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Robin Williams Joins the TechSource Blog Team

Submitted by Tom Peters on March 26, 2008 - 10:30am
Posted on 03/26/2008 at 02:56:43 PM by Tom Peters

[Robin Williams is the newest member of the ALA TechSource Blog Team.  Welcome, Robin!  Recently she and I met and chatted on ALA Island in Second Life, the 3-dimensional virtual world.  The text chat transcript of our conversation is pasted below.  Greylin Fairweather is the name of Robin's avatar in Second Life, and Maxito Ricardo is my avatar.] 
-- Tom Peters (interim editor of the TechSource blog)


The avatar Greylin Fairweather[12:58]  Greylin Fairweather: Maxito Ricardo!

[12:58]  Maxito Ricardo:   Hi, Greylin

[13:00]  Maxito Ricardo:   Welcome to the TS blogging team!

[13:00]  Greylin Fairweather: Thank you : )

[13:00]  Greylin Fairweather: I'm very excited about it

[13:02]  Maxito Ricardo:   What are your thoughts, hopes, fears, etc. as you begin your TechSource blogging thingy?

[13:03]  Greylin Fairweather: I hope to bring relevant school library technology information in an interesting and useful way.

[13:03]  Maxito Ricardo:   great!

[13:03]  Greylin Fairweather: I am a born techie, but a literature major so I can usually make it accessible.

[13:03]  Maxito Ricardo:   Hey, I'm an old lit major myself.

[13:03]  Maxito Ricardo:   Anything in that area really have you revved up at the moment?

[13:04]  Greylin Fairweather: I'm doing a lot with documenting the ephemeral

[13:04]  Greylin Fairweather: how do you capture what you do on the internet, from web pages to virtual worlds

[13:04]  Maxito Ricardo:   Great need for more study, research, and tools in that area.

[13:05]  Greylin Fairweather: I've been working with Dr. Loertscher a lot on the 21st century librarian concept

[13:06]  Greylin Fairweather: and rather than just focus on bringing the social networking computing into the library, I like looking into what the essential characteristics of online communities are and how to translate the best of it into the REAL world.

[13:05]  Maxito Ricardo:   Are you finishing up your graduate work at San Jose State University?

[13:06]  Greylin Fairweather: I finish this semester, yes

[13:07]  Maxito Ricardo:   I've been pondering the essence of virtual communities, but haven't gotten much past some unstructured pondering.

[13:07]  Greylin Fairweather: lol anytime you want to coponder on that I'm in. : )

[13:07]  Greylin Fairweather: I've written a little bit and have more planned on it

[13:07]  Maxito Ricardo:   If we coponder, does that make us a virtual community?

[13:07]  Greylin Fairweather: haha

[13:07]  Greylin Fairweather: virtually ; p

[13:08]  Maxito Ricardo:   Coponderers Anonymous!

[13:08]  Greylin Fairweather: rofl

[13:08]  Greylin Fairweather: I'm doing an internship for Sun Microsystems

[13:08]  Maxito Ricardo:   So, how are we going to keep track of all this collaborative work we are doing online and in virtual worlds?

[13:09]  Maxito Ricardo:   Oh, and I want to hear more about your internship at Sun.

[13:09]  Greylin Fairweather: screen capture, web capture, machinima

[13:09]  Maxito Ricardo:   screencasts, podcasts...

[13:09]  Greylin Fairweather: And we can share it with posts blogs, ustream and blip, etc

[13:09]  Greylin Fairweather: you tube, etc

[13:10]  Greylin Fairweather: My biggest concern is that I am very much a practical, this is what you DO kinda gal

[13:10]  Greylin Fairweather: rather than a theoretical researcher

[13:10]  Maxito Ricardo:   You are very action and outcomes oriented?

[13:11]  Greylin Fairweather: Yes

[13:11]  Maxito Ricardo:   That's great

[13:11]  Greylin Fairweather: I'm a teacher to the core,

[13:11]  Greylin Fairweather: 13+ years

[13:11]  Greylin Fairweather: and I like to share useful how to's, solutions

ALA Island main stage[13:11]  Maxito Ricardo:   Speaking of outcomes, this ALA Island is beautiful.

[13:12]  Greylin Fairweather: Aww thanks. I still think of our part as more of a beginning

[13:12]  Greylin Fairweather: but I love the layout, it's just so easy to navigate

[13:12]  Maxito Ricardo:   yes, very open and inviting.

