This is funny.
If you read what I wrote last week about my classes this semester, you may remember that one of my classes is on ministry within a pop/media-culture. I don’t have class on Wednesdays, so I’ve been (trying to) studying all day, and when I checked the syllabus for the ministry in media class to see what I was supposed to read before class next week, I was happily surprised to learn that there was no reading assigned, but instead I needed to watch several videos on youtube. Seriously? That’s awesome.
Watching the four videos assigned for class was one of the most enjoyable 30 minutes of homework I can remember. I’m going to share two of them here because I think they offer a fascinating and informative look at the history and evolution of digital technology (and text) as tools for sharing information, with style. Both videos were created by Michael Wesch, Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Kansas State University.
The Machine is Us/ing Us
[Note: the reason for this post is to pass on a link to an interesting essay about life, dating and marriage, but I found the need to first explain why I ever read this essay in the first place. If you are not interested in my explanation and prefer to just read the essay, click here and read it now…otherwise, read on and you will eventually find the link below.]
Like most people around my age, I have several email addresses on various email services including the grandfather of free mail on the internet, hotmail. I actually have two hotmail addresses and one of them is the very first email address I ever had (my dad helped me sign up for it sometime around 1997 when we had dial-up internet and a Dell computer with a whopping 1GB hard drive…coincidentally, my parents finally replaced that computer two years ago and that single event – my dad helping me set up an email account – over ten years ago was the only time that one of my parent’s helped me do anything related to computers, the internet or technology).
Nowadays – since gmail was created – I don’t check my hotmail accounts very often, but I still use one of them for bills and online orders; and since the other is my first email address I think I’m keeping it because of an emotional connection (plus it’s fun to look back in my inbox and see emails from when I was in high school…way back in the 90s). Even though I don’t really use either hotmail address much for actually writing emails, I still check them every couple of days just to make sure I don’t miss anything important. The way my hotmail email checking usually goes is something like this; I sign in to one of the accounts and delete my new junk mail (since that’s all I seem to get at either), then sign out so I can sign in to check the other one and do the same thing again (delete junk, then sign out).
The people at Microsoft—who did not originally create hotmail, but quickly bought it in 1997 when they realized how popular it would become—are brilliant because they traffic all hotmail users through the msn.com homepage, meaning all advertisements, features and other content they display will be seen by millions of people daily who did not even choose to visit their website, yet still could potentially end up spending significant online time on one of the sites that lives under the ever-expanding msn umbrella. The way companies like Microsoft have created inter-webbing connections and relationships between various companies and their websites – while making crazy dollar bills from naïve internet consumers like me in the process – is absolutely incredible.
I wouldn’t list msn.com on any of my lists of top or favorite websites, yet I still end up on the site a lot more often than I intend or even realize. The links from msn that I tend to click usually end up being articles from their “Dating & Personals” section. Now before you start thinking all sorts of ridiculous and untrue things about me, let me explain. I don’t actually click on a tab to the section with that name, but articles that happen to be from that section (although it’s unknown to me at the time) are often featured on the msn.com main page that I’m channeled through between my hotmail accounts, and normally the articles have catchy titles about things I can relate to or that at least sound interesting – something like “How to date on a tight budget” or “First-date faux pas” – and it probably doesn’t hurt that the title is usually next to a picture of an attractive girl that I’d like to date if given the chance (although anyone who knows me know that if I was ever “given the chance” to be in the same room as these girls, the chances of me actually talking to them are less than 3%). I know that I’m not the only one who reads these corny, yet often insightful articles. In fact, I’ve been in the middle of conversations with friends when one of us has actually used some of the advice (sometimes even quoting something from a “dating and relationships” articles from msn) and the other person called them out, and by doing this, admitting that they too had read the article.
