Feature: Soapbox Musings

Fishing from an Empty Pond

Author: Audrey Henderson
Published: February 23, 2012 at 9:08 am

Chicago Board of Trade Building — Photo Credit: Audrey F. Henderson — All Rights Reserved

I won't be attending the Globe 2012 conference in Vancouver this year after all. Oh, I had press credentials and, yes, I had a writing assignment. I even had a hotel reservation.  I had mapped out a rough agenda of what I wanted to accomplish during the trip — including renewing old contacts. I had it all planned out.  What I didn't have, and still don't have, is the money to afford to go.  It's all the Internet's fault.  No, really.

The Internet is supposed to be this great leveler, a means of making the world smaller, more accessible and more closely connected, and in a lot of ways, that's true.  The Internet had played an integral part in driving the Arab Spring.  On a personal level, the Internet has provided the means by which I have earned nearly all my income for several years.  But this time, the Internet let me down.  Or, more accurately, I committed the sin of approaching the Internet backwards.

(Oh, right, that photo at the top of this article?  It's the photo I used to showcase my crowdfunding drive for a charrette on affordable housing and sustainable development.  No, the Board of Trade in Chicago doesn't really relate to sustainable development, affordable housing, or charrettes for that matter.  I just thought it was a cool photo that might command attention.  And yes, I took the photo.)

I'm getting ahead of myself.  

I consider myself to be reasonably tech-savvy, and a fairly early adopter, especially when it comes to the Internet and social media.  I've been surfing the web since way back in the day when Al Gore was still calling it the Information Superhighway and AOL got away with charging users by the hour for using its services. (Can you imagine?)  I've had a GMail address since the time you had to have an invite to get one; I maintain a reasonably active Twitter feed and I've been on LinkedIn since 2005.  Since the mid 1990s, I've owned no less than six computers, including a hand-me-down desktop model into which I installed a CD-ROM drive, a 14.4K modem, a replacement hard drive and supplemental RAM. (On the other hand, I've never owned a car.)

Continued on the next page

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Article Author: Audrey Henderson

Audrey Henderson is an independent writer, researcher, policy analyst and data analyst. She works with NGOs, governmental departments and commercial clients through her consulting practice, Knowledge Empowerment. …

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