Paul the Pre-industrial Poet tells me that I need to get onto a popular Pen Pal Network. He's an "early adopter," who tends to find technology quickly, explore it rapidly and then decide if he wants to keep it or dump it.
I tell him that he treats technology like an uncouth bacehlor who hasn't discovered the joy of marriage. He says, "More like speed-dating, but you're right . . . No, I don't like your metaphor at all. I use technology, but it's because I don't want it to use me. I don't want to be married to a medium and forget about my real wife. Let's avoid human metaphors. The more we human the machine, the more we dehumanize ourselves."
"So, why should I join the pen pal network?"
"You need to be part of my PLN. It's how I connect with other educators."
"Can't you just connect over a pint?"
"Does it have to be either/or?"
"I just don't see the big deal in using a pen pal network. I can't see the value in sending trite little messages to people on my free time."
"So, if something is short, it's trite? What about parables and poetry and proverbs?" Paul is quite fond of alliteration.
"I just don't see what the big deal is."
"It's a social medium. You connect with people constantly and share ideas and resources and, on a good day, you share a part of yourself."
"Every medium is social. I keep hearing this term 'social media,' but a letter is social. I send postcards all the time. Last time I checked, that's social. It just seems to be a ton of hype."
"You might be right, Tom. But the only thing worse than creating unnecessary hype is the snobbery of avoiding a medium simply because people are excited about it."