I am reposting this here after writing it for my fellow course participants. It was turning into a rant, and I didn’t think that was the right place for it.
Information as a commodity:
Thought provoking indeed.
I haven’t even read this question where we respond by detailing all our information expenses onto the course forum. But I’ll join in anyway, because it’s all very interesting to me.
I work part-time and I have an incredibly supportive partner who lets me off very lightly in terms of my contribution to bill paying and household costs.
As I am in this rather fortunate position, and I work part-time in the local public library system, I feel I don’t pay nearly as much as I could for my information needs.
I don’t need to watch the box every night, but I do because it’s there. I don’t need to hire fiction/movie DVD’s from work. I don’t need to go on the internet for 4 hours every day, but I do, because it’s there, and I’ve acquired this artificial need to “go online”, which I just cannot shake!
This is information I’m sure I could do with less of.
It’d be relatively easy to live without paying for information if you’re a diligent borrower with your library and never returned something late, so as not incurring overdue charges or heaven forbid, replacement charges, and have a penchant for documentary’s on DVD (free at my work) with no need to watch adult fiction DVD’s.
I pay quite a lot of money for my professional development, 90% of the time it’s out of my own pocket. Likewise with study, I have never filled out a loan application form or asked my work to pay it for me. A couple of years ago I supported myself traveling from Perth to Auckland to attend the LIANZA conference. Had to get annual leave. Wasn’t even speaking. Just last week, I took part in a career management workshop, funded by myself.
In saying this, I have to say, I am known to apply for sponsorship to things, but always to an external organisation, not my work. Possibly, the reason I prefer to pay for professional development things myself is so that I have the feeling of ownership of that information, to hold it myself and share the knowledge gained accordingly, not because I ‘have’ to.
I think whether or not you pay for information, having it in your hands is a feeling of ownership. If you really use something to it’s full potential rather than unconsciously ‘consuming’ information, you put a higher value on it.
Information is made a commodity by the value you put on it.