There appears to be a surge in the number of… hmmm… not sure what they are called so let’s refer to them as ‘meta information website thingies’ which are being adopted by bloggers but which, surprisingly, are really flying above the radar of the masses. That doesn’t sound right. Suffice to say these sites are flipping past my peripheral vision at best. Let me explain.
I’ve been aware of Twitter since just before SXSW (a gathering of geeks which really pushed Twitter forward in a big way), and I’ve been using it sporadically since then. I can understand the appeal but, as I haven’t fully bought into it, it has yet to permeate into my ‘online flow’. Whilst that sounds vaguely rude (or just plain pretentious) it’s probably more telling that the main reason I’ve not “gotten into” Twitter is the lack of a nice, subtle interface. In other words, whether ‘tweeting’ via the website or using any of the 3rd party applications I’ve tried to date, it’s impossible to hide what you are doing. That’s fine at home but, whisper it, I occasionally access the internet for personal reasons whilst at work so it’s very off putting to have all those huge badges flashing up on the screen everytime I decide to mention that, say, we’ve just got a new ‘proper’ coffee machine installed in the canteen (machiatto anyone?).
Ultimately though, Twitter seems to be spreading largely by word of mouth of the indirect kind. A mention here, an example there, and you suddenly realise how many people are using it and wonder “maybe I should look into this Twit thing?”. The really interesting thing is the way these sites propagate, with only a few posts and the sudden appearance of little boxes on some sites. Even then you don’t realise just how widespread it is until you sign up and start using it.
In the same vein, sites like LinkedIn and Facebook seem to be fairly widely adopted but no-one seems to publicise that fact. At least not overtly, which for these services seems a bit odd. Surely the entire point of a networking style site is to, you know, help you network? God I hate that term. I don’t “network”, I maintain contacts, I chat to people at conferences, in mailing lists and blogs. I am not a computer, I will not be assimilated!!
Ahem.. sorry.. where was I?
I’m a member of both LinkedIn and Facebook, and consider them fairly useful. However, like a lot of the “Web 2.0” websites, they depend on you investing some time in maintaining and updating your profiles, manage your links/network and so on. Hence why I’ve not yet “fully leveraged” these sites and my network remains “incomplete”. The more time I spend visiting these sites, the more I’ve come to realise that I may never really use them to their full potential.
That may just because I’m a lazy bugger, a point I’ll happily concede, but it’s also because I struggle to see the advantages of these sites (and I include Twitter in this as well) beyond the obvious and immediate ones, e.g. as a glorified contact list.
One of the main reasons I moved this blog to the current domain was to free up my name domain (gordonmclean.co.uk for those arriving late) to act as a central point of contact. If you know me from a conference or meeting, or see my name in a publication or mailing list, then googling for me should take you there. From that point you can easily contact me, or head to one of my websites.
That’s all I (currently) think I’ll need. Of course I’m not stupid enough to completely rule anything out… so with that in mind, feel free to “add me” if you use either Facebook or LinkedIn. If nothing else, it’ll help me confirm who is using those sites… my gut feel is that they are used by more of you than I realise.