I never thought of myself as a "phobic”. I mean, I didn’t think I was really fearful
of things, but instead exercised a healthy amount of caution and common sense
when it came to avoiding dark alleys, or wearing spike heels on icy
surfaces. And I’m not crazy about
spiders, so the first time I photographed a wildly inflamed eye with tarantula
spines firmly stuck in the cornea, that aversion seemed reasonable.
But one day I was looking up something on the internet, and
a misspelling led me to entries regarding phobias. Holy cow!
It would seem that if there is a Greek word for it, there can be a
phobia assigned to it. Case in
point: neophobia – fear of anything new,
also called cainotophobia from the Greek word for kainos meaning "new.” Reading about it made me pause………….
While I don’t think I am afraid
to try new things, I am always willing to hang around in my comfort zone. I can be adventurous, but routine is
comfortable. So when the OPS launched
the new website, even though I was one of the folks who worked on finding a
good answer for our Society’s needs, I was flat out intimidated by all the
features the website offered! How was I
supposed to know how to find things on the site (even though I helped upload
some of the content)? This was all new
stuff – I was an old dog and this was definitely a new trick!
Wait! Was I
exhibiting the textbook symptoms of "neophobia”? Was I afraid
to actually take the time to check out the new features? Or had I not looked at the website as an
efficient new way of really connecting to OPS members. Hmm.
So, looking for comfort through familiarity, I started
checking out the home page, and there in the left side menu, I found the word,
"Forums”. Hey! I’d paid attention in History class and I
knew of the famous, sometimes infamous, Roman Forum. Suddenly I smiled as the lyrics from the Peter
Allen song, "Everything Old is New Again”, leapt into my thoughts.
It looked like the OPS has our own version of a "The Forum”,
with many of the same features: a
gathering place for people with like interests, and an efficient way to
communicate with many people at once; much more far reaching than my personal email
list. It’s a tool in the Merriam- Webster application meaning "something
(as an instrument or apparatus) used in performing an operation or necessary in
the practice of a vocation or profession”.
Our website can develop forums for all
kinds of OPS groups, and in fact, the OPS Boards and committees have been using
this feature in some capacity to conduct official OPS business since the
website was launched. The forums are
powerful tools, (but can be as fun to use as a toy), as they not only provide
an easy venue to contact everyone subscribed to the forum, but all messages are
archived and can be referred to at any time by any forum member. And files and documents can be stored for
access through the Forum as well. So
cool! For someone like me who is never
very good at organizing my email, immediately saving and deleting, all these
wonderful forum features are a gift.
A few weeks ago, a friend had a question
about fluorescein sodium, and we quickly took it to the OPS member forum. In no time, folks were posting helpful
information in response – members we were acquainted with, and some members we
had never met! What a fabulous resource;
and those responses were saved under that topic and are available for review by
any member who may have missed the original postings. No doubt, we have the Roman Forum beat there.
If you aren’t an OPS member, you can
read postings on the member forum, but you can’t participate by posting to
it. But if you are an OPS member, you
have full access to the website, including the member forum. All you have to do is log on, and the website
is yours. To get to the OPS member
forum, look at the left side menu on the home page, and select the 9th
item down, "Blogs/Forums/Groups”. Expand the menu to the right, and select the
second item down, "Forums”, and then click on the "OPS Member Forum” line. It is so easy – with only one thing to
remember: you will get an initial email
to let you know there is a new topic on the forum automatically. To continue to get email alerts to keep you
up-to-date, you should click on the middle item just above the gray "TOPICS”
bar that says, "Subscribe to Instant Updates” – or, you can choose "Subscribe
to Digest”. Your choice to fit your
style. You’ll need to choose if you want
to receive alerts on topics, so if a topic doesn’t interest you, just don’t
select one of the "subscribe” items. Sincerely,
once I discovered how amazingly easy this is, I have been all over the website
now – and this is just one feature of all that the website has to offer.
There are even sticky notes to educate
you about the member forum, and guidelines for proper "netiquette” to keep our
forum friendly and useful.
So, if you haven’t been on one of the
OPS forums, I think you are missing out on a fabulous source and resource.
Don’t be neophobic, give it a try. And
if you have a quirky sense of humor, why not image that a posting is from
someone in a toga!
you on the forum!