Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Mimmi Penguin

I awoke around 4:00 a.m. (SGT) this morning - still adjusting to the time zone difference. I feel fairly rested, so I'm just rolling with it.

At first I lay in be enjoying the view out the window. I'm on the thirtieth floor and have a spectacular view. Looming large in the foreground is the Pan Pacific with its rooftop restaurant that reminds me of the same atop the Hyatt in San Francisco. Beyond that I can see Singapore Bay and the skyscrapers downtown. To the west I see City Hall, the chopsticks, and the preparations being made for the upcoming Formula 1. And to the east where I will see the sunrise shortly I can see the Singapore Flyer flashing and the futuristic looking Flower Dome and Cloud Forest enclosures at Gardens by the Bay. This view provides a wonderful way to wake up each morning.

After enjoying the view for a while, I hopped on the laptop to distract myself from my growing hunger. There I found a pleasant surprise. I'll tell you about that shortly, but first an unsolicited tangent.

On the web (and in life in general) there is a gender disparity that shows up in many ways. One way that I personally see it on a continual basis is in the classroom. My students are overwhelmingly males.

But there is at least one place that I know of that is skewed heavily in the other direction: Pinterest.

If you've never been to Pinterest, let me let Wikipedia define it for you.

When I first heard of Pinterest, it sounded like it could provide an interesting way to keep track of the various things I stumble upon while "surfing the web" (do we still use that mixed metaphor)? I envisioned it as a newfangled form of bookmarks.

What I quickly discovered (and which you can discover by just going to their homepage) is that the site is dominated by women.

While I'm not a member of the demographic that Pinterest primarily attracts, I have occasionally used it to track things I'm interested in such as photography and travel. I don't do anything particularly serious on Pinterest. My activities on Pinterest are just a small part of the trail that I leave on the Internet.

So what's this Pinterest tangent about?

I received a notification this morning that someone I have never met "re-pinned" a pin that I pinned some time ago on my travel board. Her name on Pinterest is "Mimmi Penguin". As I said, I've never met her, but I think I can venture a guess at one of her interests just from her chosen name.

This woman is a big fan of Penguins. I'm talking about an interest that goes far beyond simply picking an identity that includes "Penguin" in the name. Her Pinterest account is amazing. It has pins to all things penguin-related.

She is seriously into penguins. How seriously? Let the following statistics tell that story:

She has 400+ boards related to penguins. To provide some contrast, I have a whopping five boards.

She has 120,000+ pins. I, far from being a power Pinterest user, have a massive thirty five pins.

She has 20,000+ followers. I'm right behind her with three.

She is the pinnacle of penguin pinners. Her dedication to all-things-penguin is nothing short of amazing.

Somehow she stumbled upon a penguin photo that I took on the Antarctica expedition. It's the photo of "Chinny", the chinstrap penguin. You can see Chinny in the top center of this screenshot from one of her penguin-related boards on Pinterest.

I've always loved that photo of Chinny. Chinny is the first thing I see whenever I power on my iPad. Getting the photo of him meant lying down in a mess of penguin poop, but I have always thought the photo was worth that sacrifice.

The most amazing thing about being anointed by Mimmi Penguin is which board Chinny landed on. Out of her 400+ boards, Chinny landed on a board entitled My Favorite Penguins.

While I know that Chinny is far from a viral sensation, I am pleased that Mimmi Penguin's re-pin will expose 20,000ish people to cute, lovable Chinny.

If you don't mind me going all "meta" for a few moments, there's more to this episode - for me anyway.

When I post videos online for work at vmwarelearning.com, I (or more accurately my videos) get hundreds of thousands of hits from around the world. I try to avoid letting that go to my head because I know that it's the info in those videos that people are seeking, not me. When I post on my work-stuff blog (www.vvork.info), I get some hits, but far far far fewer.

When I write on my personal blog (brianwatrous.blogspot.com), I have always used the blog as a place to write about stuff that interests me. I held off from blogging for years because it seemed that many people use blogs for egocentric purposes. Blogs always seemed so narcissistic to me.

But I eventually started my personal blog because 1) I like to write, and 2) I was curious to see what attention it would draw if I did nothing to promote it. I'm fascinated by search engines and how someone on the other side of the planet can stumble upon something that I've written.

My personal blog still draws little in the way of hits, and I'm okay with that. I like the more intimate connection that the smaller number of hits enable me to make with others. Sometimes it's old friends from my distant past that find my blog. Other times it's Argentinians who take issue with me calling the Falkland Islands the Falkland Islands instead of Islas Malvinas. Either way, it's fun to write and then kick back and see what happens.

My stomach is grumbling continuously now. It has patiently awaited the opening of the hotel restaurant quite long enough. So it's time to skedaddle.