Intro to Krista
It only seems right that I introduce myself while we’re at it. I’m a third-year PhD student in the Department of Rhetoric, Scientific and Technical Communication. I just finished taking my qualifying exams, so now I’'m beginning to write my dissertation. Some of you know me from other courses I’ve taught — most likely Scientific and Technical Presentations (RHET 3257) or the online version of Technical and Professional Writing (RHET 3562). Some of you may be surprised to learn that I don’t just sleep in my teacher’s coffin when I’m not teaching or researching. I cook, go to galleries and movies, and yes, I fiddle around online too much. My husband and I also take long road trips whenever we can. Last summer we drove 6,000 miles.
The first computer I ever worked on was an Atari that my parents bought in the early 80s. The monitor was an old TV. I played a zillion games of Battleship, Defender, and PacMan, wrote a bit in Turtle (the Atari variant of Logo), and learned basic word-processing. (It was very easy to impress teachers by turning in word-processed papers then.) I wasn’t online for another decade, though. I remember being amazed when one of my dad’s friends showed me Prodigy, because I had no idea you could talk make a computer talk to other computers. I had always thought of them as stand-alone objects. Around 1994, we jacked in with one of the early versions of AOL with a 28.8k modem. We got it because my mom was interested in the idea of the Net as a universal library, but she ended up being disappointed because there really wasn’t enough out there then and search engines were practically nonexistent. I think I used it mostly for chat and email.
In my experience, Web 2.0 has been completely transformative. I’m not a programming or coding geek, so for a long time the Net was a more passive experience for me. It was full of pages that I looked at, not pages that I made myself. (I was working full time while doing my undergrad coursework full time in the late 90s, so I never felt like I had the extra time to get a GeoCities or AngelFire page and learn to code.) When I started blogging in 2002 with MoveableType 1.something, that changed for me. Suddenly, I could put up my own content really easily! It changed me from an observer to a participant, and it really opened up the Net for me. I’ve met people I’ve have never run across otherwise and learned how to make emerging technologies really work for me. Now a good proportion of the sites I frequent are user-generated, from academic blogs to IMDB to Wikipedia to consumer reviews on EMusic and Amazon and student reviews on RateMyProfessor.com
Speaking of emergent technologies, I’m curious about your opinion of the New Next Big Thing: