Sense and Sociability

OK, here’s the deal.  As you might or might not know, I have other sites that I use more frequently that WP for daily musings, postings, etc.  Now does that mean that I should abandon WP blogging?  Heck I don’t know.  Probably not.  It’s starting to look like, more and more the Blog is more a “Home Page” whereas other sites out there are being used for what the Blog used to be, a personal journal.  The Blog is becoming more Journalism.  All still fall under the term “Social Media”.  It that a new term?  Turns out, not really.
I started doing a bit of digging (not the website) and found some interesting facts.  Here’s a link to an excellent post titled “A Brief History Of Social Media” by Brett Borders <<<http://socialmediarockstar.com/history-of-social-media>>&gt;, posted on the website http://socialmediarockstar.com, on JUNE 2, 2009.  Now I have contacted Mr. Borders, and the webmaster of SocialMediaRockstar and received permission to post the links above to their work.  In turn, they may or may not return the favor.  I probably will never meet Mr. Borders in person, but I have his e-mail, he has mine and we’ve exchanged messages. Hey!  I just networked!  Are we social?  Uh, maybe?  Oh the confusion!  That, however is how things are working and people are connecting with each other.  (NOTE:  Mr. Borders has also informed me that, if you just pass on a like, you don’t have to ask permission.  I guess I’m just “old school”.)
So, if you clicked away to the article you can see that there are a host of other “Social Media” sites, old and new that one can use to keep friends, families, businesses, etc. up to date on their whereabouts, activities, shenanigans, etc.  Let’s take a look at just a few of the more “notorious” by function/theme:
Facebook/Myspace:  These two are the best known, but definitely not the 1st of “Social Media” sites/application (NOTE: Whether it’s an application that runs by itself, or a website, I’m just going to use “site” from now on OK?)  When you receive an account on MySpace or FaceBook, you establish your own little corner of the internet.
On FaceBook, You can put photos, videos, links, personal information, status updates, play games, take quizzes and all kinds of stuff there.  You can also control who can see it, and whom you will interact with.  If you become “friends” with someone on FaceBook, you are then allowed to read their status updates, view their pictures/videos, read their blogs, and a host of other things.  Most people use FaceBook to keep family, classmates, and friends (that they know in person), up on life’s activities.  There is also a commercial and celebrity presence via what are called “Fan Pages” (Smell a marketing angle?  Me too.)
MySpace is quite similar, but it gives the user much more control of how their “homepage” looks and operates.  This can be a good thing, or a bad thing.  Having the MySpace interface so open could lead you to get into trouble if you don’t know what you’re doing.  MySpace has been quite popular with teenagers, indi-bands, and, of course, celebrities (both real and fake).  MySpace seems to be more popular with the high school crowd.  Most likely do to it’s more customizable profile screens.
“But Stan! You say.  “Why have two sites that do, essentially, the same thing?”
Great question!  Than answer is… Why not?
“But it makes it so difficult to figure out where to establish my presence.  I don’t know which one to use.”
Right.  Hang on for a sec.  It gets better.  Take a quick break.  Check your e-mail (I’m not even going there). Then come back here and read on…
Then there is the whole Twitter glob of sites.  Twitter has been called a “Micro Blogging” site, or instant messenger, whatever.  The main point is Twitter limits the sender to only 140 characters.  You can post links, but still have to stay in that 140 character box.  There are many sites that have taken Twitter’s open API (that’s Application Programming Interface) and have written many “clients” that use the Twitter stream.  There is Tweetie, Tweetdeck, and many many more.  Each has some good features, but there really isn’t one “Holy Grail” of clients.  These clients work on Win, Mac, Blackberry, iPhone, and many many other computing platforms.  The big popularity with these seems to be that they can/will work on your smart phone and NOT count as SMS text messages.  As an example, when the Iran election fiasco hit, the Iranian government blocked access to FaceBook and MySpace.  The populous (at least the tech savvy portion) were still able to communicate to the rest of the world by using Twitter application on their smart phones.  Twitter could be thought of as a more global extension of AOL Instant Messanger, ICQ or other chat systems.  Twitter allows you to post (links to) photographs you’ve taken and even let’s you advertise your location.  There are other applications that do location based messaging much better though.
BrightKite is a Twitter-like application that is location based.  BrightKite uses your iPhone’s (primarily the most popular client) location services to allow you to “check in” at your present location, add a message and/or a photo, and then post it.  Messages are limited to 140 characters.  Now, people who are your “friends”, or those who are in the immediate area are able to view your posts.  This is all controllable by you, the account holder AND it only broadcasts your location when you decide to advertise it.
For you foodies out there, there’s a location based review site for restaurants, bars, dry cleaners, you name it.  It’s called Yelp and not only does it allow you to post your own reviews of various businesses but makes other people’s reviews available for you to check out.  I personally have found many an interesting restaurant or venue by reading other’s reviews.  Your account on Yelp comes with a profile you can populate as you please, and allows your to “friend” other users.
If you like to make your own videos, and watch other’s work, YouTube is the site for you.  You can post, view, rate and subscribe to videos here.  There are other sites of this type, but YouTube is the most popular, at the moment.
Still shooting stationary images (photos), check out Flickr then.  Like other photo sharing sites, like Shutterfly, you can post to your profile for either public, or authorized individual viewing.
“Holy Crud Stan!  How can you keep all of this together?”
Well, enter the aggregator and forwarding sites.  These have the ability to “cross-post” your message from one service, say Twitter, to your other sites, like FaceBook.  Post once, and the aggregator automatically reposts.  Some sites offer this feature natively, like some Twitter clients and Flickr, whereas other sites like Postous and FriendFeed can do it automatically, once you authorize it to access your various accounts.
Here’s the dilemma.  Where to post things?  Where to follow?  The answer is (sorry) it’s all up to you!  Here’s the sites that I can be found at and what I use them for as an example.
WTF??

