As Wikipedia prepares to go black for 24 hours tomorrow, along with Reddit and Boing Boing, in protest of SOPA/PIPA, millions of Internet users, students, and knowledge addicts around the world prepare for the worst, as the phenomenal information repository we’ve grown to love will shut down temporarily in protest of these most heinous pieces of litigation.
However will we get our information now, you ask? What will desperate students do to bolster their essays with information from reliable and infallible sources? What will we do when you wake up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night, panting heavily, as you’re met with a sudden and immediate urge to find out who won the 1989 Honduran general election, because that’s just something you need to know? Don’t despair, dear reader! The solution to all of our problems is quite simple!
Since Wikipedia’s brand of crowdsourced wisdom won’t be available to us tomorrow, let’s make the most of the resources available to us to help out our fellow brothers and sisters of the Web, and let’s have lots of fun in the process. For argument’s sake, let’s say you are struck with the sudden and immediate urge to find out who won the 1989 Honduran general election tomorrow. Simply tweet your question, and tag it with #twitterpedia! Chances are, someone, somewhere, will know the answer to your question. The more people we can encourage to participate, the more questions we can get answered. Think how awesome you’ll feel, having someone benefit from your superior knowledge of Central American politics, or anything else, for that matter.
Tomorrow, let’s not only show our support for net neutrality, and a truly open and free Internet, but let’s use it to demonstrate how awesome the Internet really can be.
N.B. I didn’t come up with this concept. It was dreamt up by animator extraordinaire @JackTheRogue. All credit due to him!
The great rock on which we live has majestically completed another solar cycle, calling for equal parts celebration and pessimism by its inhabitants. Last night, I took part in much of the former, although the previous sentence implies the latter, somewhat, I feel. Truth be told, I’ve rewritten that opening sentence ten or more times. I am rusty. Still, nothing escapes the fact that it is blatantly and irrevocably 2012, and I hope you saw out the new year in style, whatever you got up to.
Pessimistic or not, a new year usually signals the need for change in some capacity. Last January, I lamented that I’d not made the most of 2010, and that ultimately it is our own responsibility to make brilliant the short time we have on Earth. Four paltry blog postings later, and here I am again, with much of the same message: make 2012 everything you want it to be.
On the whole, 2011 was quite a successful year for me. I started the year with a tour of the Americas and Australia, the photos of which I still yet have not finished uploading to Facebook. I visited New York and Florida for the first time (New York certainly made an impression, and is now one of my favourite places of all time), and returned home with a steady job, lots of responsibilities, and a learning experience that has (according to others) aged me beyond my years. I am thankful for my good fortunes, and I hope that things continue to get better for me, and for you, too.
Probably the biggest change for me in 2011 was perhaps the most arbitrary; I cut my hair. At its longest, it was perhaps half-way down my back, and I was immensely proud of it. I shampooed, conditioned, towel-dried and brushed it on a regular basis, to ensure it was always in good condition.
My hair has been long for most of my adult life. It was long, although not that long, when I went to university, and stayed with me throughout. Now that I think back on it, it was an enormous part of my identity. Despite having a very unique Christian name, I was always initially referred to, or acknowledged as ‘the one with long hair’. Of course, I’m not saying that my identity was nothing but an empty, yet hairy husk, but it at least felt like a huge part of who I was.
Then, last January, I sliced it all off. A number of events took place leading up to that, which made me feel like I needed to distance myself from who I once was, or at least the circumstances that had plagued the long-haired version of me. I felt the need for change, so I took the necessary steps to change something I had control over in order to effect such change. Do I regret it? No. In fact, I sort of prefer how I look with short hair. It felt like a sizeable change I had to make in order to close off one chapter of my life, and begin another one anew.
What does one do when starting anew? Well, I can tell you from my experiences (perhaps not the best example of what to do in such a situation) that you rush around trying to find proof of the permanent, unchangeable things that define you. You look to others, friends both new and old, for appraisals of who you are. Probably, also one of the most foolish mistakes I made, is to try manically to grab on to bits of who you once were, using the aforementioned methods, in some attempt to feel as if you’re not ‘losing yourself’, or some similar, silly notion. It is an extremely silly mistake to make. Just as the world turns, and the years change, we change too. It’s something not worth fretting over, as change isn’t always negative. Change is, well, change, and it’s foolish to try and resist something so inevitable.
Don’t be so hard on yourself in 2012. Don’t fret over your failures or your mistakes, by entertaining false notions that you could have done better; that in some alternate, parallel universe, some other version of you could have done it any differently. I tried to keep a mantra going last year: you are currently the best version of yourself, ever. It’s something I truly do believe in, although sometimes trouble does its best to make me forget it. We are the result of all of our experiences leading up to now. We have been tempered by time, if you will. What I’m trying to say, is that it’s silly to think about who you were, and to become obsessed with the idea of what you would have done, or rather, what you should have done. We are who we are, and while we may make foolhardy decisions from time to time, we mustn’t forget that we’re constantly growing, and constantly changing. Perhaps, then, we won’t be so foolish next time.
I’m not really one for resolutions, but in 2012, I’m going to be more accepting of who I am, and I pray that you are too.
Wherever you are, I wish you a fantastic New Year filled with joy, prosperity and love.