mardi, janvier 23, 2007

My first MeFi

So, the majority of my day was pretty unexciting. I got up early and hit the market at Place des Fêtes to get some almond-stuffed olives and other tasty stuff, and then I headed off to work. I left a bit late from work and swung by this adorable Frenchy-goth shop downtown to pick up the glass bowl to a hookah bottle that a certain friend left. It was kinda funny, actually; while I was downtown, nobody seemed to notice what I had in my hand, but by the time I got to my (largely North African) neighborhood, people were glancing at the bowl, glancing at me, and then smirking or nodding or looking askance. I was surprised that nobody offered to buy or sell hash.

The one thing that was fantastically exciting about today was that I made my first MetaFilter post! w00t!! MetaFilter is a sort of collective blog where everyone (after a 1-week waiting period) can post. MeFi really does work as a sort of "meta filter" in the sense that the posts are all supposed to be "the best of the web." Essentially, community members trawl the web and then post about something they find interesting; there's a special value given to posts that take links to various things on the web and synthesize them into one post. This can make for an unmanageable torrent of miscellany, but thankfully a set of rather concise content rules and tightly-limited formatting (no images and fancy scripting, just text and links) turn it into a less-overwhelming list of miscellany.

So, anyway, I wrote this post, where gave a list of my favourite Peruvian recipes, tried to show that there was more than ceviche in Peruvian cuisine, and then provided plentiful links to recipes and peruvian food blogs. The response was pretty good, garnering 30-ish comments in the end and 18 favourites (i.e., when another user "bookmarks" your post as a favourite). Of course, like an attention-starved shut-in, I couldn't help checking in on post every few minutes, watching the comments grow and posting hasty replies to questions and suggestions. I have to admit, I got a small but substantial kick out of watching the responses. As pathetic as it sounds, I would get all excited about getting a positive comment or especially getting favourited by someone, "OMG!! Somebody finds my knowledge interesting and/or useful!" I suppose this is why I'm in academia in the first place. Either way, MetaFilter is a wonderful (but potentially addictive) resource for the struggling PhD student. After years of "interesting, but..." and "you'll get validation after you write 300 pages," writing a short couple of paragraphs with links and getting some instant feedback is sort of like the nicotine patch. Until such time as I squeeze out a dissertation proposal (then dissertation chapters, then dissertation...) MeFi will tide me over.

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