I guess it was bound to happen sooner or later but what happened to the Old Fogey today was a monumental occurrence. A Eureka moment. A seizmic shift. The light bulb came on. He is going around shame faced because he has had to fess up. Eat crow. Blush brightly. I tried to get him to write this article but he directed me to write it because he didn't want to face the music. Face all those friends and neighbors he had belittled through the years. He is in the back of the building now probably hiding his face in shame.
For years the Old Fogey has bad mouthed Groups as a way to pigeon hole. A way to hide. A way to be secretive and to generate conspiratorial comments and articles. For years he has steadfastly maintained an attitude of being above the fray while quietly stewing because he wondered what was going on behind closed doors. For years, until this morning, he has remained ignorant of all the traffic and all the community and all the values and information that has been passed around within and between Groups. He kept himself in the dark. And then there was light!
Any of you who know the Old Fogey will understand when I say I was very hesitant about asking when I found him staring into his monitor and there was a shine in his eyes that I hadn't seen in a long time. I wanted to ask him what had happened that he was so intent on his screen. Instead I just mumbled something like: "How are you this morning? You look busy. Have you found some new material for your project?"
He turned his face toward me and it was almost like that gal in The Exorcist. His face was fire red and his eyes glared like he was staring at Death him/herself. He opened his mouth and I could tell he was about to scream at me. He was about to have one of his regular fits about me, his staff, and how the office was running. But then, almost like the sun coming from behind a cloud, his face softened, his blue eyes shined with good will and he said, "Hey, you would never believe what I just discovered. I have found there is a way for me to get all the information I need and to collaborate with others who share my interests and that way is right here in front of me."
Surprised but still afraid to dig too deeply I asked him, "What have you found? Where did you find it? Who told you about it?"
With a superior and condescending look on his face he almost snarled, "I found what someone should have told me was here a long time ago. You guys are always on these sites but you never told me about the gold that is hidden in there. You didn't make me aware my projects would be so much easier if I just joined my friends and listened to them and gave them information. You guys must have been using all this material and keeping me unaware. You wanted me to think you were so smart when you were using all these other people to make you smart.
With that the Old Fogey strode off toward the rear of the builiding and I got a chance to look at the notes he always takes when surfing the net. And there it was! The Old Fogey has finally learned his lesson. At last he has broken out of the harness that he kept on himself. The Old Fogey has joined at least one Group, applied to at least two others, and had been sitting around impatiently waiting to be accepted. Will epiphanies never cease? He was joining Groups and Forums and Blogs and Sites all over the Internet. The one thing they all had in common was that they were individuals who had gathered together to discover joint interests in their own way at their own pace. By being in Groups they could limit the non-interested, noncompliant, anti social, and distracting comments and queries by those who would otherwise disrupt their discussions. Old Fogey! Groups! Yeah!
Uh, oh. Here he comes. If he finds me gloating about my (his) find he will just berate me some more. I better post this and hope he never sees the message anywhere. Yep, I see the look on his face. He is about to explode. I can tell he will have some explicit words for me. Shhhh, please don't tell.
"Hey, do me a favor will you?"
The Old Fogey is asking me for a favor? "What do you want?" I ask this while trying to keep him from seeing my screen before I can post this article.
"Spam all of my contacts. Tell them about these great new Groups I have found. Tell them they should join as well. Tell them from now on most of my projects will be outlined in articles in the Groups. Tell them this is the Cat's Meow. Tell them the Old Fogey is on a roll."
I turn to my keyboard. I strike "Enter". "Done", I say.
The Old Fogey just grins.