Monday, 20 April 2009

Living online

There was a time when I thought writing a blog was self indulgent. I would say that was maybe my first year at MCAD when I thought that. I didn't know anyone who was writing one at the time and I didn't follow any. When I started MCAD in 2004 I was still a MySpace person, although I tried to have more of a life offline. I thought that it was important to actually get out of the computer lab and interact with real people, but maybe that's because I was 26 at the time and not 19.

Now, I blog and I love it. When I have a look back at the things I've written I can see how far I've come. To me it's my online journal and it makes it much easier than writing it in a book. I hope that by sharing my experiences that I will be able to help people. I have definitely benefited from reading the blogs of other ex pats. It's always good to know that you're not the only one going through what you're going through!

Before writing this blog about living abroad I had two blogs that were class projects. The That Was Cheap blog was for my Mashing Up the Internet class and I think we were just supposed to have blog about something we were interested in. The other blog, Rheaj-Fieldjournal, was for my Design in Context class and we were supposed to track something, I was tracking the color green in clothing. For that assignment we had the choice of using a blog or just keeping a good old fashioned journal. I decided to go online, even though I am a huge fan of the journal.

Of course during my time at MCAD Facebook appeared on the scene and now that's my social network of choice and I only visit MySpace maybe once every few months.

One of things I've been thinking about lately is how much time I spend on the computer living my life online. I spend too much time on FB. I love it because I can stay in touch with what's going with my friends back home, I am still connected to my friends even though I am in another country.

I love seeing the updates that the MCAD gang is hanging out and that all is well in Minneapolis. FB has been extremely useful in meeting new people out here in London. I've met up with total strangers from being a member of the Americans in London group. I can't imagine what it would be like to live here without it. I sometimes think about the ways it would be different if the only way to be in contact with people in the States was through mail and the telephone.

I also have a Twitter account. That's been an incredible way to get loads of very useful information. I haven't been posting a great deal on Twitter because I do agree that it's better to use it as a way to share information than to just update someone on what you're thinking at that very moment. Although I am not opposed to a good balance of the two. Someone mentioned that I should promote a topic that I like and become a Twitter expert. Twitter is great, but in moderation. I have the tendency to want to be checking it far too often when I am on the computer, so I just don't log in during the day. I wait until the end of the day and then I go through and sift through the updates and bookmarks links that I am interested in.

Maybe the real problem is my self control, but I like to feel like I am in the know. The problem lies in the fact that I could end up spending hours online. My love of reading and keeping up with all the current trends and information could mean that I never leave my flat.

Or, maybe it's because I have so much time on my hands looking for a job coupled with the fact that I don't have very many friends here in London. I am of course working on making friends here in London and have met some great people lately. Shout out to Mary, Pete, Shradda and Jamie. I like to be connected to people, so if there aren't any real people than I am ok with virtual ones.

It's interesting to notice the ways I use the internet because of the situation of living abroad. I post on messages boards, which might not be that shocking, but I've never done that before.

One more thing that I'd like to get off my chest, is that while I do feel grateful for the new ways people are able to communicate it's still nice having a real time having a good chat over a great cup of coffee.

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