The Virtual Life: My Patch Columns

Update: Before departing Patch, I published a couple of additional columns. On Jan. 24, I wrote about how the White House was using a technical and social approach to getting people interested in the State of the Union address. Later in the month I mused about how changes in federal laws might affect online lottery sales in Missouri.

In March, I started my column “The Virtual Life.” Since then, my musings on life and work in the digital age have appeared more or less twice a month on many of the Patch sites I oversee in metro St. Louis.

And, no, I do not compel my editors to run the column! (I am gratified that many of them do, of course).

Here’s a look back:

  1. For my very first installment, I reviewed St. Louis Bread Company (aka Panera) with an eye to which ones have the most electrical outlets, among other elements.
  2. Trying to keep myself on task in the digital space, I considered how best to stay focused and motivated when working virtually. This item ncludes tips from a local freelancer extraordinaire, Shera Dalin.
  3. Another approach to working virtually is finding a real place to call your office. This column explores the “third space.”
  4. Commercials about “the cloud” prompted me to talk to local expert David Strom about cloud computing.
  5. I headed back to the coffee shop world to check out other venues for working remotely: I counted electrical outlets, of course; and weighed in on ambience and convenience.
  6. When Patch added its new “Local Voices” platform for blogs, I interviewed a few local bloggers for insights and advice. Here’s another version of the column, too.
  7. Next came a column designed for virtual workers looking to lay the groundwork for running their own businesses.
  8. I did a trio of columns around mid-year focusing on making real-world connections with people you meet via social media. Local experts weighed in with great insights in part onepart two and part three.
  9. An invitation to “attend” an AT&T interactive webcast spurred a column about how AT&T and other telecommunications providers responded to the Joplin tornado.
  10. My teaching trip to Chengdu, China prompted me to reflect on social media and journalism in that country, especially as St. Louis officials and Missouri lawmakers were striving to attract Chinese investment.
  11. A new Missouri law governing how teachers interact with their students provided a teaching moment column.
  12. Going beyond the basics to provide a real connection between businesses and organizations and communities was the theme of my next column.
  13. The passing of Steve Jobs got me to look back at how I turned from a PC to a Mac.
  14. Another major event, the Cardinals in the World Series, prompted me to look at how the Twitterverse was getting in on the action.
  15. As we all began to get into the spirit of holiday shopping, I considered coupons and the art of the online deal.
  16. And, in an ode of my very own to the post office, I promoted the idea of sending real cards for the holidays.

This week, in what will be the last installment of 2011. I will review my own favorite things: places to work, tools and resources for people who work remotely.


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