy, leafy crap in the front. We lost a fridge and a stand-alone freezer worth of food (which was covered by our homeowner's insurance -- something for y'all to remember), and had some very minor damage to our vinyl siding. No big whoop. And while having no power (or Web or phone or TV) for four days was a pain, it was also kinda fun, as it meant checkers by candlelight, more reading (I'm reading Neal Stephenson's new "Anathem" on my phone),  and early bedtimes. Again... I'm extremely thankful that all we lost was some electrons and frozen shrimp.

So... we were somewhat dis-connected. Or were we? I still had my cell phone, as did my wife. I had Internet access at work and on my phone. I did have to go to some lengths to retrieve some files off my desktop PC at home (thanks for the battery back-up, Chris!), but that was about the only real, "Crap! I can't do what I want without these connections!" that really needed to be "dealt with." The rest was just, well... suck it up and wait.

I might have felt differently if the weather hadn't been so pleasant, too. Nice, cool nights. Tack another 12 degrees onto the thermometer and Andy would have been a whiny camper.

So to celebrate our return to the connected world, I finally signed up for Twitter.  I have not yet really grokked Twitter. But, as a good corporate marketing wonk, I subscribed to an RSS feed of tweets that refer to my company, OCLC. And that has been very... interesting. Nothing hugely surprising in any given message (or as a whole), but the feeling it has given me is much the same as when I overhear a snippet of conversation in the lobby or at a restaurant. It's a kind of... slightly guilty pleasure. Of course, all these people choose to twitter about whatever it is... but they don't know, specifically, that I'm "overhearing" them.

Basically, it just seems kinda fun. Another level of Internetual awareness.

So... the Twitter widget is in my sidebar over there, and you're invited to follow along, if you like. For the time being, my vow is that all my tweets will be in haiku.

Why? Well, why the heck not.

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