OK, here’s the deal.  As you might or might not know, I have other sites that I use more frequently that WP for daily musings, postings, etc.  Now does that mean that I should abandon WP blogging?  Probably not.  It’s starting to look like, more and more the Blog is more a “Home Page” whereas other sites out there are being used for what the Blog used to be, a personal journal.  The Blog is becoming more Journalism.  All still fall under the term “Social Media”.  It that a new term?  Turns out, not really.

I started doing a bit of digging (not the website) and found some interesting facts.  Here’s a link to an excellent post titled “A Brief History Of Social Media” by Brett Borders, posted on his website, on JUNE 2, 2009.  Now I have contacted Mr. Borders, and the webmaster of SocialMediaRockstar and received permission to post the links above to their work.  In turn, they may or may not return the favor.  I probably will never meet Mr. Borders in person, but I have his e-mail, he has mine and we’ve exchanged messages. Hey!  I just networked!  Are we social?  Uh, maybe?  Oh the confusion!  That, however is how things are working and people are connecting with each other.  (NOTE:  Mr. Borders has also informed me that, if you just pass on a link, you don’t have to ask permission.  I guess I’m just “old school”.)

So, if you clicked away to the article you can see that there are a host of other “Social Media” sites, old and new that one can use to keep friends, families, businesses, etc. up to date on their whereabouts, activities, shenanigans, etc.  Let’s take a look at just a few of the more “notorious” by function/theme:

Facebook/Myspace:  These two are the best known, but definitely not the 1st of “Social Media” sites/application (NOTE: Whether it’s an application that runs by itself, or a website, I’m just going to use “site” from now on OK?)  When you receive an account on MySpace or FaceBook, you establish your own little corner of the internet.

On FaceBook, You can put photos, videos, links, personal information, status updates, play games, take quizzes and all kinds of stuff there.  You can also control who can see it, and whom you will interact with.  If you become “friends” with someone on FaceBook, you are then allowed to read their status updates, view their pictures/videos, read their blogs, and a host of other things.  Most people use FaceBook to keep family, classmates, and friends (that they know in person), up on life’s activities.  There is also a commercial and celebrity presence via what are called “Fan Pages” (Smell a marketing angle?  Me too.)

MySpace is quite similar, but it gives the user much more control of how their “homepage” looks and operates.  This can be a good thing, or a bad thing.  Having the MySpace interface so open could lead you to get into trouble if you don’t know what you’re doing.  MySpace has been quite popular with teenagers, indi-bands, and, of course, celebrities (both real and fake).  MySpace seems to be more popular with the high school crowd.  Most likely do to it’s more customizable profile screens.

“But Stan! You say.  “Why have two sites that do, essentially, the same thing?”

Great question!  Than answer is… Why not?

“But it makes it so difficult to figure out where to establish my presence.  I don’t know which one to use.”

