Read All About It

It stays hot — even here, at 5797 feet — too late on summer nights for me to be able to go to sleep at a reasonable hour, which explains at least in part what I’m doing up at this hour writing and making chicken stock. Well, it explains the up part. The chicken stock part is because I have this chicken carcass that needs to be made into stock, and it’s way too warm during the day to heat up that much for that long, so I figured I might as well do it now.

The writing part is just a sudden desire to try to articulate a few things I’ve been thinking about.

I spend a lot of time thinking about my online presence and its various manifestations and how those have influenced, and in some cases created, the friendships in my life. Of course, I also spend a lot of time online, tinkering with various aspects of this presence and talking to my friends and my “friends,” and so it is perhaps not surprising that I think about it quite a bit, too.

At the moment, it breaks down kind of like this

  • This here blog is supposedly the real me, but it tends to get neglected far more than anything else.
  • lis.dom is the library me
  • Facebook is the place for people I went to high school with and other strangers from the past to find me. I’ve had a website of some sort or other since 1999, so it’s not like I’ve been hiding, but I guess a lot of people who don’t really want to find you are down with finding you on Facebook. I used to play Scabulous on Facebook, too, but I couldn’t keep up.
  • Flickr is where I always intend to put more pictures that I forever intend to take.
  • Twitter is on hold while I sort out my relationship with it.
  • FriendFeed is where I spend most of my time.

By next month, of course, all of that could change.

I was just saying today to my friend Steve that (and I quote, from my own IM transcript): “I also sort of wish this kind of thing had been around when I was young and convinced no one else had my problems — although that may be a function of being young, not of medium.”

Reading, it has always seemed to me, serves two purposes: it reminds you on the one hand that there are a lot of people who are not like you and that on the other hand there are a lot of people just like you. I’ve always thought of reading in that sense as meaning reading books, but reading FriendFeed will give you much the same experience. And that means that those of us who face the world best by reading about it suddenly have a whole new place and way to encounter the world.

I might well have found some new world just as wonderful by some other route, but I think I can’t discount the medium in this case. The medium isn’t the message — as the Twitter-to-FriendFeed defection showed, I think a lot of us don’t feel brand loyalty — but it is the means (and perhaps someday we’ll have social network protocols as the means?). All those invisible ones and zeroes, all those packets pinballing around through the network — they make this thing, whatever it is that we have here.

2 thoughts on “Read All About It”

  1. Thanks Laura. I still want to plug goodreads….one of my sisters (the librarian) introduced me to it. It’s easier to keep track of what I read (more than I had thought) and also see what other friends are reading.

    I must sound like a billboard – I’m not getting a kickback for recommending them (although I should look into that).

    On the other hand, I certainly understanding choosing to limit one’s online presence. So, there you are.

  2. Hey Laura, I think we are at Day 19 or so of the new record for straight 90+ degree days here Denver.

    I’ve been thinking a bit too about my various online presences. It seems odd that people find me in facebook, LinkedIn, etc., when I’ve been on the “free” web since 1995. Can’t my old HS friends search google? Do people use “Classmates” to find each other as much as I think they do? I really dislike that they make people pay to use a bunch of that site, and I am not going to pay it.

    Can’t wait to meet you f2f in October.


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