OK, enough!

Twitter Friends I know I’m not the only one here who’s having a moment of social networking overload.

I got my arse on Twitter because everyone told me life was not worth living without it… I think I’ve tweeted about three times in this past week, and the most exciting thing I had to share was that I’d seen Maureen Lipman on the Northern Line and that a pigeon had shat on me. Not exactly earth shattering stuff.

Then I got me a Facebook profile because, well, all the other cool kids were doing it and it’s hard to measure the possible impact of something if you don’t experience it yourself. From the first, Facebook has baffled me, especially at the beginning when I had no friends *sob* Since then, people have found me and asked to be my friend. If I have a passing acquaintance (real world or online) with them then I’ve most likely agreed to their request.

I have enjoyed Facebook to a degree, but I’m still on the fence about it and can happily go for days forgetting to check my profile. The stalker element appeals somewhat ghoulishly to me but that works the other way too and I’ve felt more than a little stiffled over what I feel comfortable ‘posting’ there, knowing people from all walks of my life can see. It’s bad enough having the RLO from work reading, but to have old school friends privy as well?!

And then we come to the latest on the scene, Pownce (and was there ever a word more treacherous to a mildly dyslexic British girl?) The buzz about Pownce has been just silly, especially around 9rules. Even those who have no idea what it’s for are talking about it.

Here it goes again. Yet another social networking tool that I’m going to have to give a try because if I don’t, I’m not going to understand half the conversations the people around me are having.

I didn’t ask for a Pownce invite exactly, but one landed in my inbox (thank you Tammie 🙂 ) and it would have been rude not to accept it. So now I have the grand total of… three friends on Pownce. I could have more because I know the names of a good forty or so more, but – and here we get to my main problem with social networks, both on and offline – I hate to go up to people. My MO is to wait for people to come up to me. Reticent to the point of ridiculousness I will admit it, but it’s the way I’m wired.

Plus, I still don’t know what Pownce is for, any more than I can really see the place in my life for Twitter or to a certain extent Facebook. When I want to tell people about things, I post them here on Bright Meadow. I have Flickr for my pictures. I have email, IM and a mobile for the people I want to talk to. Why do I need more? Why do I have to spread myself across multiple sites?

I liked Twitter when I was in London because I could blog to a certain extent through SMS from my mobile. The problem of having a laptop where the battery is buggered and phone that lacks even a basic web interface is that when away from my computer, I’m cut off from the net… Most of the time, no big problem, but every now and then it would be nice not to have to wait to share stuff. Twitter isn’t really the solution though – a way to interface easily with my wp-admin panel for Bright Meadow on the other hand… Sweet thought.

Facebook I think I’m starting to get to grips with, or at least find ways it fits into my life.

I like how I can watch people’s statuses change – this takes care of the only interesting thing about Twitter, really.
I can link to my Flickr pictures on my profile.
I can tweet to Twitter on the rare occasions I feel like it from within Facebook, though the refresh rate is a little laggy at times.
I can import my blog posts to my profile – in theory at any rate. Facebook keeps choking on my rss feed, refusing to update.
I can connect to my friends and friends-of-friends, sending them mail easily from within the site.
It’s got a birthday notification tool – useful. That only shows the day before… not so useful.
I have a ‘wall’ people can leave embarrassing drunk messages on.

But to view any of this activity, I have to go to the site itself. I get emails saying “someone’s written on your wall”, or “someone sent you a message” and I have to go to the site to view the message. I can understand why it does this, but it does bug me some when I’m at work, receive the notification, but can’t see what it is till I get home because work have banned Facebook.

I’ve never really gotten into the groups thing on Facebook. Oh, I’ve joined a few but never actually participated. I don’t as a rule write on friend’s walls because the things I have to say are normally private. So Facebook fits into my life better than Twitter, but it’s still a slightly strained relationship.

And as for Pownce, there I really don’t know where I stand. I want to give it a try before I consign it to the long list of services signed up for and never used again, but right now I really can’t see how it fits in with things. More importantly, I just keep forgetting to sign into the website. Yes, I downloaded the desktop application which is, I admit, as pretty to look at as the rest of the site, but it’s not gelling for me. Give me an RSS feed at least.

