Several years ago I moved to Washington DC to work at a museum. As a lifelong Bostonian the idea of moving to another city, even one that was only 500 miles away, was like moving to another planet - Boston, after all, is the city where "everybody knows your name," whereas DC seemed to be the city to which people relocate in order to further political ambitions by working 16 hour days in dark Capitol Hill offices. However, despite the differences of city atmosphere, I grew to love my adopted home. The museums, political events, unique neighborhoods and Virginia just across the Potomac all held fascinating nooks that were waiting to be discovered. For the first few weeks I rode my bicycle endlessly on my days off, exploring the lesser known monuments and parks. It was also during this time that I realized whenever I wore my museum ID card I became a walking information booth for tourists on the street. As much as I thought I knew about the locations of monuments, museums, and other points of interest, I was aware that there was so much out there that I hadn’t even heard of yet.
The office is closed today as winter storm Nemo bears down on New England. I am sitting at my parents’ house with my dog at my feet watching reporters on all the different news channels get dangerously close to the ocean surf to demonstrate for viewers just how dangerous it is to get that close to the surf. Twitter and Facebook are in overdrive with friends posting photos of their backyards, front yards, and buried cars. Someone posted a link to a news spot from last night featuring her father and as I’m watching that on my computer the same spot is replayed on the television. To say that I live in a tech saturation world would seem like an understatement at this point. But I love it. I love how easy it is to remain connected to friends from around the country and how quickly I can meet new folks to engage with in conversation and debate…the only problem is finding the proper online venue to do so. Between spamming and vulgar tirades, online discussion boards are hit or miss at best. Fortunately though, there are online spaces that welcome and encourage intelligent discussion and through my involvement with Facing History’s online learning department I am constantly amazed by the individuals that come together to learn and challenge each other in our programs.