Back to the reason for this post. I want to pass on a link to one of the articles from msn.com that I read this morning while checking my hotmail (I originally wrote this back in June, before I had started this blog, so it was actually not “this” morning, but I double-checked and the article is still online). It’s a bit different than the usual dating and relationship articles I have gotten sucked into reading, mostly because it doesn’t give a lot of advice, but is more of a personal essay about taking a chance on love and making it work. In that way, I guess it does offer advice to people in the dating world; it’s just not a blatantly obvious advice column (perhaps this is why I am feeling brave enough to admit that I read it and pass on the link to you). The essay is titled “Married at 24: Crazy in Love or Just Crazy?” and it’s written by a woman (Elissa Schappell) who is writing about her own life. It’s a witty and introspective account of unexpectedly meeting her future husband while living a carefree, young and single life in New York city and the also-unexpected struggles of marriage that followed. I don’t want to give anything away, but I want to share a one-line preview of Schappell’s essay in hopes that it might convince you to read it. Just hours after meeting her future husband on a train, she is struck by the thought “I am either going to marry this guy, or I’m going to kill him so no one else can have him.” How wonderfully beautiful (and scary) is that?
Okay, enough from me. Here’s a link to Elissa Schappell’s essay, “Married at 24: Crazy in Love or Just Crazy?” I’m prepared for your jokes if you think sharing something like this is funny, but at least read the essay before leaving a comment teasing me for having read it.
anewdoxology was born almost two months ago and it’s been fun watching it become…whatever it’s becoming. I had wanted to start a blog for over a year when finally I created this site and I have really enjoyed having a place to share my thoughts and pass on some of the things I find interesting in the worlds of faith and culture; and to my surprise–although it’s hard to tell for sure–it seems some of you actually enjoy reading/seeing what I’ve been sharing. *Note: the only proof I have of this claim are a few comments people have shared with me–like, “Hey, I’ve been reading your blog and it’s pretty cool”–and the “Blog Stats” from wordpress that currently show that anewdoxology has been viewed 1,205 times since it went live in November…and no, it doesn’t count my visits to the site in those stats.
I started this blogging thing as a trial, unsure of how it would go (sort of like an experiment); but I quickly realized it was something I really liked and wanted to continue doing (assuming people were reading what I was writing). While I’m still not sure what anewdoxology is going to become, I’ve begun thinking of it as more than just something I am trying out as an experiment–it’s become part of who I am and how I communicate with other people–it’s become an effective/alternative way for me to share my thoughts with others, it’s just that I use a keyboard instead of my voice.
In what I guess could be seen as both a personal and public commitment to my blog, I decided to clean up the web address and make it a bit more official. I bought the domain name http://www.anewdoxology.com today, so “.wordpress.” is no longer in the name (although anewdoxology.wordpress.com is linked to the new site so it will get you to the same place). I might “try on” a few new looks for the site in the near future; but the thoughts, videos, photos and links will match what I’ve posted in the past.
Happy New Year and thanks for reading! I hope you’ll continue visiting anewdoxology and maybe even tell some of your friends about it. Feel free to share your thoughts on anything by leaving a comment, or just email me.
Hi, my name is Andy and I’m addicted to email. I check my email at least 5 times a day, probably more some days, depending on where I’m at and if they have free wireless. I have 3 “main” email accounts, 2-3 “secondary/junk” accounts (which I only check once every couple days), plus the inbox for my facebook and myspace pages; add it all up and the amount of time I spend simply checking all my emails (not even reading or writing messages) is getting out of control. My “problem” has become more noticeable lately as I’m trying to be a productive student and finish the semester strong. I have a lot of work to do before I can really enjoy the Christmas season and working on school stuff often takes a backseat to other-much less important things; I’m actually proud/embarrassed to admit that sometimes I find myself checking email or reading articles online while sitting in class (I hope none of my professors are reading this, although I doubt I have them confused since it’s probably pretty obvious that I’m not paying attention to their lecture). I’ve come to realize that grad school is pretty much all writing (papers and projects) – at least it is in my experience as a seminary student – there are very few tests…in fact, this is end of my third semester (plus one J-term) and when I buy new books after Christmas I will have only taken one real test (you know, the kind you take in a classroom after the professor comes in and asks everyone put away all their study materials and all you hear for the next two hours is the sound of furious writing – the joyful release of knowledge before it’s forgotten – and an occasional sniffle, since students are always sick around finals, especially in December when it’s cold outside and people haven’t been getting much sleep).
The thinking seems to go something like this… when you’re studying for a test you’d rather be writing a paper, but when you’re writing a paper you’d rather be studying for a test. Continue reading