Ok, let’s do this in English. For a change. Thing is that when I want to write anything about my Internet use, abuse and social networking I prefer English. Don’t ask me why, I don’t know. Maybe it’s just because of the lingo. Anyway, this blog entry is about social networking and my personal history with the subject. So, let’s time warp back to the early eighties of the past century. The time of asynchronous modems (300/75 baud) and bulletin boards.
My computer history starts actually a bit earlier. End of the seventies to be precise. Building and soldering away on British designed ‘microcomputers’ like the Acorn Atom and some of my own designs. Yes, I’m a digital veteran. In those days we used an early communications infrastructure mainly to exchange questions and answers and programs. ‘Bulletin board’ was the name used for these server based infrastructures where we could connect with to get our data in and out. Very text based, very slow to today’s standards but very social. Thing is that most people on the bulletin boards knew each other in real life. It took us some ten years to evolve to the early internet services implementations. These services on the early internet kind of mimicked these old bulletin board services. Using it was still kind of tecchie to be honest. And boring, not a bout real life but about computers.
Halfway the nineties Internet started to shape itself from a computer freaks network to a more generic used network. All kinds of groups became netpresent. And so did many companies. Networking became a technology push thing of large commercial value. Infrastructures were still to slow but smart solutions helped out. Technologies like replication as introduced by Lotus Notes (remember?) made communication easier. On the net itself Usenet had exploded and the number of newsgroups was overwhelming. First use of Usenet was of course in the academic world but soon many special interest groups concerned with a vast range of topics started using the Usenet extensively. And so did I.
The next stage took me another five or six years. After the millennium turn I found myself chatting away in chatboxes, using IRC and email an awful lot. And slowly getting involved in collaboration experiments on the net. Most of these experiments died away. It also made me stay away from MSN, being to Microsoft dominant for me. Cluttered interface, lot’s of garbage on it and you were constantly forced to get a MS email address. Not for me, that’s for sure as I switched back to Apple before the millennium change.
Now it’s 2008 and I am addicted to internet services. I don’t mind as it has brought me so much. Many new friends, lot’s of fun and entertainment, a publishing platform beyond belief and a direct style of communicating with the people I cherish. So what do I use nowadays? Let’s have a look.
Theres email of course. Not a network but kind of essential to life I’m afraid. And frequently a pain in the ass as well. On the networking side there still is the occasional newsgroup. Yahoo based. And there’s Hyves which I do not like at all but some of my friends and family are on it so I just have to be there. Most important for me nowadays is Facebook in combination with LinkedIn. Facebook for socializing and fun, LinkedIn for the professional contacts. Next to those these MySpace just to stay in touch with some musicians I like and LastFM to plug in the music I play into Facebook so my friends can see whatever I am playing at this moment (well almost as sometimes I switch it off). There’s also the working part of my life where I’m kind of forced to use Sharepoint, poor as it is in functionality and user experience. But hey, it’s work right? Same goes for Plaxo: ugly and not very interesting as it tries to interfere too much with me and my Mac(‘s).
Am I forgetting things? Yes I am. There’s Twitter of course. My latest daily habit of tweeting using my mobile or any internet connection that might be at hand. Just microblogging my life. And I didn’t even mention WordPress. The wonderful publishing platform that gives me just about anything I can desire in publishing functionality for this blog. With a monthly number of over 2000 readings quite some thing! In fact after all the socializing and networking this environment actually gave me an audience. I also forgot the nearly discarded LiveJournal and the newly instated CouchSurfing social networks and the mostly fun Youtube. Just check ‘m out, the url’s are pretty obvious I guess.
The way for me to stay in touch with the real world through news is not by television anymore. Nowadays it’s the websites of news media all over the world that feed me on a daily basis.
So to wrap it all up, what’s the score of daily Internet use ranging from good use to almost discarded?
Professional use: LinkedIn, Sharepoint, Me.com, Plaxo…
Personal use: WordPress, Facebook, Twitter, Hyves, LastFM, Couchsurfing, Youtube, Yahoo, MySpace, LiveJournal…
News gathering: New Yorker, NY Times, Washington Post, LA Times, CNN International, BBC World, BBC Newsnight, NOS, NRC, Volkskrant, Parool, Trouw, AD, Financieel Dagblad and (omg) Telegraaf…
Knowledge gathering: Wikipedia, Google Science, Google search, UvA, VU and Radboud University sites…
So there I am after twenty years of networking, using all kinds of stuff and still dependant on email.
Alice © 2008
Note: forgot to mention fora like N00dles forum and sites like Shespot, Weer, Routenet, Anwb, 9292ov, telefoongids and postcode as regular infosites. Even forgot to mention Flickr for my holiday pictures and last but not least my own website http://www.aliceverheij.net which is a continuous work in progress. Come to think of it, I don’t think I can ever be complete because I didn’t even check out all the gay, lesbian and queer sites I visit very frequently.