I don’t know what I want, I think that’s the problem. I know there’s some mythic application or site out there which will have me swinging from the chandeliers in girlish glee, but I couldn’t tell you what I wanted that site to do if you promised me a date with the latest favourite RLO.

I know integration with Bright Meadow would be key, as would seamless integration with Flickr. Finding friends would be easy too, either through real name or their web-aliases. Oh, and you wouldn’t force my screenname to be more than four characters. (If I could reserve ‘Cas’ and ‘Bright Meadow’ on every webservice in existence now and in the future, I would be a happy, happy bunny). There would be easy ways to assign people levels of permissions and RSS feeds for everything imaginable. I could, if I wanted, view messages people had sent me within the site on some other medium – email, at a suggestion? Perhaps most importantly, I could upload content from a variety of means, including SMS and email. There might be a sweet desktop application that was as straightforward to use and as effective as Skitch is for Flickr.

More than that, your guess is as good as mine. I know I want to stop spreading myself across multiple sites. I only have so much attention and time to spare. There are so many things that I’m already letting pass me by because I can’t fit them into my life – Last.fm, Pandora, podcasts. All things on paper you’d think I would love. LinkedIn, Joost… You name it, the chances are I’ve looked at it and thrown up my hands in despair. Perhaps I’m not as social a person as I thought.

This is me throwing my hands up and admitting I’m defeated. I’m not sure I can do it any more. I can’t cope with more than 300 RSS feeds. I think I’m maxing out the number of Flickr contacts I’m happy with. And I don’t think there’s room in my life for yet another social networking site. If nothing else, I’m growing tired with the constant rounds of “Oooh! Look at this sexy new site that can do everything include make you a three course dinner!” followed by everyone and their dog signing up, then a few weeks of frenzied activity, before it all dies a death as everyone migrates to the next best thing since bread came sliced.

That’s not how I act – like in all parts of my life, it takes a lot to get me involved, but once I am, I’m hooked for good. I’m just not fickle that way.

The more I think about it, the more I think I’ve got my home on the web – Bright Meadow. Flickr does me for images. Facebook does me for the slightly more real-world connection to people. And 9rules does me for when I want to be more social… Why do I keep thinking I need more?

25 thoughts on “OK, enough!

  1. Interestingly, Facebook is the only “social networking” site that I don’t completely hate, and indeed the only one upon which I have a profile. That said, it’s gone massively downhill since they allowed man+dog to join, and even further downhill since they allowed people to customise their profiles with idiotic “applications”, but I digress.

    Anyway, I think you should have a look at Mugshot, http://www.mugshot.org. It’s yet another social networking site, yes, but one designed to be a sort of aggregator for all the others, like Facebook and MoronSpace and so on, as well as, urgh, “blogs”. I don’t use it myself, but I’ve heard good things about it…

  2. I know exactly what you mean. I have an account on damn near everything but I only use a very, very small sum of them.

    I like Twitter because I can send that signal out to the ethers, which I always thought was a neat idea.

    I am giving pownce a trial because it’s not blocked at work so I can enjoy it like I can enjoy Tweets without using messages up on my cell phone.

    Facebook is mildly interesting, mainly so I can stalk people and I can sell stuff without paying fees.

    And that’s about it, everything else is pretty much useless, yet I have account that I’ve yet to delete mostly out of laziness than anything else.

    I’m seriously thinking we’re losing our ability to communicate with each other offline because we’re doing so much of it online.

    It’s like we’re having 140 character conversations.

  3. Because you don’t. People seem to think more is always better but it never really is. More is just a waste of time.

    Sometimes you just have to trim the fat and go with what you really need. Then everyone can be happier until something different comes along and repeats the whole cycle again.

  4. I agree with peroty, the new header striked me immediately. Lovely!

    I recognize so much in your post. I am scattered all over the internet as well and at times it is hard to keep track. I sign up to most sites just to keep up or to know what people are talking about but there are just a few sites I enjoy using.

