Editorial March 08
Confessions of a late adopter
I admit it – I am a late adopter. And no, that’s not a synonym for slow learner. All right, it’s true I didn’t learn to ride a bike until I was eleven. But that’s not a big deal, is it? And I didn’t learn to drive a car until I was in my twenties—what did I need a car for, I had a bike! So clearly, I’ve never been one to jump too hastily into anything—perhaps stemming from the time I was goaded into jumping off the carport roof (with cries of “chicken!” ringing in my ears) against my better judgement, only to sprain my ankle on the first jump. I ended up missing a week of school, and this in the days before 24/7 cartoon networks. I guess I did learn a thing or two from the soap operas that ruled the daytime airwaves in those days; but that’s another story . . .
At least when I was younger a bike was a bike and a car was a car. It wasn’t until the computer age turned everyday life on its head that the issue of adopting new technology really became an issue. Here, I think, my methodical approach to taking on new challenges has paid off, although in this case I think the impetus for adopting new technology late is my inherent cheapness. When CD players came out, they were expensive. When computers came out, they were expensive. When iPods came out . . . I think you can see where I’m going here. Anyway, as I watched everyone else running out to buy the latest technology, only to have the prices drop a month or two later, it only confirmed my wait-and-see approach.
The funny thing is that once I finally do take the plunge and adopt a new piece of technology, I fall head-over-heels in love with it. Once I finally got a CD player, my record collection became something that I carted from new house to new house but never listened to, until I finally sold or gave them all away prior to our last move. I finally bought a computer years after my parents did (“what would I ever want with one of those?!”) with the idea that I would use it as a glorified typewriter (no more white out!). Now, of course, I make my living sitting in front of my two monitors (yes, it took me years to buy a second one, now I couldn’t live without it) and tapping away at my keyboard. (A weird aside here: lately I’ve found myself trying to hit the “undo” button in all kinds of situation—like painting the kitchen or spilling wine on the carpet. How’s that for losing touch with reality?). My iPod goes everywhere with me (Current contents: 4842 songs – that’s 14.2 days of continuous listening without repeating anything. Current favourites: Great Lake Swimmers, Lightening Dust, Cat Power, Patty Griffin, Steve Earle and the soundtrack to I’m Not There).
So where am I going with all this, you may well ask . . . I’m going blogging is where I’m going. Yes, your faithful servant and editor has joined the ranks of the blogosphere. And as is my wont, I’m several years behind the pack—I’m sure everyone else is busy chasing some new cutting-edge technological rainbow to some other pot of gold. It all started several months ago when I finally got down to building a Bulletin website, just in time for our 50th Anniversary year. I got the site up and running and it looked pretty good (www.jccabulletin-geppo.ca), but geez, was it a pain to update! (which is why I put it off for so long—the idea of sweating blood to get The Bulletin off to the printer and then having to do it all again for the web version did not fill me with joy). And then I had an epiphany one morning: what about blogging software? It was supposed to be easy to use. That’s all I knew, though. So I sent a quick e-mail off to Toddish McWong (of Gung Haggis Fat Choy fame) as I knew he ran a popular blog. He assured me that it was as easy as pie. He sent me to someone who sent me to the WordPress website. And the rest is history. I may be slow but I’m not stupid and I quickly figured out this was the way to go. So I converted the new Bulletin website to a blog format. That seemed pretty easy, so I thought, what the heck, and set up an actual blog—canadiannikkei.ca/blog. It has been a real shift in thinking for me. As an editor, I am used to collecting information, stories and photos over the course of a month and then publishing everything all at once on press day. No more. Now I can post information as it comes in, whether it’s news of the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre in Kamloops burning down (and the subsequent benefit concert by the Groove Brothers in support of the Centre) or an announcement of an upcoming event. Everything and anything goes up on the blog, unconstrained by length considerations. Any information that remains current at the end of the month goes into The Bulletin. It’s all good!
As for the internet killing off printed books and magazines (like The Bulletin), it’s not going to happen. While websites and blogs serve a useful purpose (like instantaneous information at ones’ fingertips) they present a different way of looking at the world and a complement to existing technology like books, magazines and newspapers. (It doesn’t always go both ways: books that claim to be guides to the internet are just plain weird – but websites that point to good books, now that makes sense.)
They say that one has to keep one’s mind active in order to keep it healthy, and this newfound blogging activity has certainly kept me on my mental toes. As a newbie, I am learning something every day and somehow it’s strangely comforting to know that I’m in good company. I feel locked into an enormous network of fellow bloggers out there in the blogoshere, all with varying levels of expertise, but learning as we go.
Anyway, I hope you will all continue reading The Bulletin in all its printed glory, but will check out the Bulletin website and my new blog too—it’s a brave new world out there. And it’s in colour!
And as for this blu-ray thing I’ve been reading about lately . . . I think I’ll give it another couple of years . . .