How I am most productive while being idle or is it librarianship at its best?
Well, do you know what I do while I am doing nothing?
I am idle most of the time I commute between my office and residence. It comes out to be about two and half hours on week days. I am also not doing anything while awake in bed but reluctant to come out of my blanket in this Delhi winter. I am also idle while helping my wife in her daily house hold things on Saturdays and Sundays. While washing machine is doing its work I am standing idle waiting to for it to complete its work.
Yes, I do nothing except for “playing” with my mobile phone. Yes, it is the same dying model of Sony Ericsson K750i. But it does wonders for me. It connects me to Internet through that old GPRS protocol which now has been outdated with 3G. Thanks, to MTNL, which makes it possible for me to remain connected at very affordable rates. (It charges 1 paisa per 10 KB. 100 paise makes an Indian Rupee and about 46 Rupees makes an US Dollar)
“Playing” with mobile phone? Well, my wife may say that! But actually, either I am going through my RSS Subscriptions on Google Reader or logged to Twitter. Apart from these I also check my emails. Yes, I am reading while I am doing ‘nothing’. So, what is so great about that? Well, I also share the best of what I read. On, Twitter, I follow interesting links twittered by people I follow. If I find these worth sharing with my followers, I “RT” (Re-Tweet) these links as such or with my comments. I also tweet other information bits which I happen to discover while browsing net or reading my emails. While on Google Reader, whenever I find some interesting RSS item, I simply click on ‘share’.
Now what happens to my ‘shared’ items is interesting and I can call it my ‘productive librarianship’. Yes, “Librarianship”! If you agree with me that selecting, collecting, organizing and archiving objects containing information for re-use comes within the scope of librarianship.
Ok, then what happens to my ‘shared items’. Well, first of all, I am using a service called FriendFeed that automatically picks up my shared items from Google Reader. It then further feed these to twitter with my user account. These items along with my RTs and original tweets are available to my followers. So you see I select items and connect my followers and friends to these. Well, not just on twitter but also on social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn and Orkut. Such social networking applications can now integrate twitter with them.
However, I was looking for some mechanism to archive my twitter activity as well some time. Recently, I found a way out. I created a blog to archive my twitter activity. Well, it is on a paid server space (I can admit spending some money from my pocket as my wife is not going to read this). I used WordPress as the blogging platform and added a freely available ‘Plugin’ called Twitter Digest. Now, what it does? It automatically pulls out my twitter updates and displays in right hand side-frame. Nothing great, but then it also automatically creates a daily digest of my twitter updates and blogs it as one post per day. So, what started as a piece of information being read and shared on my mobile phone in idle time becomes a part of a blog post.
Here, one important aspect should be noted. I would be following only those people whose tweets are of my interest. Further, I would be picking and reading only those links which would appear potentially useful to me. Then after going through these, I would be deciding as which of these could be useful to my followers and thus can be shared. So, here there is lot of filtering going on. As information passes through more and more filters, it gets enriched and authenticated at each level.
Just look this from a higher level of abstraction. Information generated in the grey cells (brain) of uncountable number of people connected to internet gets filtered at various stages. Bits that generate interest in other grey cells travel far wide and quickly. Ultimately, the best information gets organized according to various interests.
Whatever it may be, I am Librarian at best in my idle time.