[13:12]  Maxito Ricardo:   For some reason, I always think of an Olympic Village.

[13:12]  Greylin Fairweather: lol It's the flags

[13:12]  Maxito Ricardo:   Maybe this will become the Info Olympics Village!

[13:13]  Greylin Fairweather: you should have one to coincide with the real olympics, how fun would that be?

[13:13]  Maxito Ricardo:   Now I'm going to spend the rest of the day imagining Info Olympics Events.

[13:13]  Greylin Fairweather: lol

[13:14]  Maxito Ricardo:   Retrocon is the marathon.

[13:14]  Maxito Ricardo:   Reference is Greco-Roman wrestling

[13:14]  Greylin Fairweather: rofl

[13:14]  Greylin Fairweather: that would be hilarious

[13:14]  Greylin Fairweather: For me the greatest bit of the whole virtual world thing is that, as a parent of 2 kids under the age of 5, I get to be home with them and, frankly, am more productive than I would be in a politics-driven cubicle.

[13:14]  Maxito Ricardo:   great point

[13:15]  Maxito Ricardo:   Lots of us in SL seem to have young families.

[13:15]  Maxito Ricardo:   We have four kids, and three of them are three years old.

[13:15]  Greylin Fairweather: and I get access--direct access--to a lot of brilliant minds and thinkers that I would not otherwise get to engage with.

[13:15]  Maxito Ricardo:   So, often when the kids are in bed, I pop into SL as a way to get away while still being within earshot.

[13:15]  Greylin Fairweather: I have a 2 year old and a 4 year old

[13:16]  Maxito Ricardo:   That must be fun.

[13:16]  Greylin Fairweather: Yes! We've left the discos for SL lol

[13:16]  Maxito Ricardo:   My kids are all hopped up on Easter candy at the moment.

[13:16]  Greylin Fairweather: haha mine too

[13:16]  Greylin Fairweather: no leaving our kids with unreliable babysitters

[13:16]  Maxito Ricardo:   no need to invest in nanny cams

[13:16]  Greylin Fairweather: exactly, waste gas, etc

[13:16]  Greylin Fairweather: Did you go to Life 2.0 at all?

[13:16]  Maxito Ricardo:   no, I didn't

[13:16]  Greylin Fairweather: omg it was amazing

[13:17]  Greylin Fairweather: all these guys, Nick Yee, Castronova, whose work I love, right there, super stuff

[13:17]  Maxito Ricardo:   Oh, I love Castronova's work

[13:17]  Greylin Fairweather: and that's the great thing about these places, they're filling with useful interactive content.

[13:18]  Greylin Fairweather: Yeah! He talked about the exodus to the virtual world

[13:18]  Maxito Ricardo:   I agree...perhaps faster than the Web filled up with useful interactive content?

[13:18]  Greylin Fairweather: perhaps, the way tech moves

[13:18]  Greylin Fairweather: but everything we learn here, can be applied out there.

[13:18]  Maxito Ricardo:   He studies how VW economic activity is having an impact on the real world economies.

[13:19]  Greylin Fairweather: Yeah : ) Loved Synthetic worlds

[13:19]  Maxito Ricardo:   Hey, we could blame the current recession on SL!

[13:19]  Greylin Fairweather: lol nah

[13:20]  Greylin Fairweather: although...I would spend more money out there, if it made me look that much better with a click

[13:20]  Maxito Ricardo:   lol

[13:19]  Maxito Ricardo:   What do you think librarians will be doing in VW's in, say, ten years?

[13:20]  Greylin Fairweather: I think that they'll be interactive testing grounds that help us make or improve quality interactive, participatory libraries.

[13:20]  Greylin Fairweather: I love the whole third space concept

[13:21]  Greylin Fairweather: and anyone who has been in here reads it and thinks, yep, that is what this place is.

[13:21]  Maxito Ricardo:   VW's are a quick, inexpensive protyping lab.

[13:21]  Greylin Fairweather: Where can I safely meet strangers and exchange ideas?

[13:21]  Maxito Ricardo:   right

[13:21]  Greylin Fairweather: They are, and most useful when we carry the ideas out

[13:22]  Maxito Ricardo:   I've only felt really creeped out in SL only once.

