September 11, 2011

Mobilize the Movement, Part I

Posted by Laura Guertin

This weekend, I’m attending the “Mobilize the Movement” conference, a three-day gathering of people interested in all that is Fair Trade related to towns and universities.  With every conference, I always take copious notes and try to share the information with as many people as possible.  In trying to keep “green,” I decided to use the wireless at the HUB in the Union Center in Philadelphia (where the conference was being held) and record my notes in a Google Doc.  This way, I could also share my Google Doc with a student that is working on a project with me this semester involving Fair Trade, and I’ll always have access to my notes in the cloud.

The best laid plans…

Things started off well, but at one point, the wireless died at the HUB and I did not realize my Doc was not automatically saving.  It didn’t take long for me to check the tweets from conference participants on my cell phone to see that others were being impacted by this wireless collapse.  This was the first time I used Google Docs on an iPad, so the interface didn’t have as many obvious menu options, such as SAVE.  It wasn’t a major failure – I only lost notes from one-and-a-half sessions, but “lost” is the key word here.  Would this have happened if I took written notes?  Certainly not.  But then, how “green” would that have been?  How else could I have been able to efficiently take notes and share them with others?

In the end, I’m reminded just how much I rely on technology, yet how much technology can let me down.  Make no mistake – I’m still getting so much out of this conference.  But for today, the final day, I have brought my laptop with my USB/wireless connector through my cell phone.  Then, the only thing I have to worry about is if the battery life of the laptop can last long enough to get me through the day….