Category: Technophilia Social

Facebook killed this blog

Technophilia Social

I have a pretty narrow definition of what constitutes a weblog. At some point in 2003, the mainstream media co-opted the term "blog" to mean any kind of online journal writing, thus painting with a large brush two different perspectives — one extroverted (blogs) and one introverted (journals).

Hyperlinks, punditry and meta were pretty essential to the success of early blogs. Not so much online journals — meta, yes, punditry, perhaps, links, optional. Blog topics could cover any number of subjects. Journal topics focus primarily on the events of the writer’s life.

I come from the journal tradition. I’m not much of a blogger because I’m not combing the web for things on which to comment. Well, I do for, but for this site? This site which was intended to be my dumping ground for commentary? This site which was supposed to deal with subjects other than myself? Not so much.

I’m just not suited to write a blog — which hasn’t stopped me from launching about seven of them — because I’m just not a link collector.

Or so I thought.

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Block first, ask questions later (if at all)

Technophilia Social

I don’t believe in the idea that you should follow everyone on Twitter who follows you. This topic is debated quite a bit, but that idea just doesn’t suit me personally. My policy on whom I follow on Twitter is pretty simple:

  • I know you.
  • I know of you.

Beyond that, I can’t say I’m terribly interested. Yes, that flies in the face of the idea of "social media", but anyone who knows me can attest that my sociability has its limits.

I also have some very draconian criteria of whom I allow to follow me. I actually tend to block a lot of people, most of whom seem to gamble on the idea that if they follow me, I will follow them back. Here’s what determines when I block Twitter followers:

  • A following-to-follower ratio more than 2:1. Just now, I blocked a guy who was following more than 900 people but had only 169 followers himself. That rose a flag to me that he was trolling for another follower. I may let you slide if you have a manageable following count of fewer than 100.
  • Following or follower counts in the thousands. I don’t care if you think you can pay attention that many people. You can’t. I’m doing you a favor by blocking you. I cannot in good conscience contribute to your attention deficit disorder. Also, I’m egoistical enough not to want to be lost in a stream of thousands of posts.
  • SPAM. I do have to say Twitter has been very good at targeting mass followers.

Right now, I’m following 40 people, and I’ve got 50 people following me. I didn’t block a few people because their profiles indicated some common interests, and maybe something I say will have some relevance to them. Only they could tell you.

But my stringent following and follower policies pretty much spares me from all the annoyances other Twitter users may experience. In the end, I use Twitter in a way it was probably intended — as a means to communicate with a tight social circle. I like some of the ideas that have bootstrapped on to that premise, but I’m not a true believer.

If brevity is the soul of wit, what does that make Twitter?

Technophilia Social

I’ve seen a lot of words about Twitter lately, some of them kind, some of them not. In one case, both types said by the same person. (And watch him Twitter up a storm!)

Twitter, for me, is yet another opportunity to say the most with the fewest number of words. It’s something for which I strive in everything I write, and the limitations of Twitter take it to the extreme. I remember my very first online journal entries aimed for brevity, when the convention at the time was verbosity. In a way, Twitter is the writing format I wish I thought of back in 1996.

Maybe it’s age or more demands on my time, but there are days when I would like to write about something but won’t, knowing full well how much work would be involved for a particular topic. So I post to Twitter instead.

Of course, an examination of my own Twitter posts shows I’m nowhere close to Dorothy Parker for concise witticisms. But sometimes, the quick thoughts I jot down on Twitter can become blogging topics themselves. My recent frustrations with Finale, for instance, being one such topic.

The mobile phone and IM aspects of Twitter are lost on me, even though they’re the original focus of the site. My posts aren’t tailored to those outlets.

Library of Me

Technophilia Social

Ever wondered what occupies space on my bookshelf? No? Oh. Well …

Ryan mentioned LibraryThing on Twitter, and I gave it a whirl. I don’t read as many books as I used to, and even my comic book-reading days — the only type of fiction I’ve been consuming in the last decade — has waned significantly. Still, I managed to max out my free account, which caps a user’s catalog at 200 titles. (My account lists 201, because I deleted a redundant title and added another. Probably a bug.)

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Tweet tweet

Technophilia Social

Ryan wrote about Twitter, and I got intrigued enough to sign up myself.

I rather like this idea. For all the Voxes, Diggs,, Last.fms and MySpaces out there, a site that forces its users to be concise is a rare thing. There have been many times I wish my long-winded online journal wouldn’t look so awkward with just a single-line entry. Twitter lets me braindump without having to be literate about it.

The social aspect of Twitter, however, lends itself to being an extension of instant messaging, which I guess it would since it can plug into IM and mobile devices. The resulting dialog often looks like an IRC chat done entirely with /me commands.

I would like a friend search, though. Friends of mine could have signed up for the site, but I wouldn’t know it unless they announced their presence.

Twitter is an interesting site, compact but wide open.

L10N 4 B6G

Technophilia Social

That’s not l33t. "L10N" is a common abbreviation for "localization", and I figure I may as well abbreviate "blogging" to "B6G" — you know, just to be a smart ass.

I’m less impressed by the idea of a CEO blogging than by the fact his blog is translated into several languages.

Wow. That’s a great idea.

That would be great for At the very least, Japanese readers should experience my total lack of Japanese comprehension in their own language!