I have recently been spending a lot of time on the internet being both productive and unproductive at the same time. How can this be? Well I have been productive in that I have been learning things and expanding my social network, whilst at the same time I have not actually produced anything as I seem to be spending most of my time reading and looking at stuff produced by others.
I first came into contact with social media through FaceBook. A friend told me he was posting some photos of us on his FB page and to view them I would have to create a profile of my own. That seemed reasonable, but very soon I was in the race to gain as many friends on FB as I could and wasting time on the applications. Most of these applications are, with hindsight, rather lame and a waste of time. Needless to say my use of FB has dwindled to the point where I hardly ever sign in and look at it.
I’ve moved on.
Twitter is an application which allows me to post updates, in real time (when the system is working) to both my followers and also to a public time line. Followers are people who have decided to subscribe to my updates and receive them directly. The public time is, as the name suggests, a complete list of all updates available to anyone. It is possible to opt out of the public timeline, in which case only your followers will receive your updates. The nice thing about Twitter is that you can use it from almost anywhere – you can post updates from the web, from applications on the computer and from mobile phones by sms. It is a cross between email, instant messaging, newsgroups and text messaging. The big problem with Twitter at the moment is that it frequently goes down or doesn’t work as it should. This is apparently due to it being a victim of its own success by being to heavily used.
Twitter is a good way to increase your social network. You start out by following a few people you know. You then listen (for want of a better word) to one side of conversations they have with other people they follow. You decide that you are missing out on something and so you follow the person on the other side of that conversation. This has a snow ball effect, and so the number of people you follow is rapidly increasing. At the same time, you find that random people have decide to follow you and you then have the option to follow them back. Eventually you have conversations with people in other parts of the world that you have never met.
Meanwhile I read about a dozen blogs on a regular basis. And now I find that most of my new contacts from Twitter also write blogs, which obviously I read. This takes up time. A lot of time.
And now Twitter is experiencing problems and people are looking and talking about other services such FriendFeed. FF aggregates all your other social media accounts into one place. And now I’ve found Tumblr, Stumbleupon, Digg and GoogleReader amongst others. So I’m now rapidly approaching the point of information overload – I’m receiving stuff almost as fast as I can read it. I think I may have to give up working just so I can play with my new toys!
If you want to to find me on any of these, here are the details:
If you don’t see or hear from me for a while, it’s because I’m buried under a ton of content trying to digg my way out.