You’ve Got Questions, I, um, Don’t Have Answers

I’m at least 20 years younger than the people in my group.Over my time at Partners, I can count the number of coworkers within 10 years of me on one hand. Now, I find myself in school again and am half a dozen years older than the majority of my classmates. Suffice it to say, I’m used to having unique perspectives on situations. Now, however, I find myself feeling not-so-unique. Down right pedestrian if I’m honest. And what do I have to thank for it? One of my passions of course: technology.

When Ray Bradbury died, I found out from Twitter. When Random House limited libraries to 26 loans of their eBooks, Twitter told me. It’s amazing how much knowledge is out there. I can’t even fathom keeping up with it all. Yet, thanks to my job stagnation I’ve spent far too long being the go-to guy for information and it’s a huge adjustment to admit my ignorance now that I’ve assumed a new role. But admit it I must.

Next week I start my Reference and Information Services class and I’m quite enthused. No longer is reference limited to a series of ponderous tomes available only in the library. Now there are online databases and such information services such as Wikipedia and Google. (side note: I wonder if the latter two are used in libraries.) I can’t count the number of times I’ve run into some application error or another and googled it to see what the folks on the net forums have to say about it.

With Google being the prevailing info-gathering method, I wonder if that would be akin laser discs. They were going to revolutionize the way we watched movies and, for a time, they did. Then the DVD came along and dashed that dream. I wonder how soon it will be before Twitter is accepted reference tool. With hash tags people can add their tweets to the stream of information on the topic. One of the pitfalls I see is it’s even less controlled than Wikipedia. At least Wikipedia has peer review to call out BS and change or remove erroneous information. While Twitter can have the same sort of peer review, by way of people responding to twitter trash, those tweets are usually left out there to clog up our search results. So will Twitter be like DVDs and be widely popular until the technology that is analogous to Blu-Ray comes along? As the title of the blog entry states: I don’t have the answers.

I’m hoping this class will help me come to terms with not having all the answers any more, while at the same time providing me with the tools and methods on how to get the answers I don’t have. I’m also hoping it will get me back on track with being comfortable with change. I’ve always been one to go with the flow. Recently, though, I realized that I’m subconsciously resisting a certain change at work. For the last 5 years or so, I’ve been the SharePoint guru for the department. That on-line collaboration tool of Microsoft’s has widespread adoption, yet it’s probably not the best tool for us. I know this. Yet, when I hear talk about Oxygen or Box taking over SharePoint’s duties I shake my head in frustration.

SharePoint can do all those things I say to myself. All we need is the proper governance.

Yes, but the stigma SharePoint has suffered may very well make any acceptance of the platform improbable, I reply to myself.

Improbable, but not impossible! I cry silently

Whatever you say, Sherlock, I reply indifferently.

I’m tempted to reply but realize that it’s bad enough talking to myself, but losing the argument would be unforgivable. So I shut my mental pie hole…oh pie…

ANYWAY!

I guess what the whole point of this is to express my unease with the way in which I get answers. I’m younger than coworkers yet older than classmates. I’m more technically savvy than the former but less than the latter. I know more and less than others at the same time. That’s making me slowly realizing it’s not having the answers that’s  important but rather having the way to find the answers that’s important.

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