We are living in one of the best times in human history, enjoying unparalleled access to wealth of written knowledge dating back 2500+ years. And all this through what Sir Tim Berners Lee invented called “World Wide Web”.
The power of Web is its nested nature and links (Hyperlinks) to other resources. At the same time, this nested nature of web introduces randomness to our work and behaviour. As humans, we will need more time for our genes to catch up to this.
I can hear you saying “Venkat” why all this sudden thinking?. Just look at this workflow I went through in my work for the last 1 hour.
It started with an email (like everything else in life now) from a colleague. It was a proposal document that I had to review, make changes and approve to my sales team. I started reading the document, clicked on few reference hyperlinks quoted there. One of that took me to an article from the famous web technology blog site Sitepoint.com. I noticed that the SitePoint article had a good looking colour coded display of source code that’s being talked in that article. I had to View source the page to see its HTML code, you see any number of dressing up and sitting in a corner office doesn’t change the native behaviour of an engineer.
The HTML code revealed the page was served from WordPress CMS and I came across few Meta tags specific to Twitter.com. Searching for the tags took me to the documentation of Twitter Cards (that’s what they are called). I read the documentation of cards, then figured out how to generate the code specific to my blog site. Next, I went to my own blog’s dashboard, to the header & footer plugin that I use to manage the HTML meta-tags in my blog pages. The plugin showed me a banner asking to rate the plugin since I like this plugin I clicked on the banner.
That took me to WordPress.org, which asked me to login before I can rate. I didn’t remember the password, it seems WordPress.com and WordPress.org use different authentication systems. I used the Forgot password link which sent the reset password link to my Hotmail ID. The story should be getting familiar to you by now – I went to Outlook.com to check the email, found the one from WordPress.org. While at it few other new emails caught my attention and I was into reading them. At this point, my brain stack overflowed and led to the dumping of my memory into this blog post.
Having taken a 2 minutes stroll around the office, I am back on my desk. Found the WordPress password reset email, typed a new password and saved it in my password manager. Logged in to WordPress.org. Rating the plugin as 5. From Twitter.com site copied the Twitter Card code for my site and pasted it in my blog’s Header & Footer plugin section. Saved the changes, validated the changes in Twitter site and closed my blog.
I was now in the view source (HTML) of a SitePoint page, Identified from the HTML code the name of the source code formatting plug-in, it is called SyntaxHighlighter. Went to my blog dashboard and added this plugin to my site. Finally came back to the original SitePoint article, where it started going haywire. Finished my reading of the article.
Thanks for reading so far, I got to go. My sales manager is sitting in front of me demanding for the proposal document, let me get back to work.
I am not suggesting here, any of this to be bad. My point is that, as information workers we need to be cognizant to this randomness and deal with it individually in our own way.
As for myself, there are days like today when I thrive on this chaos and there are days when I give up, pick the bag go home to a fine cup of filter coffee & cinema!