The columnist

14 Feb

This is what I look like in the 'Star Wars' universe. Hey, shut up, Bantha are DELICIOUS!

Back in August, we started running Digital Savant in the paper once a week (a lot of it generated by the long-running blog that I write) as a column. Work-wise, it’s not a whole lot different, perhaps just a little more structured than writing the same kinds of topics on the blog and with a firmer weekly deadline. Sometimes I’m so caught up in updating the blog and working on other stories that I forget that the column runs in the paper on Mondays and that once a week newspaper readers are subjected to my grinning face, often way too early in the morning.

But it’s been nice to have that routine. I was initially dreading it and, in truth, there are some weeks when my Wednesday deadline looms and I think, “This is going to be embarrassing for all involved,” but it usually turns out OK, and sometimes better than OK. Sometimes I’m really pleased at how the columns turn out and that they definitely have a voice and a point of view that isn’t otherwise represented in the paper. (That point of view I’ll call “Extreme goof dad nerd” until I come up with a better description.)

I haven’t posted about the last two columns because I took a trip to Atlanta or a social media panel that I was moderating (I found out a week before that they wanted me physically present; I thought I was going to be beamed in somehow via Internets and telephonies and magicks). Someone emailed me, “How are your travel arrangements coming” and I stared stupidly at my screening, thinking, “My what?”

Going to Atlanta was lots of fun since I never get to travel, but I’m still catching up with everything that this brief 36-hour trip pushed aside.

So here’s the two columns that ran recently.

The first one is a sort-of review/set of impressions about the MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic, which I’ve been playing pretty regularly since the holidays. In the column I make clear how much of an MMO newbie I still am. I found a way to embarrass myself even in an online game where I don’t know anyone.

It’s very tough to review an MMO, impossible, really. It would take months, if not years. The best you can do is relate some of your own experience and compare it to other gaming experiences you’ve had.

The other column ran this Monday and it’s a list of conversation-starters for South by Southwest Interactive, which is less than a month away. I also posted a blog version that’s full of links to all the panels I talk about in the piece.

On Saturday, I attended TEDxAustin and followed it up with a big, detailed blog post rundown of it. It really was an inspiring day, full of great ideas and speakers who are out there kicking ass and (presumably) creating big-data ways to take names and do something with said ass-kicking/name-taking database. I’m still processing what I can take away from the experience personally, but one thing I hope to do is just get out of my own head a little bit and get out there in the community more. I feel like I’ve been living the last two or three years in a hidey hole, trying to hold down the parenting fort and the work fort and several other forts that perhaps are not build up to code and Tweeting or writing from behind a protective screen. It needed to be that way, but perhaps that isolation is going away a little.