[13:22]  Maxito Ricardo:   I guess I need to get out more often!

[13:22]  Greylin Fairweather: haha

[13:22]  Greylin Fairweather: Well and you can always teleport here

[13:22]  Greylin Fairweather: Dr. Loertscher was telling me that video games were being blamed for all sorts of ills, obesity, etc

[13:22]  Greylin Fairweather: but I think the truth might be somewhat the reverse

[13:23]  Maxito Ricardo:   yes, teleportation adds a certain edge to any in-world interaction

[13:23]  Greylin Fairweather: lol

[13:23]  Greylin Fairweather: I think that people are scared, and there are few third places (, so we stay in.

[13:24]  Maxito Ricardo:   yes, we all seem to be hunkering down in our real lives.

[13:24]  Greylin Fairweather: and since we're in so long, people have developed excellent things to do indoors

[13:24]  Greylin Fairweather: supply and demand lol

[13:24]  Maxito Ricardo:   Do you think virtual worlds have created another aspect of the digital divide?

[13:25]  Greylin Fairweather: I think there is a divide anywhere...

[13:25]  Maxito Ricardo:   yea, any tech advance is going to create a divide.

[13:25]  Greylin Fairweather: hopefully technology will drop in price so that more people can afford it

[13:25]  Greylin Fairweather: but I'm sure the TV created a digital divide at some point

[13:25]  Maxito Ricardo:   Until you get to the point where 99.9 percent of the households have adopted that tech

[13:26]  Greylin Fairweather: right

[13:26]  Greylin Fairweather: there needs to be some infrastructure to make that happen

[13:26]  Maxito Ricardo:   Virtual worlds seem to be a great place for collaborative networking.

[13:26]  Greylin Fairweather: It is unfortunate that some areas don't have access to high speed access. That is to me, a denial of their right to information.

[13:27]  Greylin Fairweather: I would never have been contacted by Sun without it.

[13:27]  Maxito Ricardo:   "Access" is another thorny concept I ponder often.

[13:27]  Greylin Fairweather: I think how many years I wrote papers for instructors that no one ever saw, I never got feedback etc

[13:27]  Maxito Ricardo:   Yea, no comments box for anyone who reads to comment.

[13:27]  Greylin Fairweather: Here everything I do is seen and I get lots of feedback lol so I strive to make better work than ever.

[13:28]  Maxito Ricardo:   In college, we rarely shared our papers with our peers...weird

[13:28]  Greylin Fairweather: and it has made me more relaxed about revisions and input

[13:28]  Greylin Fairweather: I heard the term "mobsourcing" the other day and loved it

[13:28]  Maxito Ricardo:   Every info object becomes a work in progress...never finished unless everyone moves on to something else

[13:29]  Greylin Fairweather: You make something, you want input? You want to improve it? Mobsource it for free.

[13:29]  Maxito Ricardo: it

[13:29]  Greylin Fairweather: There are millions of people in search of a purpose.

[13:29]  Maxito Ricardo:   Everyone has two cents to give

[13:29]  Greylin Fairweather: everyone really

[13:29]  Greylin Fairweather: exactly

[13:29]  Greylin Fairweather: Focus groups, shmocus groups

[13:29]  Greylin Fairweather: lol

[13:29]  Maxito Ricardo:   Seems like we need better ways to tap into the wisdom of crowds.

[13:30]  Greylin Fairweather: This is it

The avatar Maxito Ricardo[13:30]  Greylin Fairweather: right

[13:30]  Maxito Ricardo:   Reading umpteen comments to a blog post isn't very efficient.

[13:30]  Greylin Fairweather: one way

[13:30]  Greylin Fairweather: and how can we do this in real life?

[13:30]  Greylin Fairweather: instead of one painting on the wall, how about an lcd screen with a voice thread of art

[13:31]  Greylin Fairweather: how can everyone participate?

[13:31]  Maxito Ricardo:   Or make it really easy for people to provide feedback and updates.

[13:31]  Greylin Fairweather: Yes!

[13:31]  Maxito Ricardo:   Like a mashup that charts the spread of sickness in a neighborhood.

[13:32]  Maxito Ricardo:   As David Pogue at the NY Times wrote, now you find out that all your neighbors have been sick only after you're all well again!

[13:31]  Greylin Fairweather: How many times have you let your local reference librarian know how they can better serve you?

