The Real Paul Jones
After nearly killing myself last semester with four of the hardest and most work-laden classes in the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Journalism and Mass Communication, I decided to give myself a little bit of a break this year. I'm a senior, dammit, I deserve it. So here's my schedule: Music Theory (the really easy one -- "Is this note ascending or descending?"), Musical Modernism, Introduction to Rock Music and Blogging, a new undergraduate class in the J-School.
The first day of my blogging class, I was surprised to see a fifty-something guy with glasses and long flowing hair that strangely resembled NASCAR's Kyle Petty standing in front of the twelve-person class. I was even more shocked when after talking intelligently for a minute or two he let out a nervous, geeky machine-gun laugh that sounded something like the Cowardly Lion when he's really nervous. I thought I had found the biggest geek on campus, and I may have. But I figured the class would be entertaining at the least.
Little did I know that I was sitting in front of a living legend of the internet. My professor, Paul Jones, is internationally regarded as one of the leading names of the open-source software and social networking on the internet. He created UNC-CH's ibiblio, which is essentially a website where anyone, anywhere can upload any content they want to and publish it to the web. You can search it like a massive library archive and find any kind of information that you want. It's like some kind of mix of Wikipedia and Blogger, even though it came out before the former and less than a year after the latter. He's done even more than that since, but I won't take the time to list them all here. You can check out his ibiblio bio, or read a great feature that the News and Observer did on him in 2001. It's written by David Menconi, the music writer for the N&O whose blog, On the Beat, is at the top of my bookmarks list.
And I just thought he was a nerd who knew more about Facebook than I did. How wrong I was...