January 19th, 2009

bish, smile


For a very long time, I resisted joining any of these "social networking" sites. Technically I guess LJ falls into that category now, but it existed before the term really caught on. I didn't see much purpose to them, and many of them seemed actively designed to irritated me. (MySpace pages are everything that was horrible about the web in the mid-90's: embedded music, bad backgrounds, pointless animations, and blink tags.)

LiveJournal I joined for the reasons most people join these sites: my friends where here. It also gave me a convenient place to blog random thoughts, possibly interesting bits of my life, etc. Eventually I got my own domain, but moving my blog there would remove it from LJ (although I suppose I could crosspost, but that sounds like more effort that it's worth). I haven't used it much as a journal as I generally prefer to keep my personal life, well, personal.

Eventually I joined Twitter. I was drawn to it primarily because of Othar Tryggvassen: Gentleman Adventurer (from Girl Genius) has one. His Twitter is essentially a serialized novel at the rate of one sentence a day. I don't use any of the cell phone features of Twitter, nor as a sort of omni-directional IM service. I use it a microblog (whee, buzzwords).

If I just want to post a single quote, a quick thought, or a link, I tend to just pull up my Twitter client (Twitteriffic on my iPhone, Twidget from my Mac) and jot down my few words. Since I know basically nobody who uses Twitter, I found LoudTwitter to drag each day's Twitting here so you, my not-so-loyal readers, and read and comment on them. When I feel like sitting down and actually writing about an idea, I'll still pull up Xjournal, and write up a real post (like this one).

When I went home for Christmas, I discovered something novel: My parents were on Facebook. I had heard of Facebook, both from various online "news" articles and in the course of my current job. But it had stuck in my mind as a place college students went to to post photos of their latest drunken revel. The idea that my parents would use it boggled my mind. So I decided to poke it with a stick. I've found a good number of people on Facebook, many of whom I hadn't heard from in a while including a good number of my extended family and some old friends from VA, of all ages. And since I've joined, more have found me. Of course, it tends to be updated more by the younger people, but being able to keep up with some of my aunts and cousins makes Facebook every bit as compelling as LJ was for my high school friends.

Of course, Facebook lacks two things Livejournal has: Anonymity and Visibility. People don't have to know who I am to see my Livejournal. I don't have to friend them: anybody wondering by can read it. This makes LJ a better place to post things that I want to talk about publicly, to have people find and talk about.

So now I'm on not one, not two, but five... "Three, sir, three" ...three sites that are designed for me to post my life and thoughts to. (Four if you want to include the fact that I could use my website as a blog at any time.) Each service has it's strengths: LJ is a public, anonymous way to post my thoughts and have people comment on them. Twitter is designed for short, quick posts. And Facebook is designed to connect to people I know. So here is a quick summary of my new system for posting things to the interblags:

Facebook: Random things about my life will go here. My status updates there are things like "Benabik is waiting for both his sub and the players for his game." and "Benabik has chilly ears. But I only had to be outside for ten minutes or so because I have the mighty might of a snowthrower. Still loving that thing." If you actually want to know about random goings on in my life, you should probably join Facebook. (Slate thinks everyone should.) Since everything here is limited to people I actually know, I tend to be more open about my life on it.

Twitter: Random quotes, links, and quick thoughts will get posted to Twitter (and via LoudTwitter, my LJ).

LiveJournal: When I feel like explaining something, discussing something, or just venting my spleen to the world in more than 140 characters, LiveJournal is the place. If I have a thought about something I don't mind the entire world hearing, here it will be. I also want to stay here so that I can easily follow and comment on my friend's journals.

I'm curious to know if any of you are on Facebook, what your thoughts about these sites are, and if anybody actually cares. (Of course, if you don't care, you probably won't comment. But I guess a lack of comments tells me something as well.)