Sunday, October 21, 2012

Layers and Storytelling


This blog's focus is about to expand. I'll explain a little further down how this photo is related.

I've been hinting for a while that, as far as my own writing goes, technology is becoming as important a topic as food. If you're new to this blog or don't know me well, here's a quick summary:

Brief Background and Summary
By day, Monday through Friday, I'm a full-time writer at PC Magazine. Mostly, I test and evaluate software products and write reviews of them. I also have a weekly column about digital organization called Get Organized.

While I consider myself a technology writer and journalist, I fought it for a long time because I wanted to be a food writer instead. All my early jobs, in high school and college, were in the food services industry. I wrote (and edited) about food a little bit professionally, but it's tough, highly competitive, and not often a full-time gig. Full-time employment has always been important to me because I grew up kind of poor and now that I'm an adult, I can't imagine choosing a life that didn't provide steady income, health insurance, and a stable and predictable routine.

I got into technology writing and editing because 1) that's where the jobs were when I graduated college, 2) I was willing to get my foot in the editorial door anyway I could, 3) my confidence led to me believe that I could figure out things that I didn't already know. And largely, I've done all right.

My interest in technology has become more important to me over the years for another reason: I'm female.

Women still aren't abundant in the technology field, even as journalists. At PC Magazine, my editors and colleagues have all boosted my confidence ten fold by treating me like the "expert" I'm supposed to be. (And on that note, I found this TED Talk by Amy Cuddy inspiring, particularly toward the end when she says, "fake it 'til you make it.")

I have opinions about technology and how it affects people and societies, and their relationships. I have insights that other technology "experts" don't, party because I'm female, but partly because I grew up poor and I can imagine daily struggles that affluent people just don't know exist.

The Blog's Focus is Expanding
More and more, when I think about what it is I really want to write -- and I spend a lot of time thinking about that -- I home in on something related to technology, usually from a social sciences perspective, but not always. And they're usually big-picture ideas, like "Does having a long history with email prevent people from seeing the value of social networking platforms?" and "How much can online communication and socialization supplement or perhaps even replace live social interaction?"

In addition to wanting to write more about my interests as they relate to technology, I'll also expand to talk a little more about daily life.

Let me talk about picture at the top of this post now.

It's a copper-colored lighting fixture. A lamp.

But as you look closer, the reflection shows me and my camera, and a runway outside the glass behind me. It's at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport, or more specifically, at a cafe inside Schiphol where Boyfriend and I slurped coffee and ate chocolate while waiting to board another plane. We were in transit, on our way from here to there, stopping for a moment, taking it in. What I like about the photo is how you can uncover some of that story just by looking through the layers.

That's what I intend to do on this blog, too: start looking at more layers, beyond jotting down recipes and writing about restaurants, to put tell a larger story.

I hope you'll come with me.

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