Tuesday, September 29, 2009

We Are All Newbs

I'm sitting on a laptop.

Sorry, I should explain. You see, I meant to sit down in a chair at a table overlooking the ocean, but instead I plopped down on top of someone's laptop.

I should explain.

I'm in Second Life. Really, as I write this post, I've got another 'me' waiting for a book-talk in SL. That's where I mistakenly sat on the laptop.

And why did I sit on the laptop rather than in the chair?

Because I'm a Newb.

Fact is: We are all Newbs.

In my case, I've been virtually paperless for three years, have been using social media since the days of BBS systems, and remember celebrating my 8th birthday by learning how to hack games on a Commodore 64. And yet I'm still a Newb.

There will always be another laptop for me to sit on.

Because if I ain't a Newb, then I ain't nothing. Because a world in which I ain't a Newb in 'something' just don't seem all that interesting to me.

And so right now, while I'm no stranger to virtual worlds -- been questing in 'em from Zork to Azeroth -- I'm still a bit shaky in SL. I was slow to get on board, and I've been critical of it, and I've come up with all kinds of excuses to try to ignore it; but really -- especially when I see some of the remarkable installations there from NASA to Princeton to NPR's Science Friday -- I realize it's really just a matter of me getting up to speed so that I can make my little corner of SL what I think it should be.

And I'll get better at it. And I'll carve out my little space.

And then something else will come along and I'll be a Newb at that.

All this Newb business, however, is making all of us pros when it comes to the most important element in this whole paradigm shift. Being a Newb is part of the process of becoming connected. From SL to Twitter to Hulu to Jing: it's all about the connection. And right now we are learning what connectedness is really all about.

There are days when I'd like to go back in time to the early days of telephone just to hear the naysayers gloat about the naivety of those mad inventors. Because in every dropped call, burnt up wire, lost voice, and ear that listened but heard only darkness, one thing persevered: the idea that we could connect.

And that's where we are today. We are the Newbs. And we are trying to connect.

This ain't the end of the road. Twitter isn't the pinnacle of human achievement. Facebook ain't gonna survive the next decade (at least not in the same form). And if you think WoW makes SL look like Pong, just wait to see what's coming down the pike.

We are all Newbs.

Thank goodness.

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