    I would still recommend Last.fm though because it does not require direct interaction. It will just aggregate whatever you are listening to and send it to the server. And whenever you feel like it you can check out new music recommendations.

    Back to my e-mail inbox where a tsunami has hit, it is hard to keep up with everything in internetland nowadays. And then I haven’t even checked my RSS feeds yet. *sigh*

  5. Hey Cas – great post. I think Twitter is where it is at for me because it integrates into everything else quite neatly. Have a look at this great post
    about the problems of social network promiscuity.


  6. I have been thinking exactly the same this week… it’s all getting too much. I am a compulsive joiner, to the point that I forget what I have joined! Always feeling the next site will be “the one”.. well it’s gotta stop!!

  7. Tristan – thanks for the mugshot tip. I’ll have to give it a gander later on.

    Peroty – ooh, I hadn’t thought that Pownce might not be blocked at work (Twitter is which is partly why I rarely use it now). I might give it a second chance then… And thank you *blush* I’m choosing to assume that ‘devilish’ is a compliment here?

    Edrei – concise and to the point as always. How come I write nearly 1500 words to say what you take two lines?

    Anne – I’m curious as to which sites make your ‘enjoy’ list. Care to share? And as for Last.fm, I think one reason that’s never made it into my life is that I don’t listen to music online or through iTunes. Because it is such a memory hog on my poor Powerbook, I simply use it to load up the iPod and then I shut iTunes off, and plug the iPod into some external speakers. If I ever did shell out on a shiny new Mac that didn’t complain when iTunes was open all the time I might fit Last.fm in because I love the idea of it. Till then? Alas, it’s not to be.

    Jeremy – thank you 🙂 I will admit to having second thoughts about Twitter in the cold light of day. I think I was a little harsh about it in the post. If I could just work out a way to integrate it with the blog I might give it more use… Thank you as well for that link. It really is reassuring to see I’m not only one having a little hissy fit at having to set up another new service!

    Oh – and before I forget – if anyone wants one, I have six invites to Pownce (though it’s down right now *rolleyes*) Just hit me up in the comments or via email if you fancy giving it a go 🙂

  8. Lady Banana – I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to forget you in my reply! And it’s that very feeling that the next one might be the One that keeps us all getting excited each time something new is released. Eternal optimism, always waiting for our prince to arrive… I blame Disney 😀

  9. I’ve recently taken the tumblr plunge and find oddly twitter fits in nice as a snapshot status blog through that – my tumblr is about me unlike my blog though. As you’ve said though you have a personal / commentry blog so it’s a bit different for you. I think you can overload but I also have a touch of the magpie in me – couple that with a try before I buy approach that has gotten me into trouble with sign up madness.

    I also blame Disney 😉 When it comes down to it though I think if it works keep if not bin is a good approach. It’s sort of why I sent the invite – glad you tried it and for me if someone tries and then rejects so what it wasn’t good for them. Then again there is only so much time anyone can have in their life to try something 😉 I’ve still oddly enough not got fully into facebook – don’t know why but that is the one thing that seems to not stick in my doing list. Weird considering my love of trying things – proves the point some things just don’t work for some people I guess no matter how good they may seem.

  10. I’m writing this having skipped reading most of the comments (too much to catch up on, taking time away from my social networking sites). But I’d like to add that, well, how do you know which sites are suited for you or not if you don’t try them out for a little bit? I must have a username for pretty much every social site out there, but do I actually *use* those sites? Not really, unless they’ve started to grow on me like Facebook has for example. I’ve never taken a liking to MySpace however, but I felt compelled to try it cause friends were on it.

    Personally, I use 3 sites mainly (other than my blog); Facebook, Flickr and I’m trying to balance out what to do with Twitter and Pownce. Twitter *should* mostly be used to answer the question “What are you doing?”, that’s what it was designed for. Pownce I’m starting to see as true microblogging with guaranteed reader/commenters. It’s also kinda like a big, non-stop, group instant message chat session.

    (I was kidding about taking time away from other sites, btw 😉 )

  11. Damn you Tammie – I now have a tumblr too (http://brightmeadow.tumblr.com/). I will admit that I love how easy it was to add my Twitter, Flickr and summary feeds to it. Now, if only I could find a feed to get my posts out of Pownce, I could direct people there for when I’m on a moblog spree.

