Settling into a new country is always interesting, and coming to Beijing for the first time is an exciting experience. I am here with a team from UNESCO and leaders of engineering organizations to discuss a UNESCO initiative and report on engineering around the world. I have yet to adjust my internal clock, as we are 12 hours ahead of Washington, DC. Changing my phone’s clocks over to military time is helping me to stay on schedule, since that is what is being used for our meetings.
I’ve learned that while I’m here, communications will be different from my norm, as there is no Facebook, no Twitter, no Gmail, no Google hangouts (no Google platforms — no access to Google Drive … no Google), etc. This is an adjustment. It’s also a teachable moment to remind me not to become overly dependent on single platform. The programs in my portfolio back in Maryland have a whooping 20 professional websites (including social media sites). I also have my own personal sites (several platforms, e.g., Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.), and I casually work with a few STEM organizations on their social media platforms. Some of you also know that I teach sessions on social media. Therefore, you might imagine that it could be difficult to be disconnected. I am learning to adjust without social media for the rest of the month.
Ordinarily, I would be tweeting, posting a message to Facebook, working on docs from Google drive, answering emails from two different Gmail accounts between two tabs in Chrome, and chatting in a pop-out window. It is usually part of my daily norm. Since I’m not able to do any of that, I am apparently on more of a social media break than I had anticipated. I knew about Facebook and Twitter, but I didn’t know that I would be without email. Perhaps my inner self knew that something would be disconnected which is why my team received a flurry of emails from me before I left.
If you can see this, I am doing well here in China, and will settle in to my new (temporary) normal of being a bit disconnected. I won’t be answering any of your emails, but who knows? Maybe it will actually be good for me to take this country-imposed email and social media break while I work on this global engineering research and policy initiative.
Hello from Beijing!