Upgrading my geek
I may have met the geekiest, most inspirational man in Houston, and it was the single greatest thing that has happened to me in a while.
On Thursday, at around four in the afternoon, I walked over to the communications building at the Jack J. Valenti school and went to an unscheduled class that my professor had asked us to attend. I was about 10 minutes late, because I was held up purchasing theater tickets from the box office just five minutes away.
The cashier (sweet lady) was literally taking her time, because it took me -the only person in line- about 15 minutes to get my tickets. Once I was done, I rushed to sit down in the jam-packed miniature classroom on the second floor.
And there he was.
Dwight Silverman, the Houston Chronicle tech blogger, in all his glory.
So about four or five years ago, I was working at this dead-end job and hating my life. I knew that I had to go back to school, but I didn’t want to study business administration, or just get an English degree. I liked to write. I liked tech. I put the two together and decided I wanted to write about tech.
I instantly followed all the tech blogs I could find: TechCrunch, Mashable, ReadWriteWeb, Gizmodo, CNet, The New Web, and Engadget to name a few. Everything seemed so awesome. I was always in the know when something major happened in tech. My dream job was to one day work at CNet or something similar.
I found Silverman’s blog and was inspired by him not just because he wrote about tech but because he got to do it without leaving Houston. If Dwight could do it, I thought, so can I. I realized I wanted to become a tech industry reporter. I guess you can say that Silverman had indirectly motivated me to pursue my dreams.
I started writing about tech. I reviewed phones, mobile operating systems, and played with the latest gadgets. Eventually, I took a few writing classes and got more into researching tech.
Tronnic happened and then I started focusing more on movies and TV and writing about those kinds of things. I left tech to other writers. But the idea of being a tech reporter was still in the back of my mind.
I had some options when I decided my major: Print Media, Broadcast Media, Digital Media, Information Systems, and Business Administration. I chose Print Media because of how easy it would be to translate what I learned in print to the web.
I wish I would have chosen Digital Media as a minor. Instead I chose Business Foundations, a minor I despise.
A couple of years ago, I started taking actual journalism courses where I was told that the best type of journalist is the kind that promotes democracy and keeps the government in check.
I’m not saying my dreams were crushed, but I certainly felt a little silly that I had pursued a journalism degree in hopes that I would become a better tech writer. One of my professors asked in class, “Who here has a blog?”
When I raised my hand, she asked to tell her what I blogged about. I was almost ashamed when I told her science fiction, video games and tech.
Eventually, I told myself that I would write about the things I was supposed to write about. I don’t want to let anyone down. This is my life now, I said to myself. I can’t change my major now, especially not this close to graduation. I will have to become a political reporter or something. Make people proud.
Then I met Dwight Silverman. I asked him to tell me why he gets to do what he does and if he ever felt ashamed about not reporting on the “hard-hitting news”. He said never. And he told me to not feel like I am letting people down either.
“Write about what you like,” he said. “Do what’s fun for you.”
Silverman told me that as a tech reporter I could keep the government in check. One of the hottest topics of conversation right now is the NSA and privacy. Those are huge tech stories, he said.
He also said that he was helping people because he was informing them about the things that they wouldn’t otherwise know about. People thanked him for his blog, he said.
My angst was eased.
I’m amazed that in a way he led me to reporting- my future career- and that he made what I thought was going to be drab into something to look forward to. I am, after all, getting a degree for myself, not for others. I should be allowed to write about what I want to write about.
So with that, I would like to give a shout out to all those people out there who write about the things that they love without ever feeling ashamed or embarrassed. Whether you’re a political reporter, finance reporter, entertainment reporter or a movie reviewer. kudos to you. You’re an inspiration.