Just a note before I start -- I discovered a fun, well-written journal this morning and recommend you check it out. It's called "Frogs in My Formula" and is explained as "I am a new mom. I have no idea what I'm doing. I live in Mulletville. And my family is crazy." Her explanation of her husband's interest in Renaissance Faires is just marvelous. Check it out!
Whew. It's getting exhausting trying to keep up with social networking. "Social networking" is new buzzword for connecting with other people on line, whether those are strangers or co-workers or friends. The internet allows you the opportunity to know what everybody you know is doing every minute of the time. With the advent of expensive cell phones (like the iPhone) which make surfing the internet a breeze, the ways to find your friends has exploded faster than a bunch of tribbles in a container of quadrotriticale.
First there was My Space. Well, in truth, I don't know if My Space was first exactly, but it's a good place to start. It was for the kids. They got their own My Space pages and connected with friends. Then older people started logging on. Now everybody has his or her MySpace page. I do have a MySpace page, because I was curious to find out about it, but I don't even know the URL any more. I didn't like the environment and saw no point to it.
Then along came Facebook, which seemed like a grown up version of MySpace and it was fun. There were games and silly things and the ability to post photos and videos and play games with other people. I enjoyed that for awhile but, as I've written here before, they changed the format so that it became more intrusive than fun. I've been cleaning out most of my "applications" and am getting it down to bare bones and don't get 10,000 requests for things any more, so it's almost becoming enjoyable again, as I figure out how to make it work for me.
Then I heard about Twitter, a place where you could post brief statements about what you're doing right now, a thought that flitted through your head, a response to something you'd read, a news item, a funny joke etc., etc., all in 140 characters or less. This appealed to the cell phone generation because the entries were short enough to be easily sent as a text message from a cell phone. In fact, that was the idea. Get people out of the house DOING something and reporting back to Twitter so we can all do it with you.
Along came Utterz, which was the verbal version of Twitter. Instead of sending your observations by text, you called a phone number and recorded them. You could even upload photos or video from your cell phone.
Then someone invented "Plurk," which allowed you to watch a timeline of what your friends are doing that is so confusing that after trying for several days to figure it out, I just gave up.
Twitterers started developing easy ways for you to keep up without having to be on Twitter's main page. There was twhirl or TweetDeck or twitterfeed or twitterific or twitter fox, or twitter blocks or a few others, all of which were supposed to make it easier for you to follow every single update of every single person on Twitter that you were interested in and respond without having to return to the main menu. (How Robert Scoble, who follows 21,056 people--so far--keeps up, as he swears he does, is beyond me!)
And of course along with all this there are places like Shelfari and Good Reads and Library Thing where you can record the books you are reading or have read, Amazon, where you can keep a wish list of things you'd like to own, and a whole bunch of other things designed to keep you in touch with others. Netflix even set up a way for people to compare lists of movies that they have seen or are going to be seeing.
When you add the sites for video sharing and interacting with other video bloggers, it becomes mind boggling.
Obviously human beings have this driving need to connect with other human beings. But there are just so many options that if you try them all out, you could go crazy.
So the latest thing now are sites that gather all of your sites together. There is MyBlogLog, which collects all your blog posts into one place, like a table of contents.
There is Friend Feed, which gathers you stuff and your friends' stuff.
And now there is a site called Swurl. This is one I kinda like. Swurl gathers all of your entries on a bunch of sites--Twitter, Flickr, any blogs you want to include, YouTube, Facebook, Netflix, bookmarks, and a few I don't use. It displays them all in linear fashion, but also didplays it in a "timeline" version (see Photo of the Day), where everything you post on line in a day is printed a neat block per entry--photos, blog entries, etc.) Since the reporting goes back to the year 2000, it becomes a pretty thorough compilation of your web presence since these networking sites started becoming available. (Funny the World entries don't count since they have no rss feed, but all of the entries since I created the mirror site, Airy Persiflage, do).
What's the point of all this? Darned if I know. If you're in business, this is a great way to make connections and stay in contact with business associates and that sort of thing. For an old lady like me, it's just something new to play around with, and something to keep me from folding laundry or straightening up anything around the house. BUT, in case you're ever interested in seeing the totality of my internet participation on any given day, I'm leaving the link to Swurl over in the left hand column.
I spent some time today designing a masthead for the page and I think I picked the PERFECT wording for it.
If you want a cool website like mine, help is on the way. The man is a wonder.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
This is the look of the Swurl timeline
MILES TO NOWHERE: 63.5 miles