    Jay – I’m giving Pownce a try, I really am. I guess I’m just torn because I don’t like to take the interaction bit away from Bright Meadow, which I worry I’m doing by going to another service. Also, I know that lots of people won’t follow me there.

    The more I think about it though, the more I’m liking the mobile blog idea… I can now SMS twitter and have it appear in pretty format in Tumblr…

    Ack, I clearly still can’t make up my mind WHAT I want. Fun experimenting though 😀

  12. Yep I am the spreader of apps 😉 Have to admit I have fallen in love with tumblr though myself. It’s really brining a lot to the table for me. I have always had the house blend on my site for more personal things but now I can almost 100% be one category thanks to tumblr and use tumblr as a link from my main blog. There is something really nice about the firefox plugin and mac widget for tumblr also.

    The only issue I had was adding my last.fm feed – dear lord I didn’t realise how much music I listened to through the day. I quickly took that one off as was self spamming.

  13. Actually, what I’d like is lifes tream thingy that I can access from one spot and then send out to all the different services. That, then, would be like an inverted tumblelog. An explodrlog or something. Yeah, that’d be cool.

    Meanwhile, I’m just groping in the dark trying out the bits and pieces like you. It is fun.

  14. Tammie – yeah, I was going to say something about the Last.fm thing but you caught it before I could. One thing about the tumblr experience that is still bugging me is the complete lack of feedback. Even on Twitter you get the chance to respond to people!

    I’m having an experiment at the moment for anyone who’s reading the tumblr: some of the things I find through the week for the Roast I’m also posting in advance to Tumbleweeds. It’s also splicing in my twitter, Flickr and del.icio.us links (hopefully). I’m not sure how it’s going to go, so feedback is always appreciated 🙂

    Nils – groping in the dark is, as you say, fun 😉

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  16. Because most of my rant ends up on my blog anyway. 🙂 If I wanted to keep it more than 2 lines, I might as well blog about it. 🙂

  17. Pingback: Social Networking: I don't get it | KevinDonahue.com

  18. Cas: (busy busy, slow replier) The sites that I do enjoy using are Flickr, del.icio.us, Last.fm, Upcoming.org and 9rules.
    I upload pictures on Flickr a few times a week, I love scrolling through the pictures of my contacts and leave a few comments here and there. The same thing goes for del.icio.us, I use it on a daily basis and now and then I scroll through my network to see if any of my friends has listed anything interesting.
    Last.fm has a little program that will synch your iPod with your account! I like that because I listen to music on my iPod mainly. It’s Windows AND Mac: http://www.last.fm/group/iScrobbler

  19. That’s OK Anne – at least you do comment! As the world’s worst (or best) lurker on all sites bar my own, I really can’t say anything if people are slow to respond!

    But how does iScrobbler know what I’ve listened to on my iPod? I can accept that it knows what is on there, but what I actually listen to? And what’s the point if I only connect the iPod to iTunes on the VERY rare occasions (i.e., once every few months) that I get new music? I’m confused. Easily done, but there you are.

  20. It sounds dramatic but I am no longer able to keep up with my e-mail and RSS subscriptions. I have always hated the word information overload but apparently it is not there for nothing.

    I am not sure how the iScrobbler works but since your iPod is essentially a harddisk I can imagine the iPod itself keeps track of what you listen to and when and this plugin will extract this information from your iPod and send it to the Last.fm server. I love living in this digital age!

  21. Perhaps it’s time to tame the RSS? I know I’ve reached that stage again – time to go through and be ruthless. Only the creme de la creme stay in Vienna. Well, I’ve got to make room for all the new sites I find 😀

  22. their are thousands and thousands of web 2.0 sites

    squidoo is one I use and yes I use facebook and myspace , but I also use wetpain as well as digg etc

    depends on what you want to use them for

  23. David – you are perfectly right that it depends what you use them for. And thank you (I think!) for putting me onto a few more such as wetpaint to have a play with!

    Welcome to Bright Meadow and the comments.

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