Right.  Hang on for a sec.  It gets better.  Take a quick break.  Check your e-mail (I’m not even going there). Then come back here and read on…

Then there is the whole Twitter glob of sites.  Twitter has been called a “Micro Blogging” site, or instant messenger, whatever.  The main point is Twitter limits the sender to only 140 characters.  You can post links, but still have to stay in that 140 character box.  There are many sites that have taken Twitter’s open API (that’s Application Programming Interface) and have written many “clients” that use the Twitter stream.  There is Tweetie, Tweetdeck, and many many more.  Each has some good features, but there really isn’t one “Holy Grail” of clients.  These clients work on Win, Mac, Blackberry, iPhone, and many many other computing platforms.  The big popularity with these seems to be that they can/will work on your smart phone and NOT count as SMS text messages.  As an example, when the Iran election fiasco hit, the Iranian government blocked access to FaceBook and MySpace.  The populous (at least the tech savvy portion) were still able to communicate to the rest of the world by using Twitter application on their smart phones.  Twitter could be thought of as a more global extension of AOL Instant Messanger, ICQ or other chat systems.  Twitter allows you to post (links to) photographs you’ve taken and even let’s you advertise your location.  There are other applications that do location based messaging much better though.

BrightKite is a Twitter-like application that is location based.  BrightKite uses your iPhone’s (primarily the most popular client) location services to allow you to “check in” at your present location, add a message and/or a photo, and then post it.  Messages are limited to 140 characters.  Now, people who are your “friends”, or those who are in the immediate area are able to view your posts.  This is all controllable by you, the account holder AND it only broadcasts your location when you decide to advertise it.

For you foodies out there, there’s a location based review site for restaurants, bars, dry cleaners, you name it.  It’s called Yelp and not only does it allow you to post your own reviews of various businesses but makes other people’s reviews available for you to check out.  I personally have found many an interesting restaurant or venue by reading other’s reviews.  Your account on Yelp comes with a profile you can populate as you please, and allows your to “friend” other users.

If you like to make your own videos, and watch other’s work, YouTube is the site for you.  You can post, view, rate and subscribe to videos here.  There are other sites of this type, but YouTube is the most popular, at the moment.

Still shooting stationary images (photos), check out Flickr then.  Like other photo sharing sites, like Shutterfly, you can post to your profile for either public, or authorized individual viewing.

“Holy Crud Stan!  How can you keep all of this together?”

Well, enter the aggregator and forwarding sites.  These have the ability to “cross-post” your message from one service, say Twitter, to your other sites, like FaceBook.  Post once, and the aggregator automatically reposts.  Some sites offer this feature natively, like some Twitter clients and Flickr, whereas other sites like Posterous and FriendFeed can do it automatically, once you authorize it to access your various accounts.

Most all of these sites can be accessed via your pc/mac, blackberry, iPhone or other web enabled device!  Some even allow you to post via e-mail.
SO MANY CHOICES!

Here’s the dilemma.  Where to post things?  Where to follow?  The answer is (sorry) it’s all up to you!  Here’s the sites that I can be found at and what I use them for as an example.

  • Facebook:  Keep up with family and friends that I know, in person.
  • Twitter:  General messaging to the world and follow tweets (postings) of folks I choose to follow.
  • Brightkite:  Location based Twitter-like tool.  Mostly used to find out what’s going on in a particular area I’m at.
  • Flickr:  Photo sharing.
  • Yelp:  Write and read reviews of stuff (Restaurants, hotels, dry cleaners, theaters, etc…) for wherever I happen to be.
  • WordPress:  This Blog

Here are a few suggestions if you choose to delve into multiple sites:

  1. Try to use the same user name for each site.  This will make it easier for folks to find you and make you have to remember fewer usernames.  Passwords, SHOULD be different for each site.
  2. Check username “presence” for many popular sites by using a search tool such as Name Check.  The sites scans many popular social media sites and checks if the username you selected is available.
  3. Even if you don’t think you’re going to use a site, grab your user name anyway.
  4. Make sure you set the privacy and security options to your liking.  Don’t leave stuff wide open!
  5. Grab user names for your kids as well.  They might use them some day.
  6. Take it slow.  Start with a few sites then expand.  Recommend Twitter or Facebook to start.
  7. Stick with niche sites of stuff your interested in.  Google a topic, there’s plenty of sites to choose from.
  8. Have FUN!

That’s about all for now.  Hope you found this helpful.

Keep in touch!

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One Comment on “Sense and Sociability”


  1. Yours is an excellent review of social sites! I’ve not heard of Brightkite, but I’m on my way to check it out. I should use Yelp more often.


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