To learn the tool, use the tool (and more)

Meredith Farkas’ blog, Information Wants to Be Free, is great for a number of reasons. Today’s reason for coolness is her simple nod to people to get out of your head and use the tools which are out there, if just for 15 minutes.

“The rest of your time should be spent actually using technologies. Try out some of these things. Create a hosted blog and post to it. Comment on someone else’s blog. Edit a public wiki. Post a photo to Flickr and tag it. Try out Twitter. These are all such easy things to do; each one wouldn’t take more than one or two 15 minute sessions. But the value of actually using these tools is enormous. By using them, you will better understand their possibilities and limitations, their pros and cons.”

Awesome, simple, true. This is the “walk in another’s shoes” testament. It applies also to:

  • Getting upset at bike riders who are in your way as you drive
  • Not understanding the hubub about wikis, blogs, etc.
  • Bikers getting angry at double-parking in the bike lane so the driver can pick up a cup of coffee (aka the “no one will notice, it’ll only be just a minute” theory)
  • Using an iPod instead of complaining how everyone is jumping on the bandwagon

(All of the above apply to me as being the agitator)  And it’s my own personal reminder that, though I think I don’t like IM-ing, I didn’t understand how interesting, helpful, and useful it could be until I did it for 15 minutes. Though I’m not hooked on it, I do have a finer appreciation for it as a tool in my toolbelt (though one that needs sharpening).