[13:31]  Greylin Fairweather: I have never done it, have you?

[13:32]  Greylin Fairweather: I'm a librarian and half the time they intimidate me

[13:32]  Greylin Fairweather: lol

[13:32]  Maxito Ricardo:   Yea, the RW library service interaction doesn't really invite feedback.

[13:32]  Greylin Fairweather: Right, use the international technology to unite the local community.

[13:32]  Greylin Fairweather: but I guarantee in here you'd get feedback

[13:33]  Maxito Ricardo:   That's true

[13:33]  Maxito Ricardo:   If I had a nickel for every time I had to announce I'm bald in-world by choice...

[13:33]  Greylin Fairweather: So what happens in here that makes it easy to give it and what can we do in real life to make it easier out there

[13:33]  Greylin Fairweather: Yeah I don't really have white hair

[13:33]  Greylin Fairweather: lol

[13:34]  Maxito Ricardo:   Yes, I don't get a sense that people who are really active in virtual worlds have "written off" the real world.

[13:34]  Greylin Fairweather: No, quite the opposite

[13:35]  Maxito Ricardo:   They always want to bring the good stuff back to real life and real needs.

[13:35]  Greylin Fairweather: Everything I have read suggests that people are, with a few exceptions, more or less as they are in real life, characterwise

[13:35]  Greylin Fairweather: leaders are leaders, educators are educators, etc.

[13:35]  Greylin Fairweather: The philanthropists are doing their thing

[13:35]  Maxito Ricardo:   ponderers are ponderers

[13:35]  Greylin Fairweather: lol

[13:36]  Maxito Ricardo:   I'm laughing so hard I'm waking Max my dog from his nap

[13:36]  Greylin Fairweather: haha

[13:36]  Greylin Fairweather: And I tend to have a lot of great laughs in here

[13:36]  Greylin Fairweather: I'm not sure people who aren't in realize that.

[13:36]  Maxito Ricardo:   What are you doing as an intern at Sun?

[13:36]  Greylin Fairweather: Mostly machinima at present, which I enjoy greatly.

[13:37]  Maxito Ricardo:   I wish I knew how to make's so cool

[13:37]  Maxito Ricardo:   Does it take a long time to learn?

[13:37]  Greylin Fairweather: They found me through a little video I had made in response to some posters in a student forum debating the use of virtual worlds

[13:37]  Maxito Ricardo:   Do you learn best by doing?

[13:37]  Greylin Fairweather: about ten minutes, but don't tell or I might lose my gig

; p

[13:37]  Greylin Fairweather: I do.

[13:37]  Maxito Ricardo:   short internship!

[13:38]  Greylin Fairweather: haha I'm doing it, and showing them how

[13:38]  Greylin Fairweather: I'm working on a variety of different projects

[13:38]  Greylin Fairweather: I made a quest bot based on the ALICE artificial intelligence stuff

[13:38]  Maxito Ricardo:   Sun seems to be one of the more active and innovative organizations here in SL

[13:39]  Greylin Fairweather: They are really amazing. Very dedicated to contributing to the community

[13:39]  Greylin Fairweather: They sponsored Life 2.0

ALA Island Communications Arts area[13:43]  Maxito Ricardo:   well, I don't want to keep you.

[13:44]  Maxito Ricardo:   We like to have some fun with the ALA TS blog

[13:44]  Maxito Ricardo:   I look forward to working with you on the blog!

[13:44]  Greylin Fairweather: Yeah! Your avatar name is so musical lol I love to say it

[13:45]  Greylin Fairweather: He was like, you know Tom and I thought, really?

[13:45]  Greylin Fairweather: OH Maxito Ricardo!

[13:45]  Maxito Ricardo:   Christy Confetti at Sun is the only person I know with a better RL name than avatar name.

[13:45]  Greylin Fairweather: haha yeah

[13:45]  Greylin Fairweather: She's great

[13:46]  Greylin Fairweather: Robin Williams is hardly a name at all.....overused!

[13:46]  Maxito Ricardo:   Tom Peters is too!

[13:46]  Greylin Fairweather: lol

[13:46]  Maxito Ricardo:   We should start another librarian club: Librarians with names that are more recognizable than they are

[13:46]  Maxito Ricardo:   okay, thanks!

[13:47]  Greylin Fairweather: Thanks!